Detroit Tigers 2020 Top-25 Prospects
After this Detroit farm system was Dombrowskied years ago, it has steadily been on the rise ever since. The last two years have done wonders for this system as Detroit has hit on plenty of talent in the last two drafts along with some intriguing J2 signings. As it stands today, Detroit has two of the top-5 pitching prospects in baseball along with one of the biggest breakout prospects from 2019. This trio makes up three of my top-4 Detroit Tigers prospects and headline an improving top-25 with dynasty targets throughout. Many of the names below are below the Double-A level too, giving this farm plenty to look forward to in the coming years.
Before I get into the top-25, I wanted to quickly touch on the tragic passing of catching prospect Chace Numata. He passed away on September 2nd from injuries he sustained in a skateboarding accident just three weeks after I saw him play in New Hampshire. Though he wasn’t a highly-touted prospect, all you hear about Numata was that he was a great guy and teammate. The Erie SeaWolves set up a scholarship in his honor.
“He was a talented baseball player and a world-class teammate. It didn’t matter if you were a professional athlete or a young child, Chace made you feel welcome. His smile was contagious and unrelenting, and his fun-loving personality could light up any environment.” — From the Chace Numata scholarship page.
Rest in peace, Chace.
Overall System Grade: C
Minor League Affiliates
Triple-A: Toledo – International League
Double-A: Erie – Eastern League
Advanced Single-A: Lakeland – Florida State League
Low Single-A: West Michigan – Midwest League
Short Single-A: Connecticut – New York-Penn League
Rookie: Gulf Coast League (2), Dominican Summer League (2)
All other team top-25 prospect rankings can be found here.
If you aren’t playing your dynasty leagues on Fantrax, you’re missing out on the deepest player pool and most customization around. Just starting out in a dynasty league? Then check out Eric Cross’ Top-250 prospects, Top-300 Dynasty League Rankings, & 2019 FYPD/J2 Rankings.
Also, make sure to check out the Fantrax Dynasty Baseball Podcast weekly with Nathan Dokken, Van Lee, and Ron Rigney!
Top-25 Detroit Tigers Prospects – 2020
1. Matt Manning, RHP
This is more like 1a and 1b than it is one and two. When I saw Matt Manning live in May, I was just as impressed with his outing as I was with Mize’s the previous night. Like Mize, Manning has a dynamic three-pitch arsenal with an electric fastball and one elite offspeed pitch. In my back to back Mize/Manning looks in May, Manning averaged around one mph faster with his fastball on average and 1.4mph higher than Mize in their last innings of work. Manning was also more fastball-centric in his approach, throwing 66 fastballs to Mize’s 36.
Both had solid armside run on their fastball with Manning getting a tad more in my looks. The velocity, movement, and improved command of the pitch makes Manning’s fastball a 65-grade offering in my opinion. That improved command, along with better control overall, has been huge for Manning over the last year or two, taking him from a “very good” pitching prospect to one of the elite arms in the minors with front of the rotation upside. Equally as impressive, or maybe even more so, is Manning’s hammer curve in the 79-81 mph range with strong 1-7 break. He displayed exceptional feel for the pitch, landing it for strikes when he wanted to or burying it below the zone for the strikeout. Another 65-grade offering and dare I say a borderline 70-grade pitch.
Another reason for Manning’s ascension to the elite has been an improved changeup, which ties in with the improved command I mentioned above. Manning has really made strides with his changeup, showing improved feel/command of the pitch, making is a third weapon for the big right-hander. Though it can still be a tad inconsistent, the fade and tumble Manning generates on it make it a borderline plus pitch when he’s commanding it well.
After dominating the Double-A Eastern League for all of 2019, Manning has nothing left to prove at the level. Expect him to start 2020 in Triple-A with a mid-2020 MLB debut likely.
2. Casey Mize, RHP
As I said above, Casey Mize is basically 1b here and is a top-5 overall pitching prospect in baseball. When you think of a frontline starter, Mize checks off all the boxes and he showed all of them this season, including a no-hitter in late-April.
