The Detroit Tigers were sellers at the 2017 trade deadline. They moved the expiring contracts of Alex Avila and J.D. Martinez, and a valuable piece in Justin Wilson. In return the organization received 5 young prospects. But, how do they compare to some of the rest of the Tigers’ prospects? Here are my top-10 prospects in the Detroit Tigers farm system.
- Matt Manning
Manning tops the board of Detroit prospects. This kid is going to be a successful pitcher in the major leagues. He currently ranks at #70 in MLB’s top 100 prospects, and he is just 19 years old.
This is in part to his 6’6″ build and his over powering fastball in the 95-98 mph range. He also has an impressive power curve that catches a lot of batters whiffing. He also has a developing change up that will prove to be a solid third pitch by the time he hits the majors.
The former first round pick is pitching well for the Class-A (Short Season) Connecticut Tigers, and fans should expect him in the majors between the 2019 and 2020 seasons. Expect him to be a top of the rotation pitcher for years to come.
2. Jeimer Candelario
Candelario has the potential to be an All-star 3B/1B. He is also the most MLB-ready prospect the Detroit Tigers have in their organization. The Tigers recently acquired his talents from the Chicago Cubs in the Justin Wilson/Alex Avila trade.
Candelario is a talented switch hitter with power on both sides of the plate. He has a patient approach to the plate helping his average and in drawing walks. The 23 year old is projected to be a .270+ hitter with 20+ homers perennially. Currently his power is seen through his excessive amount of doubles. But, he has potential for some serious home run power as it develops.
He is also an average defensive player. Candelario makes up for his lack of speed and reaction time with his impressive arm strength and hand work.
The young hitter struggled in a short stint he had in Chicago earlier this year. He struck out 12 times in 11 games, and hit just .152 in that time frame. This is of note, but shouldn’t worry Tigers’ fans too much as he is still young and developing as a big league hitter.
His numbers are MLB ready, but he positions are covered by Nicholas Castellanos and Miguel Cabrera. An easy solution would be moving Castellanos to left or right field and getting Candelario some experience in the major leagues before the start of next season.
3. Alex Faedo
Coming in at #3 is the Tigers 2017 draft pick Alex Faedo. The Detroit Tigers got a steal when they drafted him 18th in this years’ draft. He was seen as a top pick after his sophomore season, until arthroscopic knee surgery had him fall to the Tigers.
Faedo throws an average fastball that currently tops out at 95 mph, some label it as more of a sinker with its downward movement. However, his best pitch is his slider. It has a great movement and is his best swing and miss pitch. He also has a quality change-up that will be MLB ready when he gets there.
However, his most special quality is that he is a winner. Faedo led the Florida Gators‘ pitching staff to the College Baseball World Series. He showed a clutch gene in the College Baseball playoffs in general. Against TCU, he struck out 11 over 7 and 1/3 scoreless innings. He was also name the MVP of the college baseball playoffs. Tigers fans should eagerly be waiting his arrival.
4. Beau Burrows
The Tigers will have a solid starting rotation by 2020 if they keep all the guys on the list thus far. Along with Manning and Faedo, Burrows has the potential to be a front line starter.
Burrows has a relatively large build at 6’2″, 200 lbs. His fastball typically hits the low-90’s, but it seems he sacrifices some speed for command as he hit 95+ in the All-Star Futures Game. He also has a solid curveball and is developing a slider and change up as well. He has also been getting a lot more swing and misses this season in AA-Erie. Just last week he struck out an impressive 10 batters in just 5 innings of work.
The Tigers can expect his services ahead of Faedo and Manning, but he could find himself as the 4th starter in the rotation in 2020 behind Fulmer, Manning, and Faedo.
5. Kyle Funkhouser
The 23 year old pitcher was drafted by the Tigers in the fourth round in the 2016 draft, and the Tigers may have gotten a steal. Funkhouser was actually selected 35th overall in 2015, but decided to return to school for his senior year. He struggled that year and fell to the Tigers a year later.
Funkhouser pitched extremely well this year starting with the Whitecaps (Class A Full) and was moved up to the Lakeland Flying Tigers (Class A Advanced). He seems to improve as he moves up the system. In fact, his ERA is currently at 1.72 through 5 games with Lakeland. This causes some to believe he will be ready for the major leagues as early as next season.
