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Quartet offers possible glimpse into future

MLB.com @beckjason

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Tigers will have to wait a while before they can think about putting Franklin Perez, Matt Manning, Alex Faedo and Beau Burrows in the same rotation. That doesn't mean the talented quartet of right-handers can't think about it while they work in the same camp.

MLB Pipeline's updated list of top Tigers prospects came out Wednesday, and to no one's surprise, the top four are the aforementioned starting pitchers, in that order. They're not only looming as the potential heart of the next Tigers rotation, they're unquestionably the center of Detroit's rebuilding project, something they don't take lightly.

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Tigers will have to wait a while before they can think about putting Franklin Perez, Matt Manning, Alex Faedo and Beau Burrows in the same rotation. That doesn't mean the talented quartet of right-handers can't think about it while they work in the same camp.

MLB Pipeline's updated list of top Tigers prospects came out Wednesday, and to no one's surprise, the top four are the aforementioned starting pitchers, in that order. They're not only looming as the potential heart of the next Tigers rotation, they're unquestionably the center of Detroit's rebuilding project, something they don't take lightly.

"It's really special to look around and see all the good arms we have in this organization," Burrows said. "We're all so young, too, which is really cool to see. It gives us hope in the future that we're all going to be young starters in the big leagues and dominating, hopefully. The group of guys we have is really special."

While Faedo works and learns in big league camp, Perez, Burrows and Manning are together in Minor League camp. Burrows and Perez are getting to know each other as likely teammates at Double-A Erie, while Burrows and Manning are throwing buddies this spring.

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"Me and Beau are catch partners. We go at each other every day," Manning said. "Me and Perez have hung out a couple times, so it's been really quick. We've been building really good relationships, and we all kind of know we're going to hopefully make the team and take it to the World Series."

Perez is new to the group, having joined the Tigers' organization at the end of last August in the Justin Verlander trade. He was a teammate of Burrows for a couple days, traveling from the Astros' Double-A affiliate at Corpus Christi up north to join the SeaWolves. He was scheduled to start their season finale at Akron on Labor Day but was scratched due to a blister, rendering his travel moot.

It doesn't take long to see why Perez is so highly rated. As the 20-year-old right-hander talked with reporters during the Tigers' Minor League media day event on Wednesday afternoon, he was preparing to throw live batting practice on the back fields next door as part of Minor League minicamp. About an hour later, he took the mound and overpowered a group of Tigers hitting prospects, the potential power fastball evident behind his 6-foot-3 frame.

Video: Top Prospects: Matt Manning, RHP, Tigers

Burrows, Manning and Faedo are all Tigers' first-round picks, having been taken over the last three Drafts. Burrows has 55 Minor League starts over the last three seasons, but he broke out last year with a 3.20 ERA and 9.1 strikeouts per nine innings over 26 starts covering 135 innings.

Video: Top Prospects: Beau Burrows, RHP, Tigers

Considering Perez made just six starts down the stretch at Double-A, and Burrows 15, they're expected to open the season as teammates back at Erie. Depending on where Faedo, the oldest of the group at age 22, begins his pro career -- Class A Advanced Lakeland seems likely -- and how quickly they all progress, the SeaWolves could have Detroit's top three prospects in the same rotation at some point in the summer.

"I think we can be the group together in the future for the Tigers," Perez said. "I feel really good because I know all the pitchers. I tried to get to know them every day. We have a really good group."

Video: Faedo Live BP

Manning is the youngest of the bunch, having been drafted out of high school with the ninth overall selection in 2016. The lanky right-hander just turned 20 last month and was part of a playoff team last summer at Class A West Michigan, closing out his first pro season there before heading to instructional ball in Florida. He's also the least experienced pitcher, not taking the mound until high school.

"I think it's going to be good for us in the future," Manning said. "We're all right now really good friends, but we also hold each other accountable and we're internally competing against each other, too."

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

Detroit Tigers, Alex Faedo, Franklin Perez