Detroit Tigers 2019 Top 50 Prospects

Photo credit - @PatrickCavey, Breaking Down the Future

Detroit Tigers Top 50 Prospects for 2019

The Detroit Tigers continue with their all out rebuild entering the 2019 season. Their farm system was once the laughing stock of the league and while they are not quite the envy of the league they have made substantial strides. They are without a doubt top heavy with arms, but it’s impossible to have too many arms (just ask the Mets). The Tigers do have some intriguing bats down the pipeline but right now the future of this team will be dependent of how healthy their arms remain and of course their development. With all the roster turnover over the past 2 years and all that is still to come they are at least 2 to 3 years away from getting back into contention.

That being said, they have made the necessary moves to rebuild their farm system. The next couple of years are going to be rough at the major league level, but the Tigers should take advantage of some high draft picks and continue to shape the future of this organization. I wish Al Avila and the Tigers front office staff would invest more in the International market. I definitely think that is one spot they are sorely lacking. They have made a couple of small splashes here and there but nothing that has made its mark on the Franchise.

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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 high likelihood of making the majors but providing minimal impact (e.g. middle reliever, low-ceiling UT guys)
Tier 5: Players who are worth keeping an eye on, but likely to never make a team’s 40-man roster


Tier 1:

1. Casey Mize, RHP
Opening Day Age: 21
2018 Highest Level: A+
ETA: 2020
If you are surprised to see Mize slot in as the #1 prospect in their system then I am glad you are here reading this article. Grab some coffee, a light snack, pen and paper and put the kids to bed. You’re going to want to take some notes. Mize leads the way in this system that is full of arms in the upper tiers. Mize has all the makings that you are looking for to be the ace of your staff. Whether you like a mid 90’s FB that is easily controlled and has excellent life, a mid 80’s slider that he varies in speed as necessary, or a devastating splitter that is a signature strikeout pitch, Mize has you covered. Look for him to move quickly through this system and lead the charge backs towards winning at the big league level.

2. Matt Manning, RHP
Opening Day Age: 21
2018 Highest Level: AA
ETA: 2020
Manning comes in behind Mize in these rankings but don’t let that fool you as his upside did not take a hit. Manning’s delivery is still a work in progress and as such his command and velocity have suffered some ups and downs. But make no mistake this kid has the stuff to be a front-line starter. Manning boasts a low 90’s fastball that he can bump up to 95-96 as needed. His change-up lags behind the FB but his curveball (as seen below) is a legitimate strikeout pitch and has the chance to be plus plus. Manning’s delivery flaws have the potential to keep him from reaching his ceiling but he has more than enough athleticism to make the necessary adjustments. Above all, Manning is still an elite prospect that has every chance to become a front-line starter for the Tigers.

3. Franklin Perez, RHP
Opening Day Age: 21
2018 Highest Level: A+
ETA: 2020
Perez had what amounted to a nearly lost season in 2018. Shoulder issues (never good for a pitcher) and a lat strain limited him to just 7 starts. This ultimately dropped him on just about every prospect rankings list. It did not affect his upside in my opinion. Perez still has a plus fastball/curveball combination in addition to at least an average change up and slider. His FB sits between 92-94 but he can reach back for 96 when he wants to. He has a very tight curveball that he throws with a lot of spin and is a great compliment to his FB. His slider and changeup both come in as average to above average with the changeup having a nice fade and the slider still a work in progress.

His diverse pitch arsenal and solid command with all his pitches amounts an upside of a #2 with the floor likely being a #4. Take away the injury plagued 2018 and Perez would solidly be in the top 50 on all prospect lists. He’s a better bet to reach his ceiling than hit his floor.

Tier 2:
4. Isaac Paredes, SS/3B

Opening Day Age: 20
2018 Highest Level: AA
ETA: 2020
This is a player that I like more than most in the industry as a whole, though many people are getting on his bandwagon as each day passes. When he was with the Cubs I think he got lost in the shuffle. Now that he is with the Tigers he is just starting to get the attention he deserves. Paredes has quick hands and wrists while having more raw power than you expect. He has great plate discipline for his age. He walked at an 11.8% rate last year and struck out at a 17.5% rate. Because Paredes can use all parts of the field I expect his impressive offensive profile to continue to grow. Expect bigger things from Paredes in 2019.

