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New rankings show Tigers' system strength

@beckjason
August 5, 2020

The Tigers now have a case in the debate for the strongest farm system in baseball, and it no longer rides almost entirely on pitching. MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 Prospects list received its midseason update Tuesday, reflecting the addition of MLB Draft picks. With the arrival of top overall pick

The Tigers now have a case in the debate for the strongest farm system in baseball, and it no longer rides almost entirely on pitching.

MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 Prospects list received its midseason update Tuesday, reflecting the addition of MLB Draft picks. With the arrival of top overall pick Spencer Torkelson, the Tigers now have five of the first 51 players on the list.

Only the Marlins and Padres have more players in the Top 100, six apiece. But neither of them have five players as highly ranked as the Tigers’ five. The Tigers are also the only organization with two players in the top 10 -- Torkelson at No. 7, followed by Casey Mize at No. 8.

Assign points for each prospect on the Top 100 list -- 100 for the top overall, 99 for the second, down to one point for the 100th -- and the Tigers are far and away the highest-ranked system with 380 Prospect Points -- 41 more than the second-ranked Padres.

Not surprisingly, Torkelson is the highest-ranked addition to the rankings. The former Arizona State slugger turned Tigers third-base prospect becomes the highest-ranked position prospect the Tigers have had in the Top 100 since it debuted in 2011. Detroit hasn’t had a position player in the top 10 since Nick Castellanos in 2012.

Torkelson also appears on the best tools list, tying for the highest power grade of anyone on the list. His 65 rating on the 20-to-80 scouting scale matches White Sox rookie phenom Luis Robert (who still qualifies for the rankings) and just-promoted Angels outfielder Jo Adell.

Torkelson’s arrival bumped Mize to eighth on the rankings after Mize ranked seventh on the preseason list. The right-hander is still the second-highest pitcher in the rankings behind Padres lefty MacKenzie Gore. Mize’s splitter remains the highest-graded non-traditional pitch at 70, while his 60-grade control matches six other pitchers for the top grade.

With no changes to the rankings besides the addition of this year’s Draft picks, every other Tiger fell multiple spots. Matt Manning now ranks 26th, Riley Greene 33rd and Tarik Skubal 51st. Manning was in the top 25 in the preseason rankings, while Skubal was in the top 50.

All five Tigers on the Top 100 list are part of the team’s 60-man player pool, and they are currently working out at the alternate training site at Fifth Third Field in Toledo.

MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 Prospect list for the Tigers received a similar update, with all six of this year’s Draft picks finding spots. Torkelson becomes the top prospect. Second-round pick Dillon Dingler enters at ninth, becoming the Tigers’ top catching prospect. The former Ohio State catcher made an impression on Tigers officials during Summer Camp last month.

Fellow second-round pick Daniel Cabrera, the former LSU outfielder who had been projected as a potential first-rounder, enters the Tigers rankings at 12th. He becomes Detroit’s third-ranked outfield prospect behind Greene and Daz Cameron.

The depth of the Tigers’ system is reflected in where the rest of the Draft picks land. Colt Keith, the high school infielder the Tigers wooed to turn pro with their fifth-round pick, enters the rankings at 23rd. Just after him is fourth-round selection Gage Workman, the slick-fielding, power-hitting third baseman out of Arizona State. Third-rounder Trei Cruz, the Rice infielder and latest in the Cruz family baseball dynasty, ranks 28th.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason.