It’s for system writeups such as these that I save the high end scotch and vials of liquid acid. It’s not only because the Tigers farm system is so barren, but because I can see my future as a Red Sox fan flash before my eyes. Here’s to hoping Mr. Dombrowski, not scorching the earth of the Sawx farm the way he did the Tigers. With Detroit in full sell-mode, this could be one of the more “updated” system previews of the offseason. As for the current state of the farm, it’s comprised of a handful of recently drafted talents, some overhyped depth players, and a whole lot of specs that don’t deserve my brilliant prose. Okay, okay so maybe I’m being a bit hyperbolic on a few fronts, but all in all it’s an awful system. One of the bottom five I’ll cover, and quite possibly the worst one yet. It’s not that I hate Detroit Tigers Prospects, as much as I have little use for many of them. With that said there are two blokes in particular that I hold in high esteem. Who are they? Read on! It’s the Top Detroit Tigers Prospects.
Tier 1: Specs On The Beach
Potential stars. Consensus T100 prospects with premium fantasy ceilings.
Christin Stewart, OF | Age: 22 | ETA: 2018 | 2016 Level: AA/ A+
One of my favorite hitters in the minors, Stewart enters 2017 looking to build off a breakout 2016. For the first four months of the season Stewart paced the Florida State League, slashing .262/.400/.529 with 24 jacks. A 2015 first round pick following a good college career at Tennessee. Stewart’s plus power and elite on base skills make him a top 50 fantasy prospect, while on real life lists his poor defense make him less attractive. Stewart’s a true bat-only type prospect, that could end up at DH. So be prepared to sweat the utility tag. The bats good enough you’ll tolerate it though.
Matt Manning, RHP | Age: 19 | ETA: 2020 | 2016 Level: RK
This is the part of his blurb where I remind everyone he was no-name NBA player Richie Manning’s son. NBA scrub-lines aside the 6’6 righty is one of the top pitching prospects of the 2016 draft. With an elite plus plus fastball, he mixes it with a plus curve, and developing change. He has already shown the ability to miss bats, however his control needs improvement. Luckily at 19 he has plenty of time to mold his raw stuff. A top 5 pitching prospect in first year player drafts. Not sure if he’ll see full season ball in 2017, Manning’s more likely to see his first action in the short season New York-Penn League affiliate in Connecticut.
Tier 2: Floorboreds
Lacking the “star” upside. They might have some warts, but their ETAs are on the horizon.
Steven Moya, OF | Age: 25 | ETA: 2017 | 2016 Level: MLB/AAA
A prospect that’s seemingly been around forever, Moya will finally surpass his limits this season. I will throw a small party where I eat cold pepperoni and cracker barrel cheddar on town crackers. Moya has the most power in the entire Tigers system. After struggling with strikeouts in his Major League audition last season, Moya must refine his approach to become a useful fantasy player. His power plays, and as long as he can hit .240 in the majors he’ll have a job.
JaCoby Jones, OF/3B | Age: 24 | ETA: 2017 | 2016 Level: MLB/AAA/AA
Jones will be bandied about a lot this offseason as an off the radar rookie with job prospects. He brings a whiff heavy profile with some pop and speed. Neither tool is strong enough to make him anything more than usable in spurts. His long swing, poor eye, and lack of plate discipline mean he’s going to hover above 25%+ with the K rate. Had a good fall in the AFL as the Tigers got him some reps in centerfield. I’d take his .329/.391/.427 slashline with a grain of salt, as he was one of the older players in the league, and one of the few with MLB experience. Should be in the mix for 300+ plate appearances with Detroit.
Tyler Alexander, RHP | Age: 22 | ETA: 2018 | 2016 Level: AA/A+
A future back end of the rotation starter that relies on advanced control and command. Alexander’s control is so pinpoint he’s only walked 24 batters in 168.2 career innings. He throws a low 90’s fastball he can ramp up to 94, an average breaking pitch in his slider that he enhances with his advanced command, and he rounds out his arsenal with an average change. Will start the season at AA Erie, with an opportunity to see some run at the back end of the Tigers rotation later in the season.
Adam Ravenelle, RHP | Age: 24 | ETA: 2018 | 2016 Level: AA/A+
A former Massachusetts High School prep star originally drafted by the Yanks, that spurned the Bombers for Vanderbilt like any good New Englander would. Ravenelle can ramp the heater up to 101, but mostly operates in the mid to high 90’s. He also throws a low 90’s slider with alright break. He’s a bullpen arm so not all that exciting for fantasy, but that’s the Tigers system in a nutshell, not exciting for fantasy.
Joe Jimenez, RHP | Age: 21 | ETA: 2017 | 2016 Level: AAA/AA/A+
Wait this preview has multiple relief prospects? Yes, the Tigers system is barren, downtrodden, and decimated much like Detroit itself. Jimenez is considered one of the elite bullpen prospects in the game through there have been questions as to just how legit his minor league numbers are. If he can prove his haters wrong he’ll have a shot to play a pivotal role at the backend of the Tigers pen. He mixes an electric curve with a plus slider for a classic power pen two pitch mix. Wouldn’t shock me if he emerges as the Tigers closer by late summer 2017.
Mike Gerber, OF | Age: 24 | ETA: 2018 | 2016 Level: AA/A+
An older college bat that does a little of everything well, but has no standout tool. Gerber is the type to slot in as a 4th outfielder or a second division regular for a mediocre to bad club. Has a solid line drive swing, through he’s honed his approach to hit for more power over the last year. Not an option for anything outside 24-30 team dynasty leagues where 400-500 prospects are owned.
Tier 3: Long Shot Lolitas
Sexy ceilings, but these youngsters also come with risks and distant ETAs
Beau Burrows, RHP | Age: 20 | ETA: 2019 | 2016 Level: A-
A 2015 first round pick out of the same high school that produced Zach Britton. In terms of results he’s not that different from the aforementioned Tyler Alexander only with better stuff. He throws a mid 90’s fastball he can ramp up to 98 with two breaking balls in a curve and slider, he’s developing a change as well. Future upside is that of a number three starter.
Kyle Funkhouser, RHP | Age: 22 | ETA: 2019 | 2016 Level: Rk
Funkhouser besides having a great name for a German dance band also possesses front of the rotation upside. After scorning the advances of the Dodgers who took him with the 35th overall pick in the 2015 draft he returned to Louisville, where he had a dud of season and dropped to the Tigers in the 4th. In limited innings in his pro debut FunkHouser looked outstanding in his pro debut, averaging 8.2 K/9 to a 1.93 Bb/9 in 37.1 innings in the New York-Penn League. His fastball ramps up to 97 and grades plus, he mixes that with an average mid-80’s slider, and a fringe change that plays up due to the separation on velocity from his heater. Not a bad risk/reward play in first year player drafts.
Jose Azocar, SS | Age: 20 | ETA: 2019 | 2016 Level: A
Glove first middle infield prospect with solid hit tool and above average speed. Azocar is as fringe as they come for dynasty leagues. Only someone I’d consider in a deep deep league, 400-500 prospects owned.
Derek Hill, OF | Age: 20 | ETA: 2019 | 2016 Level: A-
It’s almost done now, the pain of writing up the Tigers system culminates in Hill’s boring overhyped profile. A speedster with 70 grade speed and very good outfield defense, Hill is a much better real life prospect. A player with smarts and advanced feel for the game, Hill’s going to go as far as his legs take him. I know an earth shattering statement. If he continues to advance has the ability to be a true SAGNOF king with little else.
Others: Zac Shepherd, Wenceel Perez, Jimmy Mojica, Ernesto Adames, Jhon Sandoval
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