Detroit Tigers Top 50 Prospects (2023)

Detroit Tigers Top 50 graphic design by Michael Packard, @CollectingPack on Twitter

We started our 2022 Detroit Tigers Top 50 with the following quote from then GM Al Avila, “We’re on the upswing. We’re not rebuilding anymore. We’re building.” Talk about your all-time backfires!?!

A year later, and the Tigers farm system is still questionable from top to bottom; especially when it comes to depth after the top four or five players. First, the MLB team severely underperformed. Then, a few Top 10 prospects had regressive years. Next, Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson graduated from prospect eligibility. Finally, Al Avila was fired and Scott Harris was hired. What was going to be a year of continuing the build morphed into a reevaluating and resetting Hot Stove period.

In 2022, we ranked 53 Tigers prospects: Top 50 and Next Three In. Of those 53 players, only 34 remained with the organization or are prospect eligible. To say the new system under Harris has been flipped is an understatement. There will be continued evaluation of every level of the farm system as Scott Harris and his team decide which of the prospects from the Avila years are valuable assets of the new Harris era. There will be household names to Tigers fans who are traded or moved on from in 2023.

But with the revaluation and reset comes promise that the end of draft pick busts and bad trades is nigh. Al Avila was the draft-caller in July 2022 before he was relieved of his duties, but the shift in prospect valuation was noticeable. Drafting Jace Jung in the 1st round and Peyton Graham in the 2nd round showed a desire for established college hitters over high school pitchers. Many draft experts thought Detroit had a very good draft overall.

Being a Son of Detroit myself, having grown up with the 1984 World Champions, I know what resiliency Motown has in its soul. We are stubborn to the bone when supporting our sports teams. The Detroit Lions were a game away from a playoff birth. The Detroit Red Wings have the “Yzerplan”. The Michigan Wolverines have had two straight Big Ten titles where they beat ohio and had College Football Playoff berths. All of these have Detroit area sports returning to its former glory. Now it’s time for the Tigers to meaningfully compete. I believe in this farm system. I know the talent is there to bring us out of the last decade of rebuilding.

Prospects1500 Tiers:
Tier 1: Players with high expectations of both making the majors and playing at an All-Star level for a number of years
Tier 2: Players with an above-average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 3: Players with an average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 4: Players who have the potential of making the majors, or have a high likelihood of making the majors but providing minimal impact (e.g. middle reliever, low-ceiling UT guys)
Tier 5: Players of interest, worth keeping an eye on, who have an outside chance of making their team’s 40-man roster

Tier 1

1. Jace Jung, 2B, 22, High-A
Detroit’s first pick in the 2022 MLB Draft, Jung is an established and experienced hitter. From a tall stance, Jung has hit for average and power throughout his college career at Texas Tech. With the fences and walls being shortened at Comerica Park, it will be no surprise to see Jung hit 30+ home runs per year. Jung is the type of left-handed bat teams dream about having in the top half of an MLB lineup. The new leadership in the organization will have to determine where Jung fits defensively. While playing more games at 2B as a Red Raider, Jung continues to grow in range and arm strength. It would not be surprising to see Jung play 1B in Double-A or Triple-A in 2023.

Tier 2

2. Wilmer Flores, RHP, 21, Double-A
Flores shot up Detroit’s prospect boards in 2021. His dominance at High-A and Double-A was strictly off of two great pitches; an above-average fastball that sets up a wicked curveball. Flores had good ERA, SO/9, and WHIP numbers in 2022. Look for the Erie or Toledo staff to work on Flores avoiding barrel contact in 2023. He gave up 7.2 H/9 in 19 Erie starts. This number needs to decrease as he makes his way towards Comerica Park.

3. Jackson Jobe, RHP, 20, High-A
The #3 overall pick in 2021, Jobe pitched at Single-A Lakeland and High-A West Michigan in 2022. While his SO/9 was cut in half after his promotion, Jobe also dropped his WHIP from 1.36 to 0.96. This is encouraging to see a 20-year-old excelling after a bump up in competition. Command of the slider, Jobe’s best pitch, needs to improve into 2023. Keeping runners of the bases will directly impact Jobe’s stressful inning count and development repeated mechanics working from the stretch. Jobe is still a future #2 starter, with the chance of a couple years as a #1 ace.

4. Ty Madden, RHP, 22, Double-A
Madden had a good season stretching across West Michigan and Erie. His four-pitch arsenal led to a SO/9 of 9.8, but the fastball in counts from behind led to increased home runs given up. The Tigers organization likes to take proven college arms and promote them through the minors quickly. Madden should start 2023 in Double-A but with a few solid starts will get to Toledo before the All-Star break. A September debut in Comerica could happen if Madden pitches well against the hitters of Triple-A.

