Tigers well represented among MLB Pipeline's top pitching prospects

The Detroit News

This season figures to be another waiting game for the rebuilding Detroit Tigers.

Their teardown complete, the Tigers are now waiting (and hoping) for a young crop of players in the minors to blossom into Comerica Park cornerstones.

Tigers prospect Tarik Skubal is the fourth-ranked left-handed pitcher in the minors, according to MLB Pipleline.

That crop is led by a cast of pitchers who, judging from early prospect rankings, appear to be on the right track.

MLB Pipeline has started to release its list of top prospects at each position, unveiling its rankings for the game's top right-handed and left-handed pitching prospects earlier this week.

The Tigers are well represented.

Casey Mize leads the list of top 10 right-handed pitching prospects, while another Tigers prospect, Matt Manning, checks in at No. 7. Tarik Skubal, meanwhile, is MLB Pipeline's fourth-ranked lefty.

The Tigers are the only team with multiple pitchers in the top 10 for right-handers, led by Mize, the No. 1 overall pick from 2018.

"Few pitchers can match Mize's combination of stuff and command," Jim Callis of MLB.com writes, "which is why the Tigers made him the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 Draft. The only real question with him is health, as he was shut down at times in two of the last three seasons."

In breaking down the top tools in the group, Callis says Mize owns the best "other pitch," a split-fingers fastball he writes is "one of the most devastating pitches in baseball."

" ... Some scouts say they've never seen a pitcher command a splitter better than Mize does," Callis writes.

Mize also is one of three tabbed with owning the best control, while Manning is one of two tabbed with the best curveball in the group. Mize and Manning both could make their Tigers debut this season.

Skubal, meanwhile, is considered the "highest riser" in the group of left-handers, shooting up prospect rankings after the Tigers drafted him in the ninth round in 2018.

"He’d always been known as having good stuff; it’s just that few got to see it," MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo writes. "Tommy John surgery cost him nearly all of his first two collegiate seasons and he was inconsistent as a junior. The Tigers took a chance by taking him in the ninth round of the 2018 Draft and going above pick value to sign him. Looks like they nailed it."

Skubal reached Double-A Erie last season, going 2-3 with a 2.13 ERA in nine starts, after 15 games in High-A Lakeland. With 179 strikeouts in 122.1 innings pitched over wo levels, MLB Pipeline projects a 2021 major-league debut for Skubal.