5. Alex Faedo, RHP
Opening Day Age: 23
2018 Highest Level: AA
ETA: Late 2019
Faedo is a 6’5 right-hander with a fast ball that sits in the mid 90’s with and has good sink. He has good command of a plus slider that generates a lot of weak contact. After those two plus offerings he has a changeup that shows some good fade but lacks consistency. My major knock on Faedo is his delivery. He doesn’t have a very athletic motion and it almost looks forced. I see a lot of strain being put on his pitching shoulder, which in this day and age of players getting TJ at an alarming rate, raises my level of concern for Faedo. If he can stay healthy and get a handle on those secondary pitches, Faedo has all the making of a #2 workhorse or a devastating closer.

6. Daz Cameron, OF
Opening Day Age: 22
2018 Highest Level: AAA
ETA: 2019
Let me you in on a little secret………I LOVE players with bloodlines (yes I capitalized love). As you probably know Daz is the son of former MLB player Mike Cameron. Daz came to Detroit in the Verlander deal with the Astros (you’re welcome for that ring BTW) and has impressed during his time in the Tigers system. Most recently Daz fascinated in the AFL slashing .342/.435/.468/.903 over 20 games. Daz has a solid overall game. He has enough strength and bat speed to hit between 15-20 balls over the fence but he is more about bat speed at this point. He plays a solid OF due to good range that is backed by athleticism and sneaky speed. That hasn’t translated to a lot of stolen bases but the potential 20/20 exists.

7. Christin Stewart, OF
Opening Day Age: 25
2018 Highest Level: MLB
ETA: 2019
If you like power, Stewart is your guy. If you like anything else you should look away now. Stewart should have no problem hitting 30 plus homers if given everyday rips. However, his lack of speed, below average contact rates and most specifically his defense might not allow the Tigers to give him that opportunity. DH is the best position for Stewart and playing in the AL certainly allows that option. With Miguel Cabrera (remember him?) on this team that position might well be spoken for on a regular basis. Last I checked teams aren’t salivating to call up a young prospect to fill the DH slot for the next decade. Then again, not many rebuilding teams have such a lack of potential young bats in their system.

Stewart is a prime example of a player that is more valuable in fantasy than real life because of the stark difference between his power bat and literally everything else in his game. If Stewart is able to make adjustments to MLB pitching he might carve out a decent career. If he can’t, I don’t see him sticking around long enough to hit many homers.

8. Parker Meadows, OF
Opening Day Age: 19
2018 Highest Level: A-
ETA: 2022
Bloodlines. The younger brother of Austin was selected in the 2nd round of the 2018 Draft by the Tigers. Parker’s profile is an entree of power with a side of speed and a hit tool that needs some work to wash it all down. If he can get his contact rate up the upside for Parker is exactly what this system is desperately in need of – an impact middle of the order bat. That might be a lot to ask given what he has shown so far, but we can dream right ?

The one thing Parker has on his side, at least for now, is time. He is still very raw and will be given the playing time to see what he can do. He has the potential of being a perennial 20/20 guy while hitting around .260 if everything pans out.

9. Wenceel Perez, SS
Opening Day Age: 19
2018 Highest Level: A
ETA: 2021
I am very intrigued with Perez and you should be too. He had a solid showing over 3 levels in 2018, slashing .313/.375/.394/.769 in 118 games. Not bad for a guy 3 years younger than most of his competition. Perez is a solid 4 tool guy who will never hit for power. 5 – 8 home runs is where he will likely max out. But he makes up for that with tremendous contact from both sides of the plate and plus speed. Defensively speaking he is the best SS in the system. If he continues on the path he is on I see him as a speedy leadoff hitter playing plus defense in a couple of years.

10. Beau Burrows, RHP
Opening Day Age: 22
2018 Highest Level: AA
ETA: 2020
In 2018 Burrows held his own in AA playing against much older players. His numbers won’t pop out at you; 4.10 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 8.5 K/9, 3.8 BB/9 but they are solid across the board. He has great command of his mid 90’s fastball and his power curveball. Burrows still needs to work on getting more consistency and control out of his slider and changeup to reach his ceiling as a #2 starter. With a repeatable and stress free delivery, Burrows looks like he is nearing the big leagues and should be the first of the Tiger’s stable of arms to reach the show.

