Manning among 4 added to Tigers' 40-man
The Tigers’ pipeline of pitching prospects continues to churn players toward Detroit’s roster. The team added four pitchers -- all former first-round picks -- to its 40-man roster on Friday, protecting them from next month’s Rule 5 Draft.
Right-handers Matt Manning, Alex Faedo and Alex Lange join left-hander Joey Wentz on the roster ahead of Friday’s 6 p.m. ET deadline. With those moves, not only is the Tigers’ 40-man roster full, it’s also stocked with young talent, including seven of MLB Pipeline’s top 10 Tigers prospects.
The Rule 5 Draft each December allows teams to add young talent by plucking prospects who aren’t on other organizations’ 40-man rosters. Players first signed at age 18 or younger must be added to 40-man rosters within five seasons, or they become eligible to be drafted. Players signed at age 19 or older have to be protected within four seasons. Clubs pay $100,000 to select a player in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft. If that player doesn't stay on the 26-man roster for the full season, he must be offered back to his former team for $50,000.
For this year, that means an international or high school Draft pick signed in 2016 -- assuming he was 18 or younger as of June 5 of that year -- would be eligible. A college player taken in the '17 Draft is in the same position.
Manning (ninth) and Wentz (40th, by the Braves) were both selected out of high school in the 2016 MLB Draft. Faedo (18th) and Lange (30th, by the Cubs) were selected out of Florida and LSU, respectively, in the '17 MLB Draft.
The decisions to add Manning and Faedo were easy. Both had a chance to make it to Detroit this summer before forearm strains ended their seasons in early September. Both worked out with the team in instructional league in Lakeland, Fla., and are expected to be at full strength for Spring Training in a few months.
Manning ranks third on MLB Pipeline’s Tigers prospect list, and 20th on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 overall. Faedo is the Tigers’ No. 10 prospect.
Wentz, Detroit’s No. 9 prospect, was a slightly more interesting decision despite a strong stretch run at Double-A Erie in 2019 following his arrival from the Braves in the Shane Greene trade that year. Wentz was a non-roster invite to Spring Training this year, but he was shelved with a left elbow injury. He underwent Tommy John surgery in March, and assuming a 14-16 month absence, will likely miss a good portion of '21. A team could have selected him in the Rule 5 Draft, but if he didn’t spend at least 90 days on the active roster, he would have been subject to the same rules for '21. In the end, the Tigers didn’t risk it.
The Tigers have liked what they’ve seen from Lange since acquiring the former first-round pick from the Cubs in the Nick Castellanos trade in 2019 and moving him to the bullpen at Double-A Erie and the Arizona Fall League. He made a cameo appearance in Summer Camp, then was added to the alternate training site in Toledo, Ohio, late in the season. He could find his way to the Majors next summer, given the potential need for multi-inning relievers as baseball goes from a 60-game schedule back to 162 games.
Among the Tigers prospects left unprotected are several relievers, including Nolan Blackwood, Wladimir Pinto, Jason Foley and Will Vest. Also available is superutility player Brady Policelli, who was drafted as a catcher in 2016 but has worked all around the field the past couple years, earning a Florida State League All-Star selection in '19. He spent this summer at the alternate training site working as a catcher, infielder and outfielder. That versatility could be intriguing despite a .244 average in four Minor League seasons.