I think public perception sees this system as strong–a club on the rise–and it is, especially at the top, but if you squint at this snapshot, gaze into its depths like a magic-eye poster, it morphs into a donut. It’s tasty, so you don’t think much about the big hole in the middle. By which I mean there appears to be a half-decade gap between it’s top group and the next little wave of potential impact. No need to linger on that today though. This team has the best one-two punch of top prospects in baseball, so it’s all rainbows, Rileys, and Tork-talk in Tiger-land, and it should be. We’re a bit starved for positrons on the planet today, and there’s plenty of talent here to discuss, so let’s get started.

 

Format: Position Player | Age on 4/1/2022 | Highest level played | ETA

1. OF Riley Greene | 21 | AAA | 2022

I don’t really care about the sequencing of these top two. If you prefer a well-rounded type with defensive upside who looks relatively shift-proof, you’ll probably want Greene over Torkelson, who remains the preferred option if your primary motivator is power. Because I play the way I do and tend to accrue balanced assets with speed, Tork would probably be the better fit on all my teams. Anywho, Greene is a smooth 6’3” 200 lb left handed hitter who looks like he was born to play baseball, something made ever more apparent as he climbs the ladder. As a 20-year-old in AAA, Greene slashed .308/.400/.553 with 8 HR and 4 SB in 40 games. That’s superstar stuff if mapping futures by age-to-level math. Here’s a link to Grey’s thoughts in Riley Greene, 2022 Fantasy Outlook.

 

2. 3B Spencer Torkelson | 22 | AAA | 2022

Tork is a demolitions expert at 6’1” 220 lbs with explosive rotation through the zone that costs him little if any barrel control because he’s so strong through his core. He’s especially adept at letting the ball travel and tracking it deep into the zone then dropping the hammer on pitches he can drive to the right side. He’s so good at lifting the ball that his grounders tend to be miss-hits that make for some easy (shift-able) outs, but that’s the only issue so far, and it’s a non-issue in real time. Chances are he’ll hit for power early and add average and OBP throughout his first few seasons. Click here to see Grey glimpsing the future in Spencer Torkelson, 2022 Fantasy Outlook.

 

3. SS Ryan Kreidler | 24 | AAA | 2022

The thing about Kreidler, aside from the swing change discussed here with David Laurila of Fangraphsis that he’s the last train to Clarksville for a long time in Detroit. Sure, he might be blocked at the spots that seem to fit him best (short and third), but the next potential everyday player on the list is a teenager in the DSL. Even if he struggles, the Tigers will find opportunities for the 6’4” 208 lb right handed hitter with blossoming pop. In 129 games across two levels last year, Kreidler slashed .270/.349/.454 with 22 HR and 15 SB, but he got better throughout the year, slashing .304/.407/.519 with 7 HR and 5 SB in 41 games at AAA, where his 14.8%/24.1% BB/K rate hints as plate skills that should help him adjust at the big league level. 

 

4. RHP Jackson Jobe | 19 | NA | 2025

A 6’2” 190 lb prep powerhouse (9-0 with a 0.13 ERA and 122/5 K/BB rate in 51.2 innings as a senior), Jobe was considered by many to be the best high school pitcher in a long time. His slider is already a double-plus pitch, featuring spin rates in the rarified 3,000 RPM range. He’s a great athlete with plus balance on the mound who repeats his delivery well–a foundation built from the ground up that helps his pitches tunnel: a mid-90’s heater with ride, a high-70’s curveball that looks average already, and a changeup that he hasn’t had to use much but gets generous grades from scouts who’ve seen it. The Tigers shook up the draft a bit by passing on Marcelo Mayer, Jordan Lawler and Khalil Watson, among others, but their scouting and development team reportedly fell in love with Jobe and trusted their process,which helped net them a falling first-round-talent in Ty Madden at 32nd overall.

 

5. SS Cristian Santana | 18 | DSL | 2025

Signed for a club-record $2.95 million bonus in January this year, Santana spent his season in the Dominican Summer League and looked ready for the next challenge, slashing .269/.421/.520 with 9 HR and 12 SB in 54 games. He’s listed at 6’0” 165 lbs and should play shortstop the whole way up the chain with a solid chance to stick there as a big leaguer. As I’ve said in some other rundowns, this international class–and the one before it–feel like fertile ground for dynasty investments. Every one of them could ride an early season hot streak up the May escalator.

 

6. RHP Ty Madden | 22 | NCAA | 2024

Will be interesting to see what Detroit does with Madden, who added muscle, found new velocity and refined his approach throughout his college career, particularly during his final season with Texas that saw him throw 113.2 innings with 137 strikeouts and a 2.45 ERA. Here’s a link to prospect Hobbs giving us the goods (and video links) on Madden way back in March, when he was harnessing the added muscle and throwing 97 and hunting strikeouts atop the zone, something he’d previously left mostly to his off-speed spinning down or off the plate. If this in-season development holds, Madden has a case for the third spot on this list.