11. Kody Clemens, 3B
Opening Day Age: 22
2018 Highest Level: A+
ETA: 2020
This might ring a bell…….Bloodlines.

Clemens was drafted in the 3rd round last year by the Tigers and he impressed in his pro debut slashing .288/.365/.450/.816. What impresses me as much as anything is his 23 walks compared to 39 punch-outs. Dynasty owners will love his above average raw power with a slight uppercut swing that gives some natural loft. His hit tool isn’t quite as far along but he does have a good plate approach. Clemens has plus bat speed and in time I think his advanced knowledge of the strike zone will allow him to be someone who ends up with an average hit tool. I could see Clemens’ ceiling being in the .270 neighborhood with 25 home runs. Not too shabby for a middle infielder. It will be interesting to see his progression in 2019 as the challenges of AA should give us a better idea of the type of player the Tigers have on their hands.

12. Kyle Funkhouser, RHP
Opening Day Age: 24
2018 Highest Level: AAA
ETA: 2019
I am higher on Funkhouser (that is more fun to say than type) than most people are. I really want him to be higher on this list but I can’t justify it. Funkhouser has a fastball that sits in the low 90’s with decent life. His secondary pitches and sudden lack of control is where my concerns lie. None of his secondary pitches show any reason to think they will be plus. The best of those pitches is probably his slider which could be plus, but he does not show any consistency with it. His changeup and curveball both exist but aren’t nearly MLB ready, which is a problem at his advanced age.

In 2018 Funkhouser doubled his walk rate without any real reason outside of the fact that maybe he was trying to hone those secondary pitches. I would be fine with that fact if it meant those pitches were progressing. Funkhouser has the ceiling of a #3 SP if everything starts to falls into place in 2019 but he does have a pretty high floor in my opinion. Funkhouser isn’t someone I would chase in dynasty leagues but he also isn’t someone I would disregard, though I admit that might just be the sentimental part of me speaking.

13. Willi Castro, SS
Opening Day Age: 21
2018 Highest Level: AAA
ETA: 2019
Castro came to Detroit in the Leonys Martin deal at the 2018 trade deadline. A pretty nice haul for Al Avila after some questionable returns in a variety of other deals. Castro is likely to be the first potentially impactful middle infield bat to hit the Motor City. He doesn’t excel in any area but he also isn’t extremely deficient anywhere. Long term he feels like a quality utility player that any team would be happy to slot on their bench. Castro is likely to start the season in AAA and should get the call at some point in 2019 to show what he can do.

14. Brock Deatherage, OF
Opening Day Age: 23
2018 Highest Level: A
ETA: 2020
I know exactly what you’re thinking and I wanted to be strong willed enough to just bypass it……but alas I cannot………what a cool name!!!!

Deatherage was drafted in the 10th round of the 2018 draft and boy oh boy, has he shattered expectations and in an exciting way. His speed translates very well to the field. He is a horse on the basepaths and plays a solid center. He has legitimate 70 speed and possibly more. While you wouldn’t expect a player of his mold to have much power he might surprise us with 20 home run potential to make him a true 20/20 threat at the top of the order. He does need to work on his hit tool but he did a lot to help you forget those worries by slashing .326/.385/.504/.890.

Deatherage is off to an incredible start and he is someone that you should keep a close eye on in 2019. If he continues hitting and playing defense like he did in 2018 when he reaches AA at some point in 2019, he will be grinding his way clearly into at least the top 10.

15. Elvin Rodriguez, RHP
Opening Day Age: 20
2018 Highest Level: A
ETA: 2021
I will start off by admitting two things about Elvin Rodriguez. 1. I had no idea who he was when the Tigers acquired him in the Justin Upton deal. 2. I am significantly higher on him than most. I expect him to become a breakout name to know in 2019 and I am just in on him before most. His arsenal consists of a mid 90’s fastball that has nice movement, a terrific hard curveball that is his out pitch and a quickly developing changeup.

I am excited to see if the Tigers push him to AA to start the year as that will be the first true test to see how quickly he can move through the system. He has the upside of a #2 starter that could also end up as an impact bullpen arm if the top end arms in this system develop and don’t leave any room for him in the rotation. This is definitely another name to keep a strong eye on in 2019.