5. Colt Keith, 3B, 21, High-A
There might be a prospect with more fans behind him than Keith. Keith is the leader of a busy 3B depth chart across the Tigers system. Power, average, and ability to use the entire field were on full display in 2022. Keith put these talents on display in the Arizona Fall League by hitting .344 with an OPS over one-thousand. At only 21 years old, the Tigers can take their time with Keith and wait for him to develop fully. Expect a big year for Colt Keith in Double-A Erie.

Tier 3

6. Justyn-Henry Malloy, OF/3B, 22, Triple-A (ATL)
The key piece in this offseason’s trade that shipped reliever Joe Jimenez to the Braves, Malloy worked his way through three levels of MiLB in 2022, and impressed in the Arizona Fall League. His power and consistent barrel contact is electric and impressive. Malloy does not have speed or a true defensive position. Look for the Tigers to try Malloy in multiple positions in the first few months of Triple-A.

7. Peyton Graham, SS, 21, Single-A
The Tigers’ 2nd round pick in the 2022 draft, Graham was the NCAA’s first 20 HR/30 SB player in nearly two decades. Above average speed, bat quickness, and the ability to play nearly every defensive position are measurables the Tigers organization love about Graham. As he continues to develop, both physically and in ability, a definite position will present itself.

8. Ryan Kreidler, SS, 25, MLB
Kreidler was the big mover up prospect rankings in the 2021 to 2022 lists. The defensive reliability and hitting approach earned Kreidler a MLB debut in 2022. His ability to play every infield position sets Kreidler up to make the Tigers MLB opening day roster. When he keeps his swing close and compact, solid power comes naturally from his 6’4″ frame.

9. Cristian Santana, SS, 19, Single-A
The highest ranked teenager in the Detroit system, Santana struggled in his first full season of professional baseball. In 80 games at Single-A Lakeland, Santana only hit .215 and had only 22 extra base hits. A slow start to 2023 could dampen his projections, but he is still only NINETEEN. No need to panic. Santana’s skillset comparison to Jhonny Peralta is worth the time to develop.

10. Reese Olson, RHP, 23, Double-A
168. That’s the new Erie SeaWolves record for strikeouts in a season, now owned by Reese Olson. Olson had eight starts of nine or more strikeouts. His WHIP of 1.23 needs to improve as Olson pitches into Triple-A in 2023. Advanced hitters will make him pay for missed pitches and giving free passes to first. But even with the walk rate…ONE HUNDRED SIXTY-EIGHT!

11. Roberto Campos, OF, 19, Single-A
One look at Campos in the batter’s box and we understand why Detroit gave him the largest international signing bonus in team history in 2019 at just 16 years old. Campos has raw power, mainly to the pull-side, that comes from an effortless swing. With only one full professional season now under his belt, Campos will continue to gain much needed experience and repetition as he earns promotion through the Tigers system.

12. Izaac Pacheco, SS/3B, 20, High-A
Many Tigers “insiders” refer to Pacheco as “Little Nicky”; a nod to former Tigers third-baseman Nicholas Castellanos. Pacheco has strikingly similar tools. A powerful, long swing allows Pacheco to have above average contact to all fields. This same swing can also lead to expanding the strike zone. Similar to Jung, the right-field bleachers of Comerica Park are calling out for Pacheco’s future home runs.

13. Dillon Dingler, C, 24, Double-A
Dingler had one of the more disappointing 2022 seasons amongst Detroit top prospects. Dingler’s batting average has decreased significantly with each promotion in 2022. What started as .333 in Lakeland, went to .287 in West Michigan, then all the way down to .226 in Erie. Losing 107 points across three levels is something to worry about. Hopefully a strong spring training, paired with a change in approach results in a huge bounce-back season for Dingler.

Tier 4

14. Dylan Smith, RHP, 22, High-A
15. Wenceel Perez, SS, 23, Double-A
16. Parker Meadows, OF, 23, Double-A
17. Manuel Sequera, SS, 20, Single-A
18. Abel Bastidas, SS, 19, Rookie (FCL)
19. Joey Wentz, LHP, 25, MLB
20. Troy Melton, RHP, 22, Single-A
21. Brant Hurter, LHP, 24, Double-A
22. Luke Gold, 2B, 22, Single-A
23. Andre Lipcius, 3B/2B, 24, Triple-A
24. Javier Osorio, SS, 17, Rookie (DSL)
25. Austin Bergner, RHP, 25, Triple-A
26. Luis Garcia, SS, 22, Double-A
27. Mason Englert, RHP, 23, Double-A (TEX)
28. Tyler Mattison, RHP, 23, Single- A
29. Jose De La Cruz, OF, 21, Single-A
30. Danny Serretti, SS, 22, Double-A
31. Jacob Robson, OF, 28, MLB
32. Miguel Del Pozo, LHP, 30, MLB
33. Brendon Davis, OF/3B, 25, MLB

