Anaheim, Calif. — The three pitching prospects the Tigers acquired in trades on Wednesday with the Cubs (for Nick Castellanos) and Braves (Shane Greene) were ranked immediately on the club's top 30 prospect rankings.
Left-hander Joey Wentz, a starter who was the No. 7 prospect in the Braves system, is ranked 10th. The two right-handers from the Cubs, Paul Richan and Alex Lange check in at Nos 19 and 29.
"Wentz throws his fastball between 91 and 95 mph and averages 93," general manager Al Avila said. "We're going to send him to Double-A Erie and let him join that rotation down there.
"That's a pretty good rotation."
The Seawolves rotation now features No. 1 Casey Mize, No. 2 Matt Manning, No. 4 Tarik Skubal, No. 9 Alex Faedo and No. 10 Wentz.
“Maximizing our pitching depth is something that’s important to the long-term success of our organization,” Avila said.“Wentz is a highly competitive left-handed pitcher with a three-pitch mix, who we see as a great addition to our already formidable stable of young arms in the player development system."
Wentz, who is 21 and a first-round pick in 2016, was 5-8 with a 4.72 ERA, and 100 strikeouts in 103 innings, at Double-A Stanton.
Richan, 22 and a second-round pick in 2018, was 10-5 with a 3.97 ERA in High-A. He will likely report to Lakeland.
"Richan is a true competitor on the mound, and knows how to pitch with his arsenal better than most his age," Avila said. "His solid makeup and performance on the field shows us that there’s a good future for him in our organization."
Lange is an interesting case. As Avila pointed out, it's not often you can get a player drafted in the first round two years ago for a rental player which Castellanos will likely will be for the Cubs.
"The only reason we get him in this deal, with today's model, is that he's been struggling."
Lange, 23, was the ace of the LSU rotation, but his velocity has plummeted from the low-90s into the upper-80s. His ERA between Single-A and Double-A this year is 5.82.
"Part of his problem is mechanical," Avila said. "We talked to (LSU coach) Paul Mainieri before the trade and he said, even though he was their Friday night starter and their main guy, they always felt he would be a reliever in the big leagues.
"We watched a lot of video and we see some mechanical issues. We feel we can turn him around."
He will work out of the bullpen at Erie.
The fourth player acquired by the Tigers, another former first-round pick, Travis Demeritte, may come straight to the big leagues. The Rangers took him in the first round in 2013 but he's struggled.
In fact, he was made available in the last two Rule 5 drafts and went unpicked.
"Demeritte has had a long road for sure," Avila said. "He was a first round pick and got a lot of money. But he's doing really well at Triple-A and I am going to have a conversation with Gardy (manager Ron Gardenhire) about the possibility of sending him straight to the big leagues.
"He's been around a little bit and he has some experience. He ready to be tested at the big-league level."
That decision won't be made until Monday. But Demeritte seems to have come into his own. He's got 20 home runs and 28 doubles at Triple-A Gwinnett. He's also struck out 106 times in 339 plate appearances.
Meet the newest Tigers
Acquired from Braves for closer Shane Greene
Position: Left-handed pitcher
Born: Oct. 6, 1997 in Lawrence, Kansas
Drafted: By Atlanta Braves, first round, compensation, 2106, out of Shawnee Mission East HS, Prairie Village, Kansas
2019 stats (Mississippi Braves, Southern League): 5-8 record, 4.72 ERA, 1.311 WHIP, 103 innings, 90 hits, 100 strikeouts, 45 walks
Born: Sept. 30, 1994 in New York
Drafted: By Texas Rangers, first round, No. 30 overall, 2013, out of Winder-Barrow HS, Winder, Georgia
2019 stats (Gwinnett Stripers, International League): .286 BA, .387 OBP, .558 SLG, 20 HR, 74 RBI
Acquired from Cubs for outfielder Nick Castellanos
Position: Right-handed pitcher
Born: March 26, 1997, in Newhall, California
Drafted: By Chicago Cubs, second round, compensation, 2018, out of University of San Diego
2019 stats (Myrtle Beach Pelicans, Carolina League): 10-5 record, 3.97 ERA, 1.226 WHIP, 93 innings, 96 hits, 86 strikeouts, 18 walks
Position: Right-handed pitcher
Born: Oct. 2, 1995 in Riverside, California
Drafted: By Chicago Cubs, first round, No. 30 overall, out of LSU
2019 stats (combined, Tennessee Smokies, Southern League, and Myrtle Beach Pelicans, Carolina League): 3-12 record, 5.82 ERA, 1.604 WHIP, 86.2 innings, 94 hits, 79 strikeouts, 45 walks