First, of course, is an arsenal with three plus pitches. Mize usually sits in the 93-95 range with armside run on his fastball and can add a tick or two when needed. His phenomenal command of the pitch coupled with the velocity and life, makes it an easy pitch to throw a 60 or 65 grade on. The velocity did dip in my second live look of Mize in August after a shoulder injury cost him some time. The hope is that with a full offseason to rest his shoulder, that velocity should return to where it was early in 2019.
That was just one of his three plus pitches. Mize will also mix in a slider/cutter hybrid in the mid to upper 80’s and a splitter around 83-86mph that is a no doubt 70-grade pitch. This is the best splitter I’ve ever scouted and the best I’ve seen in baseball since the Roger Clemens and Curt Shilling days. Batters on both sides of the plate, especially left-handers have little chance to barrel this pitch up when Mize is commanding it well, which is basically all the time. With the velocity difference from his heater, strong fade/tumble, and command of the pitch, Mize’s splitter is his main out pitch. He can also throw it for strikes too which is not often seen with splitters, especially ones with this movement.
While the late-season shoulder woes and velocity dip are a tad concerning, I don’t think it ends up being a long-term issue. Hopefully, it was just due to overuse and the offseason will breath new life into Mize’s golden right arm. This is one of the top pitching prospects in baseball with arguably the best combination of ceiling and floor you’ll find. Assuming he looks good to start 2020, expect to see Mize toeing the rubber in Motown sometime this summer.
3. Riley Greene, OF
In my recent top-100 FYPD/J2 rankings, I ranked Riley Greene 6th overall as the last member of the top tier. While he might not quite have the same loft ceiling as the five that were above him (Vaughn, Dominguez, Witt, Abrams, Rutschman), Greene has a very high floor as one of the best pure hitters in the draft. That sentence is even more impressive when you remember that Greene was drafted out of high school and not as a multi-year collegiate bat.
At the plate, Greene has a simple, controlled, and very effective swing. He uses a smaller toe-tap to time pitches and keeps his weight balanced without extra, unnecessary noise. There’s minimal rear leg load or lower-half involvement in his swing, but Greene uses his strong hips to create torque in his swing and quick wrists to generate plus bat speed. He’s able to keep his hands inside the ball and whip the head of the bat through the zone with incredible barrel control. His power is more of the line-drive variety at the moment, but with some added loft, Greene has enough raw power to develop into a 25-homer threat in time. There’s minimal speed upside, but the overall package with Greene is the potential to become an above-average offensive outfielder that hits for a very high average.
4. Tarik Skubal, LHP
If I were to hand out minor league awards for the 2019 season, Tarik Skubal would likely be the frontrunner for breakout pitcher of the year. After dominating as a reliever in 2018, Detroit moved Skubal to the rotation in 2019 and look like freaking geniuses for doing so. Skubal dominated both the Florida State League (A+) and Eastern League (AA) en route to a 2.42 ERA and 13.1 K/9. His strikeout rate in the Eastern League was one that you’d even have a hard time reaching in a video game. In 42.1 innings across nine starts, Skubal racked up 82 strikeouts for a ridiculous 17.4 K/9. In six of his nine Double-A starts, Skubal recorded double-digit strikeouts and never had less than a K per inning in any start.
While that strikeout rate will be difficult to replicate moving forward, Skubal definitely has the stuff to remain well over a strikeout per inning. He’ll sit in the 93-95 mph range on his fastball out of a high 3/4 arm slot and can ratchet it up into the 97-98 range at times with life. A plus low-80’s curveball is Skubal’s best secondary offering, a pitch with strong depth that he’s shown a good feel for. He’ll also mix in a mid-80’s slider that flashes above-average inconsistently and a fringe changeup that has the potential to develop into at least an average Major League pitch due to the velocity difference from his fastball. Skubal’s slider and curve have blended together at times, but Skubal is at his best when he establishes the fastball/curveball combination and works off those.
If he can develop his change a little more, the stuff and command give Skubal the upside of a back-end #2 or strong #3 starter. The breakout is for real.