16. Jake Rogers, C
Opening Day Age: 23
2018 Highest Level: AA
ETA: 2020
Jake Rogers might be the toughest Tigers prospect to rank in this top 50. I could argue he could be a lot higher because I believe he is going to have a very long MLB career. Rogers is definitely the best defensive catcher in the Tigers system and I wouldn’t be out of line to say that he is the best in all of the minors. Alas, this top 50 list is geared more towards fantasy than real life (see my Christin Stewart write up for further evidence). As such Roger slots in just outside of the top 15 because of this slash line (.219/.305/.412/.717.) in AA from 2018

He also played in the AFL but that small sample size was even worse. I will say that Rogers does have plus raw power as he did hit 17 long balls but his long swing probably limits his average to at best .240. As a Tigers fan I am excited to see his continued development and hope that he figures it out at the plate. As a dynasty owner I am staying away from Rogers unless he shows me that he can turn his bat around. Regardless of his bat though he should be a fixture behind the plate in Detroit for a while.

Tier 3:
17. Jose De La Cruz , OF
Opening Day Age: 17
2018 Highest Level: N/A
ETA: 2024

This is likely a name that you are not familiar with. Cruz was a J2 signing by the Tigers who was considered the 15th best prospect coming out of Cuba. There isn’t a lot of video out there on Cruz and until he plays in the States we won’t have a true game feel for him. What you can clearly see in the video below is an athletic player with a strong build. While he looks like a corner outfielder his plus speed might allow him to stay up the middle. Being that he is so young it is difficult to accurately predict what will happen to him but the Tigers signed one of the most tooled up players in the class and he should be someone to follow the next few years to see what he brings to the table.

18. Bryan Garcia, RHP
Opening Day Age: 23
2018 Highest Level: Injured (Previously AAA)
ETA: 2020
I feel like I am saying this a lot but I have Garcia ranked higher than most in the industry, which is especially weird since Garcia will be a reliever for the Tigers and someone who is coming off of TJ surgery. With all of that in mind you know that Garcia must have strong numbers. In 2017 he had a 2.29 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 12.8 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9. The walk numbers could be better but he has all the making of an impact bullpen piece. Armed with a mid 90’s fast ball that has a lot of run and a plus slider he has the arsenal to be a shutdown closer. It will be interesting to see how he comes back from surgery and if he can earn a September cup of coffee for the Tigers.

19. Zac Houston, RHP
Opening Day Age: 24
2018 Highest Level: AAA
ETA: 2019
Here we go again. Another guy I am higher on than most and another reliever. To be quite frank, Houston had a dominating 2018 and it wouldn’t haven’t been a shock if he would have gotten the call in September. How dominant was he in 2018 you ask ? How about a 1.63 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 13 K/9. His arsenal includes a a mid 90’s fastball and a filthy curveball. Jimenez, Garcia and Houston could form a 3 headed monster in the back end of the Tigers bullpen when the Tigers are ready to compete again in 2020. I expect Houston to start in AAA and if he keeps up his 2018 pace he should be in Detroit by the All-Star break.

20. Jacob Robson, RHP
Opening Day Age: 24
2018 Highest Level: AAA
ETA: 2019
Robson is a speedy outfielder who should see some time with the Tigers in 2019. While his best tool is speed he is still finding his way on the bases. He has stolen 54 bases in the minors but has been caught a whopping 34 times. His numbers were very good overall in 2018, slashing .295/.376/.440/.816. Robson loses power in his swing as he tends to use too much of his upper half. He gets a lot of contact due to his quick hands but because he gets his front leg down too early he likely will max out at 12-15 homers but could hit as high as .280. I expect Robson to compete for an OF spot in spring training but ultimately start in AAA.

21. Adam Wolf, LHP
Opening Day Age: 22
2018 Highest Level: A-
ETA: 2021
Wolf was selected by the Tigers in the 5th round of the 2018 draft. He is a big lefty at 6’6, 225 lbs. Wolf does not have a dominant pitch but he does boast four pitches that are at least average. His fastball sits in the low 90’s and he has a curveball and changeup that, not surprisingly at his age, are still developing. He has been working on a cutter which seems to be his best pitch, which is a very encouraging sign for his future value. I would expect the Tigers to start Wolf in Short Season-A Connecticut and if he does well advance his way to West Michigan to finish off the year.

22. Kingston Liniak, OF
Opening Day Age: 19
2018 Highest Level: A-
ETA: 2022
Liniak was a 4th round pick by the Tigers in the 2018 draft. I like the trend the Tigers finally got on board with by selecting toolsy high school bats in the draft. It is a high risk/high reward strategy but it is exactly what the Tigers system needs. With all of that being said, Liniak is a very raw prospect but with a lot of promising tools. His calling card right now is his plus speed which was seen more in the field than on the basepaths during his 48 games in 2018. He has the potential for a 50 hit tool but his power isn’t likely to be more than 8-12 homers a year. He very well could develop into a .270 hitter with 10/30 potential sitting atop the Tigers lineup. Guys like Liniak will be fun to watch as they develop over the next few years.

