The restocked Tigers farm system reached an intriguing intersection in 2020. Its top pitching prospects, the heart of the rebuilding effort that began four years ago, began to graduate to the big leagues last summer. At the same time, its buildup of hitting prospects accelerated with the selection of Spencer Torkelson with the top overall pick in what proved for the Tigers to be a hitter-heavy Draft.
The combination of pitching and hitting talent resulted in five Tigers among the top 25 in MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 Prospects list. It also resulted in arguably the deepest Tigers rankings in memory, certainly in the top 10, and the farm system ranks as the second-best in baseball.
Only shortstop Willi Castro graduated from the top 10 of last year’s list. Tarik Skubal, Casey Mize, Isaac Paredes and Daz Cameron still qualify for now, even though they all finished last season in Detroit. At the same time, three of Detroit’s updated Top 10 joined the organization last year through the Draft, all position players.
As more prospects reach Detroit and stay there, the Tigers rankings will likely look a lot different. This year’s Draft, where the Tigers have the third overall pick, will further change it. For now, though, the Tigers are in the sweet spot of talent.
As Torkelson said after his Draft, “It’s a great time to be a Tiger.”
Here’s a look at the Tigers’ top prospects:
Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the 2020 preseason list to the 2021 preseason list:
Jump: Roberto Campos, OF (2020: 19 | 2021: 13) – Campos has yet to play a Minor League game, but the Tigers’ headliner from the 2019 international signing period made an impression in instructional league, raising the upside of the big-bodied teenager. He’ll still require patience, but the Tigers believe he has a strong chance to become an impact hitter.
Fall: Beau Burrows, RHP (2020: 13 | 2021: 28) – The former first-round pick made his Major League debut in Detroit last July 27, but pitched in just five games in relief before returning to the alternate training site. The bullpen looks like his best chance to get back to Detroit now that the Tigers’ top pitching prospects are on the doorstep.
Players are graded on a 20-80 scouting scale for future tools -- 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average. Players in parentheses have the same grade.
Hit: 60 – Torkelson (Greene)
Power: 70 – Torkelson
Run: 60 – Parker Meadows (Akil Baddoo)
Arm: 65 – Jake Rogers
Defense: 60 – Rogers (Daz Cameron, Gage Workman)
Fastball: 60 – Mize (Manning, Skubal)
Curveball: 60 – Manning (Franklin Perez)
Slider: 60 – Mize (Skubal)
Changeup: 60 – Joey Wentz
Control: 60 – Mize (Alex Faedo)
How they were built
Draft: 18 | International: 5 | Trade: 6 | Rule 5: 1
Breakdown by ETA
2021: 10 | 2022: 7 | 2023: 8 | 2024: 5
Breakdown by position
C: 2 | 1B: 0 | 2B: 1 | SS: 6 | 3B: 5 | OF: 8 | RHP: 6 | LHP: 2