5. Isaac Paredes, 3B/SS
Isaac Paredes might just be one of the most underrated hitters in the minors. The big numbers haven’t been there yet, but Paredes has performed well each and every season while steadily improving along the way. He’s also been quite young at every level while showcasing an advanced feel for hitting against mostly older competition. Paredes has continued to improve his walk rate, up to 10.3% in 2019, while never having a strikeout rate higher than 15.1%. The guy just puts the ball in play and makes pitchers throw strikes. His mechanics are fairly clean with a bigger leg kick to time pitches and moderate load. Everything is synched well throughout his swing and Paredes is able to incorporate his strong hips and lower half well in his swing.
In the power department, Paredes grades as a 55 raw, 50 in-game power type that could settle in as a 20-25 homer threat down the road. He is able to make consistent hard contact to all fields, although, his power is mostly to his pull side. Paredes has the arm for the left side of the infield, but his below-average speed/range makes him a better fit at the hot corner than at shortstop.
6. Parker Meadows, OF
Another Detroit outfield prospect with Major League family ties, Parker Meadows, younger brother of Austin Meadows, has intriguing upside, but is a less advanced pure hitter than his brother. At 6’5, Meadows has flashed plus raw power in batting practice and still has some physical projection left on his frame. With some added bulk and loft to his swing, Meadows has 30-homer upside. He’s much more than just a masher too. Meadows is exceptionally athletic for a big guy with plus speed (3.9-4.0 Home to First time) on the bases and in the outfield. Even if he loses a step, this should still be a 50 to 55-grade runner with 15-20 SB upside, maybe more.
BUT! You knew there had to be a but coming for a power/speed like this to not crack the top-5 here. The downfall for Parker Meadows right now is his below-average hit tool. The swing is a tad busy, especially during load, and a slightly prolonged hand coil leads to a longer swing at time for Meadows. Once he gets moving forward, there’s solid bat speed thanks to his quick wrist, but I’d love to see him clean up the mechanics a little bit, get more set, and take a more direct bath to the ball. With that being said, Meadows approach is actually pretty solid with a 9.3 % walk rate and an improved 22.4% strikeout rate in 2019. If Meadows can clean up his swing and make more consistent contact, the power/speed profile should really take off and send Meadows soaring up prospect rankings.
7. Daz Cameron, OF
I’ve talked a lot lately about how below-average hit tools and plate approaches can really hamper toolsy outfielders with nice power/speed profiles. Case in point, Daz Cameron. The toolsy second-generation outfielder has averaged 15 home runs and 32 steals per every 600 at-bats since the start of 2017, but struggled to the tune of a .214 batting average in 2019. He’s shown the ability to draw walks, but his below-average contact skills and swing and miss tendencies have hampered him at times. Additionally, Cameron hasn’t been as efficient on the bases as one would want, hovering around the 70% mark in each of the last three seasons.
While Cameron struggled in 2019, there are still reasons to be excited about his future outlook. In the box, Cameron uses his quick wrists to generate plus bat speed and has shown the ability to make hard contact to all fields. There’s also at least average raw power here with the upside for 15 home runs annually. If Cameron can focus on making more consistent contact and improving his reads and efficiency on the bases, he could develop into an impact center fielder on both sides of the ball.
8. Bryant Packard, OF
This is a prospect I’ve been high on ever since the draft, and probably higher than most. Nothing about Bryant Packard’s game will dazzle you, but he’s a professional hitter with a great plate approach that simply produces wherever he goes. That plate approach carried over into the minors where he hit .296 with a 13.3% walk rate across all three Single-A levels. His approach and set up at the plate is simple and quiet. Packard keeps his weight back well and takes a direct path to the ball with some natural loft to his swing. It’s a beautiful left-handed swing.
As a 5th round pick out of Eastern Carolina, Packard didn’t generate a ton of draft-day buzz. And he still doesn’t. But with his above-average to plus hit tool and moderate power, Packard should continue to move quickly and has the upside to develop into a .280/20 corner outfielder who’s bat will carry him to a starting role in the Majors. It’ll have to as Packard isn’t a great defender and has below-average speed.