23. Daniel Woodrow, OF
Opening Day Age: 24
2018 Highest Level: AA
ETA: 2020
Like most of these young Tigers OF prospects, Woodrow is a speedy guy. Playing almost exclusively at AA this year Woodrow put up a pretty nice slash line .317/.371/.397/.768. Again, his power numbers aren’t really there but batting over .300 and getting on base in the .375 neighborhood is nothing to scoff at. Like a lot of these guys his SB numbers leave a lot to be desired. He did steal 23 bases but was thrown out 14 times. With a career .292 average and .356 OBP he definitely has the numbers to go along with the defense that you are looking for in a center fielder.

He doesn’t have the same upside of the guys ahead of him, which is why he slots where he does in these rankings. His exceptional performance in the AFL certainly makes Woodrow a guy to watch going into 2019 for the Tigers. He will likely start back in AA and make his way up to AAA at some point. It is not beyond thinking he could get up to the big league club at some point in 2019, especially if he can keep getting on base and playing solid defense.

24. Matt Hall, LHP
Opening Day Age: 25
2018 Highest Level: MLB
ETA: 2019
In 2018 Hall evenly split him time between AA and AAA with very strong numbers. Combined he had a 2.68 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and was striking out 10.6 per 9. It was a different story when he got called up for a brief stint with the big league club. Over the course of 8 innings he got lit up for 19 hits and 16 runs while striking out 5 guys. Hall’s minor league numbers are fairly dominant and he certainly isn’t as bad as the small sample size from his MLB debut. 2019 will be a big year for Hall because he is likely to start in AAA and is very likely to get another shot in Detroit. What he does with that opportunity will say everything about Hall’s future within the Tigers’ organization.

25. Gregory Soto, LHP
Opening Day Age: 24
2018 Highest Level: A+
ETA: 2020
There is a lot to like about Soto even though his numbers do not jump out at you. He has a tremendous fastball that sits in the mid 90’s with good movement. He combines that with a curveball and changeup but neither pitch is currently something that he can control. No matter how good his fastball is, Soto’s ceiling will completely depend on if he can refine those secondary pitches. He has a lot of work to do but the potential is there. The Tigers are going to give Soto every chance to be a starter but odds are a role in the bullpen will be what gets him to the big leagues down the road.

Tier 4:
26.Dustin Peterson, OF
Opening Day Age: 24
2018 Highest Level: MLB
ETA: 2019
The Braves DFA’d Peterson in September and the Tigers were quick to pounce on him (see what I did there ?). Peterson doesn’t have much for upside, 15 homers and a .260 batting average and no threat on the basepaths. Everything about him screams 4th OF at best.

27. Alvaro Gonzalez, SS
Opening Day Age: 18
2018 Highest Level: Rookie
ETA: 2022
Gonzalez is a tough guy for me to rank. I was very excited to see the Tigers dip into the International market to sign him as that is something I think they need to do more of. Before doing a deep dive into these rankings he was someone I expected to have a lot higher. Granted, he had a fairly small sample size in Rookie ball last year, I was a little bit disappointed in the results. In 46 games he slashed .245/.352/.362/.714, which isn’t exactly terrible considering he was nearly a year younger than the league average. It also isn’t numbers that jump off the page. His 8 stolen bases and 9 caught stealing is a concern but at his age I can’t say it is damning. At the end of the day I am still intrigued by Gonzalez.

28. Eliezer Alfonzo, C/1B
Opening Day Age: 19
2018 Highest Level: Rookie
ETA: 2022
Alfonzo is the opposite of Gonzalez in these rankings for me. He is someone I had tempered expectations for but after doing this research he is significantly higher than I would have first thought. Again, he had a small sample size in Rookie ball but his numbers really jump off the page at you. In 2018 he slashed .324/.417/.413/.830. If that doesn’t impress you then I am going to ask you to take a seat before I tell you that he walked 29 times compared to just 17 strikeouts. Pretty darn good thing to be able to say about a 19-year-old kid. If he can continue on this pace he could be an intriguing MLB piece down the road for the Tigers.