 

7. C Dillon Dingler | 23 | AA | 2023

Had some fun Chris Farley thoughts while writing this blurb. “Quit playin with your Dingey!” Good times. Man, do we lose some talented humans young. Anywho, this talented young human stands (squats, mostly) 6’3”, weighs 210 pounds, and plays baseball right handed.

The grind of this 30-team quest is getting to me, dear readers. 227 player profiles once I’m done with Dillon’s. I’m sorry this is happening in your boy’s paragraph, family Dingler. 

Existential check-in acknowledged and temporarily in the rear view mirror, we press on. Dingler ripped 12 dongs in 85 games across three levels in 2021 but struggled in AA, slashing .202/.264/.314 in 50 games. He played well enough in High-A to warrant continued optimism, but he could be on a long, slow road to fringe fantasy relevance. 

 

8. 3B Colt Keith | 20 | A+ | 2024

A two-way high school player with a shot to go either direction as a pro, Keith is a strong left-side defender who’s arm will play in an outfield corner and give him some options on his climb. The 2020 5th round pick was stunningly effective in A ball, posting a .436 OBP and .320 batting average. He hit just one home run in 44 games, which speaks to his smooth line-drive swing from the left side, where he can let the ball travel and slash it to the opposite field with ease. At 6’3” 211 lbs, Keith will likely add power simply from learning the nuances of leverage and taking a few more risks in firing his base early and trusting his hands to adjust late. I wouldn’t want to mess with him though. As long as he’s getting on base almost half the time, whatever he’s doing is fine for now.

 

9. OF Roberto Campos | 18 | CPX | 2025

Campos signed for $2.85 million in July 2019, the biggest bones Detroit had given an international amateur at the time. Listed at 6’3” 200 lbs, Campos generates plus power and good foot-speed and flexed both in the Florida Complex League, where he slashed .228/.316/.441 with 8 HR and 3 SB in 39 games. He’s a long way off with a little too much swing-and-miss in his game to get crazy excited just yet, but he’s an interesting guy to track and fits in the same bucket as Santana in that 2022 will be the first real chance he has to move the dynasty-stock needle.

 

10. 3B Izaac Pacheco | 19 | CPX | 2025

I’m going all upside with this last spot. Nobody else really demands the shine, so Pachedo’s plus power from the left side and big signing bonus ($2.75 million) take it down. He and Madden represent the draft-budget windfall generated from the club sticking with Jobe at No. 3 overall in the 2021 draft. It’s a fun game to play, I guess, passing on better talents early to draft better talents late, but it’s another window into what’s not ideal about baseball, so let’s move right on past that for now. Only good news today, and the good news is Pacheco has a lot more power than he showed in 30 games in the Florida Complex League, where he hit just one home run and slugged .330, which might be enough to discourage the club from sending him to Low-A to begin the 2022 season, though I doubt that. The current regime in Detroit tends to push early and often. As soon as a guy shows he’s up to the task, or about 20 percent better than league average for a month or so, he tends to move up, which means the stats throughout this system are generally not great, but the team has its vision and sticks to it, and the sink-or-swim method has certainly helped Riley Greene, who might’ve spent 2021 in High-A in some systems.

Thanks for reading!

I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter.

26 Comments
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Jimmy
Jimmy
7 months ago

Thanks Itch! Great stuff as usual! Out of these 3 Jose Barreo, Jeremy Peña and Oswaldo Peraza… I can only keep 2, who has the most impact next year!

Shiv Roy
Shiv Roy
7 months ago

What do you think of Matt Manning after his pretty bad year?

Do you like guys that came out of nowhere like Bailey Ober or Tylor Megill more than Manning for the future?

Grey
Admin
Reply to  The Itch
7 months ago

Shiv! Haha

Major Bag Alert!
Major Bag Alert!
Reply to  Shiv Roy
7 months ago

I mean outside of 2 really bad starts at the MLB level Manning looked pretty good. Especially in like 3 out his last 4 starts….one vs a loaded White Sox lineup that he shutdown completely. Dude lost 15-20 lbs because of COVID in spring training and you could tell he looked alot thinner this year….started to get his weight back towards the end of the season. So his fb went backup a tick. Im confident with him being in top weight form and an off-season more with the excellent slider Chris Fetter taught him at the mlb level on the fly………Manning will be just fine. Not worried at all.

Grey
Admin
7 months ago

Riley Greene with a 2023 ETA now?

Grey
Admin
Reply to  The Itch
7 months ago

Ah, No problem, I was worried for a sec!

Ante GALIC
Ante GALIC
Reply to  Grey
7 months ago

Grey!!!!

Fancy meeting you here, sailor! What’s new?

See you tomorrow!

Cheers,
Ante

Grey
Admin
Reply to  Ante GALIC
7 months ago

Haha, see ya tomorrow!

Philip
Philip
7 months ago

Can I piggy-back on Jolt’s question about speed? I’ve painted myself into a corner of sorts by trading my speed while rebuilding. Speed is devalued a bit cause it’s 6×6. 20 team dynasty.

I’m holding Seager, Correa, F. Reyes, Walsh, Vaughn, Kirilloff, Verdugo, LeMahieu, Soto, Devers. I have Brujan, Miranda, Leon, Moreno, Melendez, and Volpe.