9. Willi Castro, SS
Without a doubt, Willi Castro is more of a floor guy than a high-ceiling type. He does a ton of things well on both sides of the ball which will likely lead to a long Major-League career, but he doesn’t really wow you with any one tool. Defensively, Castro has shown that he’s at least an adequate defender there with a strong arm. He took over the shortstop duties late in 2019 and should open as the starting SS in Detroit on opening day.
At the plate, Castro is more of a contact/speed guy. As a switch-hitter, Castro has displayed an solid approach and feel for hitting from both sides and can spray line drives all over the field. The power upside isn’t overly high, but Castro has shown enough raw power to peak in the 10-12 homer range. When you add in his above-average to plus speed and 20 SB upside, you have a tidy little .275/10/20 profile.
10. Wenceel Perez, SS
Wenceel Perez is like a higher-upside, lower-floor, younger version of Willi Castro. The higher projected ceiling comes from more speed upside and a more advanced plate approach. Perez did struggle during his first extended taste of full-season Single-A ball in the Midwest League, hitting .233 with a .613 OPS, but Perez has shown an above-average hit tool before and still was able to produce solid walk and strikeout rates despite the struggles and being a tad young for the level.
Another similarity between Perez and Castro is that they’re both switch-hitters. Perez has plenty of bat speed and has shown a feel for hitting from both sides, with the right side being his more prominent side. Due to below-average raw power and a linear swing path, Perez will likely never develop more than 10-homer pop, but that’s fine. Power isn’t his game. What makes Perez an attractive deeper dynasty target is the hit-tool/speed combo along with the fact that he plays short.
11. Franklin Perez, RHP
It wasn’t too long ago that Franklin Perez was considered to be arguably the top pitcher in this system and a top-100 prospect overall. The raw stuff is still there, but Perez just can’t remain healthy for a long stretch. He’ll come back from an injury, make a few starts, and wind up back on the IL. All in all, the 6’3 Venezuelan right-hander has combined for just nine starts and 27 innings since coming from Houston in the Justin Verlander trade, with only two of those starts coming in 2019. He’s been placed on the IL a whopping five times during his two seasons in the Detroit organization. And the fact that a lot has been shoulder-based gives me plenty of concern about his future outlook.
While you can question the durability all night long, what you cannot question is the pure stuff that Perez possesses. Between the ailments, Perez has flashed three plus pitches. His fastball sits in the low to mid-90’s with run and he’s shown solid command of the pitch as well. Both Perez’s curveball and changeup also project as potential plus pitches with his curveball generating plenty of depth from Perez’s higher 3/4 arm slot. The changeup features both fade and tumble, neutralizing left-handed batters. Perez will also mix in a slider at times, but the pitch is well behind the other three offerings.
If Perez can finally put these arm issues behind him, there’s still substantial upside here. That’s a major “if” though at this point. And it’s fair to wonder how his command/control will fair moving forward. Still, Perez’s upside makes him a solid buy-low dynasty target as I’m sure his current dynasty owner is getting a tad impatient.
12. Jose De La Cruz, OF
The Tigers have been quite active over the last few J2 periods. They haven’t necessarily landed and splashy names (Unless you consider Roberto Campos to be one), but they signed two from the 2018 J2 crop that make this list, starting with Jose De La Cruz. Detroit signed De La Cruz for $1.8m out of the Dominican Republic largely due to his intriguing all-around skill set.
De La Cruz is strong and athletic with plus raw power and above-average speed. His swing is quick from the right side with natural loft created by a slight uppercut swing path. He wasted no time flexing that power in the DSL in 2019, hitting 13 doubles and 11 home runs in 57 games. Accompanying that power was 16 steals in 24 attempts, and unfortunately, a sub-par plate approach. The contact skills are solid, but De La Cruz has some free-swinging ways that need to be cleaned up and he could really benefit down the road with some improved patience. If he can make these adjustments at the plate and improve as a base stealer, the overall offensive upside here is quite intriguing.