29. Logan Shore, RHP
Opening Day Age: 24
2018 Highest Level: AA
ETA: 2020
First of all, happy belated Birthday Mr. Shore, who turned 24 on December 28th. Shore came to the Tigers as the player to be named later in the Fiers trade with Oakland. He has a fastball that sits in the low 90’s but with good sink. He also throws a plus changeup and offers an average, at best, slider. He has the upside of a #4 SP.

30. Esney Chacon, OF
Opening Day Age: 18
2018 Highest Level: Rookie
ETA: 2023
As evidenced by the lack of video below, there is not a lot of information available about Chacon. But what I can tell you is that he has legit speed, at least 70 grade, as evidenced by the 58 steals he had in last year’s Dominican league. He has a strong plate discipline as he walked more than striking out as well. He will be a name to monitor.

31. Jose Azocar, OF
Opening Day Age: 22
2018 Highest Level: A+
ETA: 2021
Azocar was a guy who saw his stock plummet in 2017. In 2018, repeating the same levels, he saw it rise back up a little bit. He slashed .297/.320/.399/.719 while stealing 11 bases on 15 attempts. While he did in fact rebound in 2018 there is not a lot of upside in him at this point. If he can manage to have a dominant 2019 and make his way to AA and continue dominating, then we can discuss him as a name to watch again. But likely this is a name that will be all but forgotten before long.

32. Grayson Long, RHP
Opening Day Age: 24
2018 Highest Level: Injured
ETA: 2020
Long missed all of 2018 after he underwent surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome in the middle of April. The lost season does impact the ranking of Long for the Tigers. It will be interesting to see what Long does in 2019 as he will likely start in AA. While he does have the upside of a #5 SP, he is more likely to make the big leagues as a bullpen arm, if at all.

33. Jose King, 2B/SS
Opening Day Age: 20
2018 Highest Level: A-
ETA: 2020
King came to the Tigers from the Diamondbacks in the J.D. Martinez deal. King is supposed to be a speedster with a decent hit tool, but in 2018 he didn’t really show a lot of that. He only walked 9 times in the 49 games that he played so that concerns me. King has a lot of work to do to sniff relevancy.

34. Cam Gibson, OF
Opening Day Age: 25
2018 Highest Level: AA
ETA: 2020
Bloodlines! Because of those bloodlines Gibson might be ranked higher than deserved. But once you get into the 30’s you could really start to move guys a few slots up and down and it would be hard to argue over. At the age of 24 Gibson certainly isn’t setting the minor leagues on fire. He had a respectable 2018 season between Lakeland and Erie but nothing that gives you hope of him being a MLB contributor. I expect him to start back in AA this year and possibly get a shot at AAA.

35. Troy Montgomery, OF
Opening Day Age: 24
2018 Highest Level: AA
ETA: 2020
Montgomery was acquired by the Tigers in the Kinsler deal from the Angels. While he was the main return in the deal he isn’t an impact prospect, as should be indicated by this ranking. Montgomery spent most of his time in AA last year and put up respectable but uninspiring numbers. His numbers certainly took a drop from A+ to AA as he was having a great start to the season in Lakeland. I expect Montgomery to start in Erie this year and he seems likely to make his way to Toledo. He doesn’t look to have much of a MLB future outside of a possible 4th OF role.

36. Spencer Turnbull, RHP
Opening Day Age: 26
2018 Highest Level: MLB
ETA: 2019
Turnbull is a name that feels like it has been in the Tigers system for a decade. If you feel the same way we aren’t that far off. Drafted all the way back in the 2nd round of the 2014 draft, Turnbull has worked his way steadily through the Tigers system. He has always had decent K/9 numbers and he has a nice mid 90’s fastball but never done much to really garner your full attention. He is a decent enough arm that I wouldn’t be surprised to see him spend a lot of time in the Tigers bullpen in 2019 but not in a meaningful role.

37. Sandy Baez, RHP
Opening Day Age: 25
2018 Highest Level: MLB
ETA: 2019
Baez was once a pretty highly regarded prospect. After his dismal 2018 season he is no longer deserving much attention. He still has a great fastball and seemed to lose what used to be very good control in 2018. Baez did make it all the way to the show in 2018 but it wasn’t due to great performances in AA. Baez is likely to start 2019 in AAA. The fact that he has a shot to make the Tigers bullpen in 2019 should tell you exactly what type of season to expect from them this year.