Perez and Meadows are coming off 2022 seasons with noticeable development jumps. Promotions into Triple-A in 2023 could see them increase their hitting approach under Toledo Hitting Coach Mike Hessman. Wentz, now three years removed from Tommy John surgery, looked impressive in the Arizona Fall League. He gave up zero runs over 12 IP while striking out 14. Wentz should have a spot on the Opening Day roster for Detroit. The trio of young shortstops standout in Tier 4. Sequera (20), Bastidas (19), and Osorio (17) all have speed, defensive range, and above-average batting projections. The next few years of development, both physically and in ability, will be huge for this young core of middle infielders. Within Tier 4 is a group of players who have made their MLB debuts for the Tigers. Among them, Davis has the positioning to impact the Tigers in 2023. With the departure of Victor Reyes and Willi Castro, Davis could see more starts in a “platooning” corner outfield spot. A name to watch for mid-season impact is Englert. He was claimed off waivers from Texas in December. At only 23 years old, Englert will benefit greatly from instruction within the Chris Fetter system.

Tier 5

34. Diego Rincones, OF, 23, Double-A (SF)
35. Elvis Alvarado, RHP, 23, Double-A
36. Gage Workman, SS/3B, 23, Double-A
37. Daniel Cabrera, OF, 24, Double-A
38. Trei Cruz, SS, 24, Double-A
39. Bryant Packard, OF, 25, Double-A
40. Adinso Reyes, SS, 21, Single-A
41. Eliezer Alfonzo, C, 23, High-A
42. Keider Montero, RHP, 22, High-A
43. Austin Schultz, OF, 22, High-A
44. Austin Murr, OF, 23, High-A
45. Tanner Kohlhepp, RHP, 23, DNP (Injured), College in 2021
46. Zack Hess, RHP, 25, DNP (Injured), Double-A in 2021
47. Max Green, LHP, 26, DNP (Injured), Double-A in 2021
48. Carlos Irigoyen, SS/3B, 21, High-A
49. Quincy Nieporte, 1B, 28, Double-A
50. Carlos Guzman, RHP, 24, Double-A

Workman is one of the largest drops in rankings from last year. He had a difficult year identifying pitches and continued to expand the zone for opposing pitchers. He struck out 206 times in 128 games for Double-A Erie. He still shows signs of power and speed but must decrease the swing and miss trend in 2023. Cabrera and Cruz are in the same boat as Workman. Cabrera started 2022 hitting .346 at High-A West Michigan, but only .206 after the promotion to Erie. Cruz showed better plate discipline in 2022, with 76 walks in 109 games for the Whitecaps. But he must increase upon his .200 average during limited time at Double-A. A group of pitchers coming of injuries/surgeries in 2022 will look to return to draft form in 2023. Kohlhepp, Hess, and Green all had upward trajectories through the farm system when injuries delayed the progression. It will be interesting to see how their pitches and mechanics have changed. One of the fan favorites on the list, Nieporte, hit 31 home runs last year for Double-A Erie. At 28 years old, Nieporte might not be the prospect with the highest ceiling in the system, but his power right now is undeniable.

Overall, the Detroit Tigers organization has seen plenty of players graduate over the last two years. They have also seen plenty of players leave the system via waivers or trades. The more the big-league club struggles, the higher draft picks leadership will have to rebuild. Scott Harris, Detroit Tigers president of baseball operations, has put together an experienced and successful group of AGMs. The Detroit Tigers fans are hesitantly optimistic about their ability to identify talent, develop players, and field competitive teams through the draft, trades, and waivers. The difficulty for fans is believing the new management will have a different outcome than previous regimes who promised the same change.


  1. Thanks for taking the time to ask, Steve. Reylin is just outside my Top 50. While he has incredible potential, I am waiting to see him stateside in Lakeland in 2023. Do not be surprised to see Perez jump up the rankings mid-season.

    • Thank you for the reply. I agree with not pushing DSL guys too far up these lists. I think I like his combination of hit tool and power more than Bastidas and Osorio but time will tell on these young guys. Keep up the great work always fun seeing these rankings.

      • Thanks, Steve

        If there is one side of the International Players Detroit has depth in it is SS. So much young talent at that position.

    • Thanks for asking, Jarrett. I’d have SGL in #51-60. I don’t know if his arsenal says “starter” but could see an important bullpen role for him. Sawyer gives up a HR every start and a hit every inning. That’s a bad combination that lead to his 4.5 ERA at Erie. His size, frame, and demeanor remind me of Kyle Farnsworth who had a good MLB career as solid bullpen arm.

    • Crouch had a good year for West Michigan. Just tough for me to forecast him into Detroit in the next three years. Crouch should get a full year in 2023 for Erie, where hopefully he does better than his first 24 ABs at the level. Then perhaps Toledo in 2024. Puts his Debut in MLB in 2025 at age 26. 11th rounders are tough to see a high ceiling in. But I have been wrong many times before.

    • I don’t, Jon. A 2015 late round pick, Sands will be 27 as the season starts. With no true above average tool, Sands looks to be a “Quad-A” player who will be with Toledo as a DH.

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