Tigers Prospects – April Update

The Tigers minor league teams have not all started the year strong, but all are full with individual performers. The big league team has a surprising 9-11 record at the time of this writing (4/24/18) as well, but is not full of those considered fantasy prospects. Let’s take a look at the top prospect performers for each team for the month of April.

MLB – Detroit Tigers (9-11, 3rd AL Central)

Top Prospect Hitter: NR Niko Goodrum, SS
Goodrum hasn’t had a great start to the year, but has had a better start to the year than fellow rookie #11 prospect Victor Reyes. Part of his struggles could be blamed on the awful weather and multitude of game postponements that have plagued the Tigers to start the year. He has hit a home run on the year and snagged a trio of stolen bases. He has shown nice versatility with the Tigers playing him at 1B, 2B, SS, and in the OF. While his .194/.265/.355 line doesn’t scream confidence, it still is a small sample as he has only played in fourteen of the Tigers first twenty games. With it finally starting to warm up in the Midwest, he does have a chance to gain some consistency and hopefully match his strong spring numbers. He is not worth utilizing in fantasy today, but could be a welcome waiver add in May or June.

Top Prospect Pitcher: #12 Joe Jimenez, RP
Jimenez is finally starting to show the type of pitcher he can be at the big league level and what made me rank him as the #1 Tigers prospect a year ago. Appearing already in ten of the Tigers games to start the year, Jimenez sports a perfect 0.00 ERA, has struck out 8, has 2 holds, and notched 2 wins in his 9.2 innings of work. He has helped to solidify a shaky Tigers bullpen and when/if Shane Greene, the current closer, gets traded, he should be a lock to take over the 9th inning. If your league awards holds or you can stash him in your minor leagues (currently 28.2 total career MLB innings), he is a solid add. While the Tigers won’t be in many winning situations, when they do occur he should have a solid chance at a save in the near future. If he continues to pitch the way he has this year and throughout his minor league career, he has the makings to be an All Star closer.

AAA – Toledo Mudhens (13-5, 1st International League West)

Top Prospect Hitter: #22 Dawel Lugo, 2B
Lugo has been a key cog in the start the Mud Hens have gotten off to this season. Hitting .300/.305/.400 and knocking in 9 RBIs, he has been the most consistent member of the team. Playing solely at 2B for the Hens, he is starting to show why he was the main piece in the J.D. Martinez trade last July. While working on his fielding will be key this year, his bat will be the big piece that brings him to the majors. If he continues to hit, he should be considered for a call up later in the year depending on the performance of Dixon Machado in Detroit. He could be in line for a midseason call-up, so he is a prospect to keep an eye on early in 2018 campaign.

Top Prospect Pitcher: NR A.J. Ladwig, SP
Ladwig has been a big surprise to start 2018 with the Mud Hens. He did not make our beginning of the season Top 50, but if he continues to pitch the way he does, he should make the list. Ladwig has pitched to an outstanding 2.16 ERA, with 3 wins, a .90 ERA, and opposing hitters are hitting just .186. These numbers if they held career highs, as Ladwig gas a 4+ ERA in his seasons in the minor leagues. Ladwig has either made an amazing adjustment or has had a fair share of luck to start the year. He is someone I’ll be keeping an eye on, but if his history tells me anything, I think he’ll revert to an average at best pitcher in the Tigers system and seems destined for a role in the bullpen if he gets a shot in the minor leagues. I would not add him in fantasy leagues now.

Honorable Mention: NR Jason Krizan, OF; #33 Edwin Espinal, 1B; NR Johnny Barbato, RP

AA – Erie Seawolves (6-11, 6th Eastern League West)

Top Prospect Hitter: #32 Sergio Alcantara, SS
Alcantara has been a surprising addition to a struggling Seawolves roster. Sporting a surprising .321/.339/.411, Alcantara has started 2018 on fire. Known mostly for his defense, his bat has been very solid to start the year. While he won’t ever hit for much power, he does have some base stealing ability and has snagged a bag on the base paths this year. The Seawolves have struggled with terrible weather to start the year as well, so his teammates starting to heat up once it warms up should give him more opportunities to put himself in scoring production and add to his RBI total (6 on the year). At this point, he is definitely worth snagging and stashing on your roster, especially if he continues this torrid pace that he has started the year with.

