The Tigers are selling a whole lot of hope, these days. That's a dangerous proposition, of course, given not every prospect is going to pan out. They never do. Still, it hasn't stopped the Tigers from publicizing every nugget, big or small, from down on the farm.
"There's a lot of interest in our minor-league system by our fans," Al Avila, Tigers general manager, said last month. "And that's a good thing.
"We have a fan base following this whole process. I think they're excited about it."
Of course, it "helps" that the Tigers are so bad at the major-league level, flirting at baseball's record for futility.
And on Tuesday, MLB Pipeline, in its first set of rankings post-draft and trade deadline, listed the Tigers as having the No. 6 farm system in all of baseball. That's up from a ranking of 10th before the season, and up big-time from recent years.
MLB.com's Jim Callis writes about the Tigers:
The Tigers system hasn't been this strong since Kirk Gibson, Jack Morris, Lance Parrish, Alan Trammell, Lou Whitaker and Co. were coming through in the late 1970s. Detroit's last four first-rounders (Casey Mize, Matt Manning, Riley Greene, right-hander Alex Faedo) look extremely promising, and the Justin Verlander trade with Houston two years ago could yield three key pieces in right-hander Franklin Perez, catcher Jake Rogers and outfielder Daz Cameron.
That's some mighty high praise.
Of course, the farm system of Gibson, Morris, Parrish, Trammell and Whitaker of the 1970s led to a World Series championship in 1984. So, yeah, there's that.
The only organizations Callis has listed ahead of the Tigers are the Padres, Rays, Dodgers, Marlins and Diamondbacks.
Individually, Callis has three Tigers' prospects in his top 100, with Mize, the No. 1 overall pick in 2018, ranked No. 2, Manning ranked No. 29, and Greene, the Tigers' first-round pick from this June's draft, ranked No. 49.