Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Detroit Tigers. Scouting reports were compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as our own observations. As there was no minor league season in 2020, there are some instances where no new information was gleaned about a player. Players whose write-ups have not been meaningfully altered begin by telling you so. Each blurb ends with an indication of where the player played in 2020, which in turn likely informed the changes to their report if there were any. As always, we’ve leaned more heavily on sources from outside of a given org than those within for reasons of objectivity. Because outside scouts were not allowed at the alternate sites, we’ve primarily focused on data from there, and the context of that data, in our opinion, reduces how meaningful it is. Lastly, in an effort to more clearly indicate relievers’ anticipated roles, you’ll see two reliever designations, both on team lists and on The Board: MIRP, or multi-inning relief pitcher, and SIRP, or single-inning relief pitcher.
For more information on the 20-80 scouting scale by which all of our prospect content is governed, you can click here. For further explanation of Future Value’s merits and drawbacks, read Future Value.
All of the numbered prospects here also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It can be found here.
Other Prospects of Note
Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category.
Shore, 26, has a plus changeup. If he can sit 92-94 like he has this spring, then he could be an important part of the team’s immediate pitching depth. Irigoyen looked good in the fall. He’s 19, short to the ball with doubles power right now, and he has a big frame that could get cut and strong as he reaches maturity. He’s unlikely to be a shortstop if he really fills out but then he might also have big power.
Manuel Sequera, SS
Abelardo Lopez, OF
Pedro Martinez Jr., 3B
Sequera, 19, has a shot to stay at short and grow into some pop. Lopez is a corner power bat who signed for about three quarters of a million dollars in July 2019, along with Sequera. This Pedro Martinez, unlike the Rays’ Pedro Martinez (no relation), is the son of Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez. He has 40 present tools and a medium frame, and might get a full-season assignment this year.
The barrel-chested Jimenez, 21, has a mid-90s fastball/curveball reliever look. He was into the upper-90s in the fall, and he’ll show you an above-average curveball. Smith is 6-foot-10, he touches 96, and has fringe secondaries. Perez, 21, is a funky lefty with a plus breaking ball and tough angle on his fastball. Green is a lefty up to 97 with a slow but very deep curveball. Di Monte is an Italian 17-year-old with a low-90s fastball and average curveball. His vertical arm slot creates big carry on his heater. Fenelon was the hardest-throwing Tigers 2019 DSL arm, and was up to 96 and sitting 91-93 as an 18-year-old with a stronger current build than most teens. It was his second DSL year. De La Cruz is a converted outfielder with big spin on a low-90s heater. Arriera is 21; he’s the club’s fourth rounder from 2017. He was up to 96 as a starter in 2019.
Hill and Robson all have bench outfield ceilings. Robson is more hit tool forward, Hill more defense. Ames is a giant (6-foot-3, 240) who has had big power since high school. He’s explosive but not very athletic. Benitez was 20 in the DSL but hit the ball hard.
The Detroit Tigers have reached the nadir of their current rebuilding process, with sub-.400 winning percentages each of the past four season. But help is on the way. This is a system that has several potential stars who can help soon, as well has some high-ceiling prospects at the lower levels. They are approaching the line between optimism and expectations. 2021 is far too early to call the Tigers a playoff contender, but we should see a step in the right direction.
The Tigers are evolving in terms of scouting and player development, as well. They’ve grown in their development and adoption of analytics, and have begun to be less predictable in terms of their draft strategy, though they typically end up with at least one big conference college infielder on Day Two. In the past, they were on big kids who throw hard, but that hasn’t been the case of late. Perhaps the Tigers are comfortable with their upper-level pitching and looking to add bats to the system, and maybe this is just “a best player available” symptom, but in 2019 the club didn’t select an arm until the seventh round, and they used all six of their 2020 picks on bats, with the first five being big performers at big programs.
There is going to be attrition among the pitching prospects but assuming good health, most of the next competitive Tigers team’s rotation will pitch in the big leagues this year. Two franchise pillars (Tork and Greene) are rapidly approaching the group of role players (Willi Castro, Jeimer Candelario, JaCoby Jones) who are already in place and will be for a while. There’s a small chance the short-term additions like Robbie Grossman and Julio Teheran contribute to a surprise 2021 if things break immaculately (Mize is healthy, Skubal throws strikes, etc.). Had the club pulled the ripcord on a Matthew Boyd trade earlier than they did, this system might have another big name or two, but it’s also poised to add one in a few months with the third overall pick.