13. Joey Wentz, LHP
Back in August, I was able to catch a Nate Pearson vs. Joey Wentz start in New Hampshire. Pearson was the big draw there, but I also came away more impressed than I thought I would be with Wentz. Most notably, with his secondary offerings. Both Wentz’s curveball and changeup grade as above-average to plus pitches and the changeup might even be better than that with fade and a ton of depth. His curve also shows plenty of depth from Went’s high 3/4 arm slot. Wentz showed good feel for each pitch and was able to utilize them as weapons against both right-handed and left-handed batters.
4-pitch sequence from Joey Wentz
— Eric Cross (@EricCross04) August 11, 2019
His fastball, on the other hand, wasn’t fooling many. Sitting around 91-93 (T94) with some arm side life, Wentz’s fastball was getting hit rather hard throughout the outing, mostly due to him missing his spots. This is a trend I’ve seen outside of my live look as well. With some improved command and control, Wentz could develop into a decent mid-rotation arm.
14. Alex Faedo, RHP
Alex Faedo is a pitcher I’m rooting for. He was the first prospect I ever interviewed and graciously gave me a few minutes after a rough start against a loaded New Hampshire Fisher Cats lineup in 2018. I also met some of his family walking into the ballpark that day which was a very pleasant conversation. They were a nice group that shared stories of Faedo’s Florida Gator days, including Faedo Fridays. However, Faedo is also a pitcher I’m see-sawing on whether I project him as a starter or reliever longterm.
The arsenal Faedo works with is good, but not overpowering. He’ll sit in the low-90’s mostly and can get into the mid-90’s when he needs to. The delivery isn’t overly athletic of fluid and lacks extension, but Faedo is able to repeat it well and has shown at least average command/control. For his secondaries, Fardo will mix in a low to mid-80s slider that has improved and a changeup with some fade. Both project as average to above-average Major League offerings with the slider flashing plus. As a starter, there’s mid-rotation upside here. And if Faedo moves to the bullpen longterm, I think his profile could serve well as a set-up man, especially with added velocity in shorter outings.
15. Adinso Reyes, SS
Adinso Reyes is the other interesting name that the Tigers signed in the 2018 J2 period. Signed for $1.45m, Reyes is an advanced hitter for his age with a good feel for hitting that has the upside to hit for both average and power down the road. From the right side, Reyes’ generates plus bat speed from his quick wrist and has some nice natural loft to his swing as well. He’s already shown at least above-average raw power and has room on his frame to add bulk and turn into a plus raw power type. He’ll likely lose some quickness if that happens, but should still have enough speed to add in 5-10 steals annually.
Reyes got off to a great start in the DSL in 2019 and will likely come stateside in 2020. With another strong showing in the Gulf Coast League, Reyes should really begin to see his name trending up in prospect rankings.
16. Kody Clemens, 2B
The Toronto Blue Jays were the organization with the big-name second-generation stars recently, but Detroit has begun to build their own family softball team, with Kody Clemens being the son of former seven-time CY Young Award winner, Roger Clemens. And unlike the Toronto guys, I’m not sure how much hitting tops the Rocket was able to pass down to his any of his three sons. The older two brothers didn’t see their minor league careers go very far, but Kody has a chance to develop into an everyday second baseman at the highest level.
From the left side, Clemens has shown quick bat speed and natural loft to go along with above-average raw power. His contact skills aren’t quite as advanced, but an advance plate approach has helped salvage his OBP. Clemens will need to focus on making more consistent contact to fully unleash his raw power. If he can do so, there’s 20-25 homer upside in his bat and enough speed to reach double-digit steals annually.
17. Nick Quintana, 3B
Nick Quintana is one of the biggest boom or bust prospects Detroit has in this system. There’s really no in-between when it comes to Quintana’s tools. They’re either really good or really bad. No middle ground at present. Let’s start with the positives. Quintana is a plus defender at the hot corner with strength both in his arm and his bat where he’s shown easy plus raw power with a swing that generates both backspin and natural loft. But the problem is that his contact skills and plate discipline are major hindrances to his game and limit his in-game power currently. Mechanically there aren’t any major flaws to his swing, so there’s hope that with more reps in the minors he’ll be able to improve his contact skills and reign in his swing and miss tendencies.
