But, the farm system appears to shaping up. That's good news for a team in the middle of a rebuild.
The Tigers were one of four teams to receive A's as MiLB.com handed out first-half grades for American League farm systems on Monday. The Tigers received an A-minus from Chris Tripodi of MiLB.com — joining the Tampa Bay Rays and the Toronto Blue Jays — while the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim received an A for their farm's first-half work.
And, while the Tigers bolstered their farm system with a handful of trades last season and this offseason, Tripodi mostly singled out the work of a few of the Tigers' recent draft picks for helping Detroit's system shine in the first half.
"International League home run leader Christin Stewart (first-round pick, 2015) cut his strikeout rate by 5 percent to earn a bump into MLB.com's top 100 and went from Detroit's No. 10 prospect to No. 5," Tripodi writes. "Quite a feat considering the impressive arms in the organization.
"Right-hander Alex Faedo (and first-round pick) became the fourth player from the 2017 Draft to reach Double-A after making 12 starts at Class A Lakeland, and (2016 first-round pick) Matt Manning took Faedo's place with the Flying Tigers after exhibiting much-improved control in June."
Stewart has clubbed 15 home runs for the Toledo Mud Hens, and appears to be knocking on the door at Detroit, while Faedo owns a 2.88 ERA and 0.97 WHIP in 14 starts over two minor-league stops.
Outfielder Daz Cameron, who came to the Tigers as part of last season's blockbuster trade that sent ace Justin Verlander to the Houston Astros, "has hit the ground running with Double-A Erie after a quick 58-game stop in Lakeland," Tripodi writes, "and each of Detroit's full-season affiliates is over .500 with the exception of the (Double-A Erie) SeaWolves."
Tripodi also notes the early struggles of Double-A catcher Jake Rogers and control issues for left-hander Gregory Soto of Single-A Lakeland, "but the positives far outweigh any negatives in the Tigers system."