Who would you be looking to move?

Thanks, Itch!

Philip
Philip
Reply to  The Itch
7 months ago

This is an awesome response! Thank you for taking the time to write all of that!

kcc26
kcc26
7 months ago

man i’m mulling a points-league trade for tork where I give up Bryan Reynolds (other pieces involved), but i’m really waffling here. i know the long term upside is much greater, but i’m a dark horse to compete for the top this year.

I see a Torkelson trade as a deal where maybe I take a small step back with my 2022 roster in order to increase my ceiling for 2023 and beyond.

2 questions:

1) Reynolds is a stud in this format but still only about a $25 dollar player that I own at $9 right now. Will i super regret giving him up or was 2021 his peak?
2) how much 3b do you think tork sees this year and beyond?

thanks!!

kcc26
kcc26
Reply to  The Itch
7 months ago

thanks, really value your input!

Brett
Brett
7 months ago

I follow the Tigers about as closely as I play fantasy ball and I can say with some confidence this is more depth than any Tigers blogger or beat writer is providing on the team’s prospects. So thanks for that.

Super happy to see you have Kreidler 3rd on this list. I’ve been running with a baseline assumption that his glove is his carrying tool and if he does make the show it’ll be as a utility type or average regular. This gives me hope for more.

One question: The Tigers have overhauled their player development staff in the past six months or so, mostly by poaching guys from the Dodgers. How long would you expect before we can see noticeable on-field progress? Is that something I can watch for in 2022? Thanks as always Itch!

Brett
Brett
Reply to  The Itch
7 months ago

Love that. I think Skubal has the potential to explode. And with the combination of the right system (Chris Fetter mostly) and just his own raw thoughtfulness, he might do it.

I’m at a loss for what happened to Manning between years, but he’s clearly athletic enough and has the pedigree. I see it more as a loss if he doesn’t figure it out rather than a win if he does. But I’ll take what I can get.

Jolt In Flow
Jolt In Flow
7 months ago

Itch!!! Long time no speak. I hope you’re doing well. I’ve been reading all your posts, just haven’t had much to question from you. But you provided something in today’s article that I could use help with. Your quote:

“Because I play the way I do and tend to accrue balanced assets with speed, Tork would probably be the better fit on all my teams.”

I’d love to be able to do things this way as well. In fact, I have Tork in a few leagues already.

Here’s my question: how many base stealers am I looking for from my other players if I have Tork on my team? Do you have a rule of thumb/look for a certain type of player? And I guess, how many Tork type non-base stealer players do you generally find to be a good fit on your team (14 hitter lineups) if you get the proper alotment of base stealers in your base stealing group?

Thanks Itch! If I miss you before then, then have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Jolt

Ante GALIC
Ante GALIC
7 months ago

The Itch!!!!

Excellent read!

a. Sorry about the 0.227 bump in the road. Life sucks, then you die. Or you make a small change and then all is great. About 17 days ago, I told myself that I refuse to be a slave for anyone or anything (animate or inanimate). It’s worked so far and I’ve had a positive outlook since.

b. Love this report. Have my eyes on three from this report in particular.

1. Kreidler
2. Santana
3. Madden

Any room for any or all of them on my team in that 4×4 12-team dynasty? All of them are available on the WW.

C-Garver
1-Cron
2-India
3-Chapman
ss-Xander
ci-Schwindel
mi-Brujan
of-walsh, Arozarena, Betts, Marte, Biggio
ut-lowe, siri
bench-Aranda, Burger, Rosario, Tena, Fraley, Connor Joe, Pereira, Tsutsugo
MiLB-DHarris, JWalker, Masyn Winn, Cowser, Haskin, Wiemer

SP-Cease, Gonsolin, Houck, Manoah, Musgrove, Ryan, RSuarez, JWinder, Kopech, Roansy, CMorris
RP-DCastilo, Doval, CGreen, Hendriks, Iglesias, Kittredge, Whitlock
MiLB-Beeter, Henry, Knack, Lodolo, Walston, White, EPerez, Logan Allen (LHP)

New additions to the team are Morris and Allen (thanks from last Sunday!) and Tsutsugo (over Larnach)

b. Have a happy holiday season if you celebrate. If not, take satisfaction in the fact that the sun stays at 0 degrees for 3 days on Dec 22 and then rises by 1 degree on the 25th signaling the beginning of warmer days.

c. Norm MacDonald quote of the day for December 19, 2021

‘OJ Simpson’s lawyers have decided to skip DNA testing and go straight to trial. Asked why they did this they said ‘We want to get OJ acquitted as quickly as possible so he can do what he does best – killing people.’

d. Marx Brothers quote of the day for December 19, 2021

‘Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.’

Cheers,
Ante

Ante GALIC
Ante GALIC
Reply to  The Itch
7 months ago

The Itch!!!

Thanks a million! Done, done and done. Let’s see how it goes!! Beeter I agree with you but Madden will be better in the long run in a pitcher’s park (Well, Beeter’s in a pitcher’s park, too. Anyway…).

Cheers,
Ante