— Detroit Tigers Minor League Tracker (@Tiger_Lifer) June 12, 2019
18. Anthony Castro, RHP
With all the talent in the Erie SeaWolves pitching staff this season, Anthony Castro mostly flew under the radar in 2019. He compares similarly to Faedo in the sense that their future role is still undetermined. I will say though, I’m leaning more towards the reliever side for Castro. There are a few reasons for that. First, his command and control and still a work in progress. Have been for some time too. And at age-24, we’re at the point where it’s fair to wonder just how much improvement he’ll have in this department. Ditto for Castro’s changeup, a fringy below-average offering at best,
The Tigers moved Castro back and forth between the rotation and the bullpen in 2019, partially due to all the arms Erie had in the rotation at one point. But like I said, I ultimately think Castro’s future is in the bullpen. If that is indeed the case, his plus fastball and slider combination could be a weapon in the 7th or 8th inning. Castro will sit in the low to mid-90’s in starts and has shown upper-90’s in shorter stints with movement. His slider has vastly improved over the last year or two and now projects as a 55 or 60-grade offering with nice two-plane tilt to it. The 2020 season will be very telling on where we can expect to see Castro down the road.
19. Roberto Campos, OF
Ah, the Cuban mystery man. There isn’t a ton that we know about Roberto Campos, but from what I have been able to find, he’s an athletic outfielder with plus power potential and some speed upside. It’s hard to give him a firm ranking in this top-25 but the upside and intrigue made it worth adding him. Keep an eye on him as he gets into minor league game action in 2020 as Campos could be a lottery ticket that pays off nicely.
20. Andre Lipcius, INF
After taking Nick Quintana in the 2nd round of the 2019 draft, the Tigers dipped back into the collegiate ranks for another infielder in Andre Lipcius from Tennesse. I used the word infielder instead of a specific position as it’s still very much up in the air where Lipcius’ (say that five times fast) defensive home is going to be. He played both first base and shortstop in the Cape Cod League back in 2018 and spent time at second base, third base, and shortstop in the minors this season. His below-average range leads me to believe that the keystone or the hot corner will be his defensive position.
Whatever the position ends up being, Lipcius has the offensive skills to make an impact. He displayed a solid feel for hitting, a sound approach, and above-average raw power during his collegiate career and carried most of that over into the Detroit system. The power hasn’t really shown up much in games yet, but there’s enough raw power here to develop into a 20-homer type while also hitting for a respectable batting average. Just don’t expect much speed to tag along for the ride.
21. Beau Burrows, RHP
There’s been a real changing of the guard when it comes to pitching prospects in this Detroit system. A couple of years ago, Beau Burrows, along with Perez and Faedo, were considered the top arms in this system. Now all three find themselves outside of my top-10 with more question marks than answers. Like with Faedo and Castro, I’m not 100% sure Burrows remains a starter, mainly due to his shaky command and control. The arsenal consists of three pitches that flash above-average potential in his low-90’s fastball, high-70’s curveball, and low to mid-80’s changeup, but none of the trio consistently is an above-average pitch due to Burrows below-average command. In my mind, there are two possible outcomes here; a back-end rotation piece or a middle-reliever.
22. Elvin Rodriguez, RHP
Originally signed by the Los Angeles Angels back in 2014, Elvin Rodriguez has been a very slow-developing prospect so far, just reaching the High-A California League in 2019. That “slow-developing” attests to his frame as well where Rodriguez has added a little bulk over time, but is still on the smaller side with his 6’3 frame. With the added bulk came some added velocity with Rodriguez now sitting in the low-90’s on his fastball with some riding life. Both his curveball and changeup have improved as well, with the curve projecting as an above-average offering. The changeup is less developed and more of a fringe third-offering. With average command and a clean delivery that he repeats well, the upside with Rodriguez is a back-end starter, although, it’s more likely he ended up in a middle-relief role.