38. Anthony Castro, RHP
Opening Day Age: 23
2018 Highest Level: AA
ETA: 2020
Castro had a solid, yet unspectacular year, while pitching mostly in Lakeland but getting 10 innings in Erie. In 2018 he had an ERA of 3.34 and a WHIP of 1.38 while striking out twice as many guys as he walked. All in all a decent year but he doesn’t have the arsenal to move the needle much. He is organizational depth but a slight upside to develop into more. What he does in 2019 starting off at AA will certainly decide what his future holds.

Tier 5:
39. Dane Myers, RHP
Opening Day Age: 22
2018 Highest Level: A
ETA: 2021
Myers was the Tigers 6th round pick in the 2017 draft. He didn’t fair as well in A ball this year as he did last year in A- but he held his own. This last year he had a respectable 3.33 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and struck out more than twice as many batters as he walked. Myers will probably start back in A ball this year and seems likely to hit AA at some point. If he can continue to hold his own he could make his way into the Tigers bullpen down the road.

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40. Sergio Alcantara, 2B/SS
Opening Day Age: 22
2018 Highest Level: AA
ETA: 2021
Alcantara was another piece that came to the Tigers in the J.D Martinez deal. He is a glove first middle infielder who had a decent season in 2018 at the AA level. With so many other higher upside players in the Tigers system ahead of him, it is unlikely he ever contributes in a significant way. With that being said he should continue to improve and if he can get his bat going more on par with his glove he could sneak his way into a utility role.

41. Gerson Moreno, RHP
Opening Day Age: 22
2018 Highest Level: AA
ETA: 2020
Moreno is one of those guys that has good “stuff” but he doesn’t have a clue what to do with it. Prime example of that is his 11.1 K/9 paired with his 7.4 BB/9. That led to a 5.29 ERA and 1.82 WHIP. If Moreno could ever get control of his pitches he could make a case for a bullpen job in a couple of years.

42. Derek Hill, OF
Opening Day Age: 23
2018 Highest Level: A+
ETA: 2021
Oh the curious case of Derek Hill. The 23rd overall pick in the 2014 draft, Hill has never lived up to the bill. I am much lower on Hill than most but I think I am very justified. There is no doubt that Hill has some serious wheels, as he stole 35 bases last year with Lakeland but he only got on base at a .307 clip. That just doesn’t get it done. You would expect the top player you picked in the 2014 draft would be well past A+ ball after 5 seasons. You would also expect him to have hit better than .244 over those years combined. He has the hand speed to be an average hitter and with his speed and defense that would be a valuable asset. The problem is his swing is an absolute mess. If he hasn’t figured it out by now, I don’t see him figuring it out. He might still make it to Detroit as a speedy bench piece but he has been a disappointment after coming into the system with so much hype.

43. Sam McMillan, C
Opening Day Age: 20
2018 Highest Level: A-
ETA: 2021
McMillan really saw his stock drop in 2018 because of his bat. He slashed .158/.312/.206/.518 which leaves a lot to be desired. If you watch his swing it is very quick and compact. I am not sure why he struggled so mightily in 2018 but hopefully it is not a sign of things to come. Between Rogers and McMillan the Tigers have a decent backstop situation in their system.

44. Austin Sodders, LHP
Opening Day Age: 23
2018 Highest Level: A+
ETA: 2021
Sodders was really trending after a dominating 2017 season. He came back down to earth in 2018 but still remained fairly solid. He doesn’t quite have the arsenal that makes me comfortable enough to put him higher on these rankings, but if he performs well in 2019 at AA it will be hard to keep him outside of the top 25. I know that would be a large jump up the rankings but if he continues to put up good numbers it will be harder to ignore him.

45. Pedro Martinez Jr., 3B
Opening Day Age: 18
2018 Highest Level: DSL
ETA: 2022
This is the last time you will have to hear me say this…….bloodlines! Of all the bloodline guys this one is my favorite. Sure he is the furthest down the list but he is by far the most raw. Pedro Jr. has quick hands and a short compact swing that is geared more for contact than power right now. I think he has a future 60 hit tool potential and his power tool could reach the 50-55 range in the coming years. One of my favorite parts of his game is his patience at the plate. He nearly walked as many times as he struck out in 2018. Granted it is a sample size of just 47 games, but it is all we have to go off of at this point. Pedro is someone I wanted to rank much higher but given how far away and raw he is, I think this spot suits him very well. If he has a solid season at A- in 2019 expect to see him rocket up my rankings.