Funkhouser commands all of his pitches extremely well. On top of that, he has a solid fastball that sits around 95 mph. He also has three quality secondary pitches which is definitely a huge plus. He throws an above average slider, and a good changeup and curveball as well. His variety of pitches will create problems for pitchers for years to come. Lets just say the Tigers will potentially have a very good rotation in a few years.
6. Christin Stewart
The second best position player in the Tigers system is Christin Stewart. This kid has a lot of pop in his bat. He hit 30 homers in his second full minor league season, and he is already at 22 this season. Stewart’s power makes him a desirable hitter at the major league level.
The problem is that Stewart struggles in a lot of other areas that are crucial to be a major leaguer. He is an average hitter for contact where he currently sits at a career .264 in the minor leagues. His arm strength is sub-par for an outfielder and he is definitely not known for his quickness.
The organization has hope that Stewart will develop in those fields to be an all-around starter in the outfield within the next two seasons. He currently is sitting in AA-ErieSeawolves, but will move up to AAA-Toledo by the start of next season. Expect him to be a middle of the order slugger bringing in runs for the Tigers in the near future.
7. Isaac Paredes
Paredes was the other piece that came from the Justin Wilson/Alex Avila trade. Some said that he was the more valuable prospect in the deal. Paredes is only 18 years old and he signed with the Cubs just over two years ago.
He currently is listed as an infielder, but his lack of speed makes him destined to be a third baseman. He has an above average arm and has ok hands which puts him permanently at the hot corner in the future.
Paredes makes up for his fielding with his bat. He has considerable power for an 18 year old prospect. Therefore, he could rise up the minor league system fairly quickly. Last season he hit .305 with a homer in 47 games in the Arizona Rookie League. He has spent this whole season in single A in both the Cubs and Tigers systems. In 95 games at this level he is .271 with 7 homers and 51 RBI’s. Along with that, Paredes has hit 25 doubles this season, which again translates to the strength of his bat.
With both Castellanos and Candelario on the Tigers roster, Paredes may struggle to find a roster spot even if it takes him a few years to get to the majors. In fact, expect the Tigers to try to attempt to move him into the outfield. If not, he maybe a DH to start his career. His ETA for the majors is 2020, but expect him to rise up the system pretty quickly.
8. Jairo Labourt
Jairo Labourt is another guy the Tigers picked up via trade. He joined the club after the Tigers shipped David Price to the Toronto Blue Jays in 2015. His addition was huge to a team with no bullpen at the time, and this kid looks to be a future setup man or closer in the big leagues.
Labourt has been really good in his 2017 campaign. The southpaw started the year in Lakeland (Class A Advanced) and has worked his way up to Toledo (AAA). His numbers this year are very impressive with a 2.01 ERA in 53 IP and 70 Ks.
The problem with Labourt is that he doesn’t have great command on his pitches. In fact, his WHIP is 1.39 which is not the greatest for a relief pitcher. The good news is when he is throwing strikes, he is very tough to hit. He throws a very impressive sinker that hits up to 96 mph. He also has a really good slider that has a lot of batters swing and missing. Hitters have just a .187 batting average against him across the three levels this season. Fans should be expecting Labourt either late this season or early next season.
9. Dawel Lugo
The Tigers are absolutely stacked at 3rd base as Lugo is their third in their top 10 prospects. Lugo, like most other position players on this list, is best known for his bat. In 103 games in Double A this season he has hit .274/.322/.420. On the bright side, he has brought in 50+, and he has 9 homers. He also doesn’t strikeout very often which is a very good thing.
Lugo has received some praise for his arm too. He has been able to make plays on the run, and whip the ball from range at a variety of different angles. His defensive footwork isn’t great, but he could end up being a solid utility infielder for the Tigers in a year or two. I don’t know if he will ever be an everyday starter, but he reminds me a young Jhonny Peralta.
10. Michael Gerber
Gerber is the oldest player on this list which is why he fell to the 10th spot. Currently, the 25 year old is having an impressive season in AA-Erie. Gerber has surprised his entire career. Yet, was drafted in the 15th round in the 2014 draft.
Gerber is another outfielder who could be MLB ready by next season. He is currently hitting .292 with 7 homers and 30 RBI’s. The outfielder is a solid all around prospect with a good bat and is good defensively. He hits more for average than for power, but overall his bat is up to par.
Some expect Gerber to be an everyday starter, but at the very least he will be a younger form of Alex Presley. Like Stewart, he is on pace to be in the majors by 2018.