23. Jake Rogers, C
Jake Rogers is such a floor guy, there are rumors he works for a flooring company in the offseason. Okay, that was terrible. My apologies, I’m throwing that joke away now. While the joke wasn’t great, the sentiment is. Rogers is currently in the Majors and will stay there for a long time due to his defensive prowess and rocket throwing arm. But unless pop times are a stat category in your fantasy league (and not even Fantrax has that as an available stat category), Rogers isn’t going to do you a whole ton of good. He’s the epitome of a “better real-life than fantasy” prospect.
With that being said, there is some nice raw power here. Rogers has averaged around 25 homers per every 600 at-bats since the start of 2017 and hit a few during his late-season sting with the Tigers this season. But even with everyday at-bats, he’s likely not more than a 15-20 homer threat in the Majors and his below-average hit tool will limit him to the bottom of the order. He does draw a fair amount of walks, so those in OBO leagues should give him a little boost. Even with that, Rogers is really only an AL-Only target moving forward.
24. Jake Robson, OF
From one Jake R to another. While they share the same first name and last initial, these two couldn’t be more different if they tried. One is a defensive-minded backstop with power while this Jake R is a speedy outfielder with average defense at best and only enough pop to reach the 8-10 homer level at peak. And while the speed is impressive, Robson isn’t a great base stealer, succeeding on only 64.2% of his attempts during his minor league career. He’ll need to improve greatly in that regard if he’s going to be given the green light in the Majors. It would sure be a shame to see a cap on this type of speed.
What will determine if Robson is a 4th outfielder or low-end starter is how well he hits. While the power isn’t robust, Robson has shown a solid feel for hitting with at least average contact skills and a decent plate approach. If all of those tools continue, Robson should slot in as a starting outfielder for Detroit at some point in 2020.
25. Brock Deatherage, OF
I’m not ready to give up on Brock Deatherage yet! After a breakout 2018 campaign that saw Deatherage post a .326/7/19 line in 60 games, Deatherage struggled against more advance competition in the Florida State League, hitting .228 with a .627 OPS in 117 games. There’s a silver lining to this down season, however, as Deatherage ran wild for 45 steals in 56 attempts. That double-plus speed has always been Deatherage’s calling card. But the question at this time is whether he’ll be able to hit enough and get on base to fully unleash it.
Time will tell, but I’m still a believer that Deatherage can develop into a 50-hit prospect. He uses a more upright swing with his legs closer together in his pre-pitch stance and keeps his weight back. There’s some added movement in his hands through coil that I’d love to see cleaned up, but the bat speed is solid and Deatherage has shown the ability to use the entire field with his line-drive-oriented swing. Don’t write him off just yet.
Others to Monitor
Sergio Alcantara, MIF: His defense will likely allow him to carve out a role at the Major League level, but his offensive skills signal more of a bench role than an everyday starter.
Derek Hill, OF: His double-plus speed is very intriguing, but Hill’s contact skills and approach still need a ton of work. He’s better suited as a 4th outfielder and pinch-runner.
Kyle Funkhouser, RHP: Funkhouser has a plus fastball, but that’s about it. His secondaries and command are rough and I’m not sure what type of role he’ll have at the Major League level.
Bryan Garcia, RHP: With a plus fastball/slider combination, Garcia has the upside to develop into a solid middle reliever and maybe even a set-up man.
Troy Stokes Jr, OF: There’s nice speed upside here with Stokes, but he doesn’t impact the ball or make enough contact to provide the offense needed to be an asset.
Paul Richan, RHP: A 2018 2nd-rounder that came over from the Cubs in the Nicholas Castellanos trade, Richan projects as a back-end starter or middle-reliever with above-average command and control of a mostly average arsenal. Definitely more floor than ceiling here.
Kingston Liniak, OF: Has struggled in a big way during his professional career but has the raw tools to put himself back on the map at some point.
Media Credit: Robert Robinson, Detroit Tigers Minor League Tracker, all other tweets and videos are my own.
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