Top Prospect Pitcher: #34 Tyler Alexander, SP
Alexander is finally seeming to figure out AA pitching. Last year, which was a struggle for him, is starting to look like a hiccup for him. Starting the year with a 2.30 ERA, 13 strikeouts, and accounting for 2 of the Seawolves 6 wins, Alexander does seem to be back to his career norms. The one shocking stat is that he has only walked 1 batter all year, in his 15.2 innings pitched. He doesn’t give up a ton, so that should only help him as he progresses. His big focus this year will be limiting the home runs, as last year he gave up a career high 23. If he can get that back under control, he could be a sleeper starting pitcher in a system that is stocked full of legitimate starting pitching prospects.

Honorable Mention: NR Kenny Wilson, CF; NR Kyle Dowdy, RP; NR John Schreiber, RP

A – Lakeland Flying Tigers (7-11, 4th Florida State North)

Top Prospect Hitter: #27 Blaise Salter, 1B
Salter has continue his strong hitting that he displayed in both levels of A ball last year. Slugging his way to .333/.348/.485, Salter has just found ways to get the ball into play. While not having much power (1 HR on the year) or any speed, he does seem locked at 1B. A contact hitting 1B may not play well at higher levels of the system, but Salter is an RBI machine, so he is someone worth watching.

Top Prospect Pitcher: #43 Anthony Castro, SP
Castro, in a rotation also including top prospect Alex Faedo, has been the true ace of the staff to start the year. Castro, rocking a minuscule ERA of 0.54 in his 16.2 innings pitched, has been near unhittable. Opponents are averaging .183 against him and he has got the win in 2 of his 3 starts. Castro, along with Faedo, could be in line for mid-season promotions if they continue their strong work.

Honorable Mention: #3 Alex Faedo, SP; NR Austin Athmann, C; NR Spenser Watkins, SP

A – West Michigan Whitecaps (11-4, 1st Midwest League Eastern)

Top Prospect Hitter: NR Cole Peterson, SS
The offense has yet to heat up in West Michigan, but Peterson has started the year off strong. Hitting .310/.365/.397 to start the year, the former 13th round pick (2017) also has stolen 5 bases as well. Peterson has not been on many peoples radar after a lackluster beginning to his professional career in Connecticut. This may have been a blip as he adjusted to pro ball, as his college numbers included strong OBP, AVG, and steal numbers. He is a player to keep an eye one, especially for his speed, which seems to be his best skill. If he keeps this up, he will indeed work his way onto our next ranking in July.

Top Prospect Pitcher: NR Eudis Idrogo, SP
Idrogo barely missed out on the Top 50 list in January. His performance to start the year makes that look like a mistake. Starting his third year in West Michigan, Idrogo has a incredible 0.53 ERA over his 17 innings pitched. Idrogo’s performance between last year and this year should earn him a promotion to Lakeland sometime this year. He is a deep sleeper in the Tigers system and is still fairly young at 22 years old. He is worth keeping an eye on as he progresses this year and next.

Honorable Mention: NR Garrett King, NR SP; Brad Bass, SP; #42 Dane Myers, SP

Article featured image of Sergio Alcantara – courtesy Minor League Baseball on Facebook

Nick Bradford is a writer for Prospects 1500 covering the Detroit Tigers. He resides in southeast Michigan with his wife and daughter. He is an avid fan of the Tigers, the Mudhens, and anything baseball (fantasy or MLB). He is a graduate of Central Michigan University and works as a support manager for a software company. Follow me on Twitter at @firedupchippewa.

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