Between last season’s wheeling and dealing and last June’s draft, the Detroit Tigers appear to have restocked a once-thin farm system.
One way to gauge that: Baseball America’s top 100 prospects list, which was unveiled Monday. The Tigers boast three players on that list, led by right-handed pitcher Franklin Perez, who came over in the late-night blockbuster trade of ace Justin Verlander to the Houston Astros.
Perez checks in at No. 35 in Baseball America’s top 100, followed by two more right-handers in the Tigers’ system: Alex Faedo, taken No. 18 overall in last June’s draft, at No. 50, and Matt Manning at No. 78.
Manning was the Tigers’ sole prospect in Baseball America’s top 100 in 2017, coming in at No. 61.
In breaking down the Tigers’ top prospects (pay site), Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper writes the 20-year-old Perez isn’t that far from Detroit.
“Perez doesn’t blow hitters away like a future No. 1 starter,” Cooper writes, “but he also doesn’t have much to refine to be a future mid-rotation starter. He had knee problems in 2017 that are worth keeping an eye on, but he has present above-average stuff and advanced control for his age. He’ll head to Double-A Erie in 2018 but could be only a year away from Detroit.”
Perez went 6-3 with a 3.02 ERA and 1.14 WHIP at two levels last season, including Double-A Corpus Christi. He struck out 78 in 86.1 innings.
Perez checked in at No. 67 on the top 100 list for ESPN's Keith Law, who unveiled the back-half of his list Monday (pay site).
"Despite his youth, he doesn't offer much physical projection, as he's already well filled out," Law writes, "but his present velocity is more than enough to keep him a starter."
Cooper says Faedo projects as a No. 3 starter who, “at his best, ... has three plus pitches” in a fastball, slider, and changeup.
Manning, 19, was the Tigers’ first-round pick in 2016 and, according to Cooper, “has ace potential,” though his control and changeup need work. Manning was 4-2 with a 3.18 ERA and 1.29 WHIP at two Class A stops last season, finishing at West Michigan. He had 62 strikeouts in 51 innings, while walking 25.
Another prospect acquired in the Verlander trade, outfielder Daz Cameron, ranks No. 86 on Law's list.
"He might be a 'post-hype' guy now," Law writes, "having fallen off the radar a bit after his huge bonus and modest early returns in the minors, but he looks as if he's growing into an even better player than projected when the Astros drafted him."
Also making Baseball America’s top 100 is Tampa Bay Rays prospect Willy Adames, a shortstop who originally was in the Tigers’ system, but helped bring David Price to the Tigers in a 2014 three-team trade that included the Seattle Mariners. Adames ranked No. 19.