Β 

46. Joey Morgan, C
Opening Day Age: 22
2018 Highest Level: A
ETA: 2021
Morgan is yet another guy at the bottom of these rankings that saw his stock drop in 2018. He got plenty of at bats in A ball this year and slashed .217/.306/.307/.613. At this point he is more of a defensive catcher and is well beyond both McMillan and Rogers in the Tigers system.

47. Kody Eaves, 2B/3B
Opening Day Age: 25
2018 Highest Level: AAA
ETA: 2019
The fact that Eaves is even on this list after the 2018 he had says a lot about the lack of true depth in this Tigers system. He slashed an unimpressive .198/.283/.298/.581 while splitting time between AA and AAA. There is not any upside to Eaves and he is simply organizational depth at this point in his career.

48. Dominic Ficociello, 1B/OF
Opening Day Age: 26
2018 Highest Level: AAA
ETA: 2019
Dominic Fiociello, trying saying that 3 times fast! He had respectable numbers in 2018 between AA and AAA. The main thing going against him as a prospect is the fact that he is going to be 27 for the majority of the 2019 season. Fiociello will start the season in AAA and probably will see some at bats in Detroit at some point, especially if Miguel Cabrera gets hurt again.

49. A.J. Simcox, IF
Opening Day Age: 24
2018 Highest Level: AA
ETA: 2020
Simcox isn’t a guy that will wow you in any capacity. He is a quality ball player that simply serves as organizational depth.

50. Max Green, LHP
Opening Day Age: 22
2018 Highest Level: A
ETA: 2021
As a big University of Michigan fan (#GOBLUE) I almost didn’t even let Green slide into these rankings, but someone had to round out the top 50. Green is as good a name as any of the other 10-15 guys that were considered. I really liked Green coming to the Tigers in the 8th round of the 2017 draft from Pepperdine but he hasn’t done anything in his 2 years in the system to justify my temporary excitement. He still only has 60 pro innings under his belt so he more than has a chance to make his mark. I am not holding my breath but I think there is still a slight chance he turns into something worth keeping an eye on.

So there you have my inaugural top 50 Detroit Tigers prospect list. For anyone that actually read this from start to finish I say thank you! We went on quite a ride together. To everyone else who did a Google search for an obscure Tigers prospect and found this article I say thank you. Hopefully you got some valuable information from this article. I can honestly say I had a good time, for the most part, writing this article in a nerdy kind of way I suppose. I will continue to keep my eye on these guys, as well as others, and keep you updated on their progress. Your comments and questions are welcomed and make sure you are following me on Twitter @CorporalEddy. If you aren’t following me on Twitter, you’re missing out.
About Dave Eddy 4 Articles
Dave Eddy is a sports fanatic focusing on Baseball, MiLB prospects and Fantasy sports. With a quick wit and an impressive amount of sarcasm he brings you top notch information that will help you win your leagues or just dominate arguments with your friends. Feel free to reach out to him with any questions, comments or to say hello via Twitter @CorporalEddy

6 Comments

    • Rivera hasn’t brought the bat to play that he was drafted for. At the time of this reply his career minor league numbers are .215/.281/.347. He only has 11 HR in 704 AB’s. So he isn’t doing much to inspire confidence. It is possible that it all clicks for him offensively and his bat becomes MLB ready. If that were to happen, I wouldn’t bet on it, then his poor defense would be the next issue. All in all he is shaping up to have been a complete bust.

    • Hey Todd ! Thanks for checking in on the article and for the question.

      On the field I am not the biggest Schreiber fan. He is a middle reliever so that instantly limits his value for the purposes of my list. I like that his delivery is rather deceptive. That definitely helps when he doesn’t have tremendous stuff. He throws a relatively flat high 80’s FB, though it does produce some sink. I would expect someone that throws at his arm angle to have more movement. He also offers a low 80’s CH and high 70’s SL that has good rotation. Unfortunately, nothing about him screams good prospect to me. He will likely get called up to Detroit at some point but I would be surprised if he is anything more than a low leverage reliever.

3 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Minor League Tracker Podcast: Dave Eddy of Prospects 1500 | Detroit Sports Today
  2. Searching for Quality Starts vs. Wins (Prospects Edition) - Fantasy Six Pack
  3. The Growing Hype Around Willi Castro | Prospects1500

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