If your holiday wish list included a whatever minor league system comprised mostly of right-handed pitching prospects, then strap the eff in and thank Santy Claus for the Detroit Tigers. Speaking of which, what’s the hot gift this year? When I was a youngster I would get pretty jazzed if there was a Starting Lineup figure under the tree. I had all the greats…Randall Cunningham, Reggie White, Mike Schmidt, Von Hayes, and of course Steve “Bedrock” Bedrosian. Naturally, I didn’t know you aren’t supposed to take them out of their original packaging, so they ended up in violent skirmishes with Han Solo, Skeletor, and The Ultimate Warrior. Hey! I wonder if any of these Tigers prospects will end up with their own action figure? Nah!

Grade A

1. Casey Mize, RHP | Age: 21 | ETA: 2020
Sometimes kids have to eat their brussels sprouts. Sometimes writers have to talk about pitching prospects. Sometimes I have to use Google to make sure it’s ‘brussels’ and not ‘brussel’. We live in a magical age of information. Here’s the info I have on Mize. He’s sitting on a double-plus splitter with a plus heater, slider, and control. The Kitties took him 1st overall in the 2018 draft. He’s polished enough to reach the majors by the end of this year. I guess this is the equivalent of brussels sprouts covered in butter, cheese, and hot sauce. The splitter is the hot sauce. All kidding aside…he has legit fantasy ace upside.

2. Christin Stewart, OF | Age: 24 | ETA: 2019
Do you like power? Me too! Do you like it when it comes with a suspicious strikeout rate but a solid walk rate? You know, the old three-outcome jawn? Well here ya go. Christin Stewart. Steamer is actually projecting him for 18 dingers in 420 plate appearances in 2019. That’s some cheap power in redrafts, especially deeper leagues or AL-only formats. If that wasn’t enough to get you going, he’s currently projected to hit second in the lineup as the only pure lefty bat. Holy cow…I think I just talked myself into drafting Christin Stewart with my last pick!

3. Matt Manning, RHP | Age: 20 | ETA: 2020
Manning’s 154 strikeouts in 117 innings this year stood out to me the most. He has three plus pitches, but turning them into punch-outs is what I’m all about. Call me old fashioned, but traditional fantasy leagues seem to be about the the homer and the strikeout. If you’re getting those, you’re doing alright. Manning’s strikeout rate worked out to almost 12 per nine across three minor league levels in 2018. Nummers.


Grade B

4. Daz Cameron, OF | Age: 21 | ETA: 2019
If Cameron had just a little more pop in his bat he’d be a tier above, but right now it’s looking more like an 8-12 homer/15-20 steal profile with an average that won’t make you cry (think .260-.275). He did reach Triple-A in 2018, and that’s where he’ll start the coming season. Injuries to Gerber or Jones might open the door early, but most likely he’s a late 2019 arrival. The approach is the biggest factor to eye this coming year – he hit just .211 in 15 games at Toledo after hitting .285 in 53 games at Erie.

5. Parker Meadows, OF | Age: 19 | ETA: 2022
Parker Meadows sounds more like a place to schedule a tee time than a fantasy prospect, but here we be. Meadows (at this point) actually has more upside in his bat than Cameron, but he’s the riskier/less proven commodity at nineteen years old. The ceiling is the proverbial 20/20 threat from the left side of the plate. Floor…he ends up just like Cameron in three years, which isn’t bad. If my window isn’t open this year, I’m gambling on Meadows over Cameron ten out of ten times.

6. Willi Castro, SS | Age: 21 | ETA: 2019
Castro is a switch-hitting shortstop with below-average power and an above-average hit tool. We seem to get a lot of those at this point in the rankings. He reached Triple-A at 21 and should begin the 2019 season there. He’ll likely need a full year of polish though, so I wouldn’t expect him up before September. I like Castro as a safe depth piece in deeper dynasty leagues. Another name to look at in a similar mold is Isaac Paredes, who has a bit more pop and less speed, but will likely move off of short.

7. Franklin Perez, RHP | Age: 20 | ETA: 2020
Perez has been kind of all over the place with injuries and trades, but he has a plus fastball and curve combo that should yield some strikeouts as a mid-rotation arm. He was part of the return for Verlander (along with Daz Cameron) and traditional lists will probably rank him much higher than this. I’m a little iffy on the injury history and to me the ceiling just isn’t worth the risk.

8. Alex Faedo, RHP | Age: 23 | ETA: 2019
Faedo looks a lot like a mid-rotation starter who could have some redraft value later this summer. The 2018 first-rounder’s slider is his best offering, and the control isn’t terrible (3.3 BB/9) but there’s not a lot of strikeout potential. To find out how I feel about strikeouts scroll up about five inches.

9. Beau Burrows, RHP | Age: 22 | ETA: 2019
You’re all aboard that right-handed pitcher train I alluded to. How does it feel? Kinda wanna hurl, right? Don’t worry, we’re getting off soon. Burrows is Faedo with a touch less control and a touch more strikeout potential. Wait, Mike, you said strikeouts are good, so why isn’t he ranked ahead of Faedo? First of all, sit down and stop waving that pistol. Second, he reads like a bullpen guy to me, and not a high-leverage one.


Grade C

10. Dustin Peterson, OF | Age: 24 | ETA: 2019
Peterson is pretty much an average Joe across the board as far as tools go (12-15 homer power, .260 average). I’m mentioning him here since he’s basically a call away from the bigs and could end up with some deeper redraft value if Stewart pees down his leg in the spring or early summer. He was with the Braves for the last three years before the Tigers claimed him off waivers this past September.


2019 Index

  1. El Famous Burrito says:
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    Let’s say you’re picking outside the first 3 or 4. How many of the top hitters have to go before you’re looking at Mize?

    Fantasy Ace Upside is hard to come by. And yet….pitcher.

    What level hitter is Mize a toss-up against?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      I’m probably misunderstanding your question, but in a straight up prospect draft I probably wouldn’t touch him in the top 15-20, and you could make a case for taking guys like Whitley or Honeywell over him.

      • El Famous Burrito says:
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        @Mike: Nah man, it’s definiteyl my failure to communicate. Posting at 4:30am it made sense in my head, but it is very confusing 5 hours and a lot of coffee later.

        To clarify, what hitter in a 1st-year draft would you say is about “equal value” to Mize?

        In my imaginary scenario, I’m picking around 7 or later, I guess. If the first 6 pan out like you expected, is Mize an option, or are there a lot more hitters you take over him?

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          ah ok, so it’s a first year player draft. Yeah I’d take Mize around seven if he’s there.

  2. Ante Galic says:
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    Mike!

    Fantastic spec report! Enjoyed thoroughly!

    a. Some not-so-bad specs. So my list for redraft 2019 is…

    1. VGJ
    2. Eloy
    3. Robles
    4. ???

    b. Some of these specs are going to be organizational depth for life. Sorry to say but filling the stands in Toledo is actually of interest to the club so, there’s that.

    c. Little-known factoid about Chad for November 28

    The crane is an indigenous bird in Chad, unfortch like many animals in Chad, facing extinction. We left our compound in Farchana (spelled Forchana in google, for God knows why) with a military escort on May 23 arriving the same day in the border town of Adre. There is a water way (called a ouadi in Arabic, but most likely an Arabic bastardization of water way.) that separates the two countries – Chad and Sudan (Darfur) – in Adre. Anyway, we spent 3 nights in a terrible place for 10$ per night. Relatively cheap given that our per diem was 62$ but there is and was nothing you could spend the money on except for service from the oldest profession which I was not interested in given Chad’s excellent public health record and the fact that I am and always will be faithful to my wife, our marriage and our children. 1-2-3…..aw!

    The entire town of Adre is without running water and electricity. Those are tough conditions in which to operate a hospital, but stranger things have happened elsewhere right? So, no electricity, no AC, unbearable heat just before the start of the rainy season in Chad and I had to sleep on a really awful bed, plastic pillow with a plastic sponge bob pillow case. First night, in the hot room with my room mate who snored. Result, no sleep. Second night, I took the bed out of the room but only onto the front porch and still under the hot roof. Result, no snoring but same heat equals no sleep. Third night, I took the bed out into the courtyard, no mosquito net to hell with it I needed a night of sleep. Result, I slept like a log. However, around 5h30 AM I was awakened by the scariest sound known to mankind! It came from the black-crowned crane (Gruidae) which lived in the court yard with the rest of us! Really shrill sound and I guess they used it to ward off predators, ’cause it scared the sh*t out of me for sure.

    A cool joke that I told the Mayor of Adre which got a chuckle out him which I count as one my successes from my stay in Chad ensues.

    1. On May 1, I arrived in N’Djamena and I say to myself: ‘Woe was me, I’ve come to the end of the world.’

    2. On May 6, I arrived in Farchana (located about 30 miles due west of the border with Darfur) and I say to myself: ‘Woe was me, I’ve come to the end of the world in Chad.’

    3. On May 23, I arrive in Adre (THE border with Darfur) and I say to myself: ‘Woe was me, I’ve REALLY come to the end of the world in Chad.’

    4. On May 25, I arrive in the village of Koufroun (honestly, 100 feet from the border. I actually crossed over and no one knew or said anything.) and I say to myself: ‘Woe was me, I am the lowest of the low in this world. Look at this poor village chief of 5000 souls. He could have fled to Sudan and claim refugee status in the hopes of getting to Hollywood like other would-be refugees but he chose to remain in Chad where services are 0. There is a school, but the Head Mistress refuses to travel the 10 miles from Adre so the 500 children go to Sudan for their education. No pharmacy or clinic so again everyone goes to Sudan for their health problems. And me, worthless me, I am complaining about being here for a couple of days. Yes, woe was me.’

    Cheers,
    Ante

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      a. Tucker?
      b. indeed
      c. Now I know what to buy my enemies for Christmas…tickets for a vacation in Chad.

      • Ante Galic says:
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        @Mike: Mike!

        Thanks.

        a. Definitely good investment for your enemies. Honestly, one French guy went rogue looking for gold without his military escort into the wild. Of course the locals caught him and then smuggled him into Darfur where he was sold to the highest bidder. A quick funny (not so funny) about Darfur.

        A colleague (I worked with him previously and know his name and surname) from Nepal was kidnapped just outside his compound in Darfur with 2 locals (a driver and a Finance clerk). The kidnappers called up Nepal for the ransom, this is an excerpt of that phone call.

        Nepal: ‘Hello’

        Kidnappers: ‘Hello, we have kidnapped your citizen. We are demanding a ransom. What do you say to that?’

        Nepal: ‘Well, top caste ransom for our citizens is 50$. We cannot give any more otherwise we would go bankrupt.’

        Kidnappers: ‘Ah, ok!’ Let him go, guys!

        I swear, he was kidnapped for like 2 months and they let him go without anything paid or ransom asked for. Kind of bizarre, right? Like if you kidnap something either you kill it or you get paid but you don’t just leave what you took for ransom? Anyway, there’s probably a bit more to the story.

        b. 4 Tucker

        Cheers,
        Ante

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          I feel like there must be movies based on Chad. Do you know of any?

          • Ante Galic says:
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            @Mike: Mike!

            The closest is this….https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0912580/

            The Clooney movie about the Darfuri crisis and why all the refugees fled in 2003 westward to Chad. The presence of the refugees only exacerbates further the problems in Eastern Sudan.

            Cheers,
            Ante

            • Mike

              Mike says:
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              right on…thanks!

            • Ante Galic says:
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              @Ante Galic: Mike!

              Oops! Meant to say Eastern Chad. But Chad=Sudan almost in terms of sh*tholes.

              Cheers,
              Ante

  3. Grunt Glowaski says:
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    Where does Wenceel Perez fall on the Tigers list? Just missed? No where close?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Just missed! I have an affinity for shortstops.

  4. hungryg says:
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    Any love for Isaac Paredes?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Yup…mentioned in the Castro blurb (#6)

  5. Yasar Arafat says:
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    Christin Stewart comp? Whats his value in points leagues?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Comp him to any 3-outcome player really (Walk/Homer/Strikeout). I would think he has more value in points leagues than roto if you’re getting points for walks and not getting punished for Ks (his Ks could be ugly early on). Remember Jon Singleton? Kinda reminds me of him.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      I enjoy that the dead leader of the PLO is interested in Tigers’ prospects

  6. Bitter Beerface says:
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    Tigers fan here, I appreciate the writeup, Mike! Times are tough in Motown…

    It feels like the luster has faded from the crown jewel in the Verlander return, Franklin Perez. Most ‘perts post-trade stated the return was almost entirely dependent on Perez’ success at the big league level. If Cameron pans out, I guess we’ll take it but Perez has high expectations especially with JV’s stellar contributions to the Stros. Color me disappointed to see him so low on your list.

    What are your thoughts on Roger’s boy, Koby Clemens? Good pedigree for the most part, if he gets popped for PEDs, the entire Clemens clan should be banned for life!!! Otherwise, hopes are high…

    And my favorite name in the farm, BROCK DEATHERAGE! Soon to be an all-caps blurb subject in Grey’s daily recaps I hope! 10th round pick, he came out blazing. Is he a flash in the pan? Should we keep BROCK DEATHERAGE! on our radars?

    Cheers

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Thanks man. Yeah, I think Daz will end up being the jewel there. Perez just isn’t worth it for me in fantasy. He’ll be high on traditional lists though.

      Clemens is good. Makeup and offense-first profile that’s solid in fantasy. I’m not sure the power is real but I could be totally off.

      Honestly, I did not know BROCK DEATHERAGE existed, but now he is on my radar if only for the fact that I’m afraid he might hurt me.

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