Hey all you cool cats and kittens. The groove has been missing from Motown for a few refrains now. Stalking the top of each draft the past few seasons hasn’t helped the big league Tigers yet, but hope remains, as ever, in the long grasses of their minor league system. 

 

1. OF Kerry Carpenter | 25 | MLB | 2022

I’ve written a lot about Carpenter in this space. The Tigers have been desperate to develop some bats for as long as I can remember, and so far Kerry Carpenter looks like their biggest developmental win. A 19th round pick in 2019, Carpenter made a leap in pitch selection, particularly in his transition from Double-A (6.1% BB) to Triple-A (12.3 % BB). His strikeout rate evaporated at the same time, from 27.5 percent to 12.3 percent and the result was a dominant run in Triple-A (.331/.420/.644) and a 31-game MLB debut that netted six home runs and a 126 wRC+. If I catch any Tiger by the tail for redraft leagues this year, it’ll probably be Carpenter.

 

2. RHP Jackson Jobe | 20 | A+ | 2024

Jobe was tested early in his first pro season after cruising mostly untouched through his high school career. After a six-run shellacking on May 7, he posted a 3.60 ERA and 1.21 WHIP and struck out more than a batter per inning. His 0.96 WHIP in three starts (15.2 IP) at High-A to close out the season probably headed off any buy-low winter narratives at the pass. Detroit has been aggressive with his timeline, so it’s anyone’s guess where he’ll spend his 21st birthday on July 31st. Smart money’s probably on Double-A, but Jobe’s pitches have major league spin rates already, so there’s an outside chance the No. 3 overall pick in 2021 is knocking on Detroit’s door by then. He’ll probably make some noise and start the conversation this spring.

 

3. 3B Colt Keith | 21 | A+ | 2024

A fifth-round pick out of high school in the 2020 draft, Keith signed for $500,000 rather than head to college as most teams had expected. With the exception of a 18-game stretch at High-A to close out the 2021 season, Keith has done nothing but rake for the Tigers. I don’t want to drop a Robert Redford comp on anybody, but Keith looks natural in all his baseball actions. Plate skills aren’t usually so well refined for 20-year-olds, but Keith embodies selective aggression. His 10.2 percent walk rate and 19.4 percent strikeout rate aren’t elite, but they’re extremely good at his age for somebody with his power. In 48 games, he hit nine home runs and slashed .301/.370/.544 with four stolen bases. Might be a buying window in your leagues. Might even be available in a lot of first-year-player drafts this winter. He’s out there in two of mine with fairly shallow minor league rosters and probably shouldn’t be.

 

4. RHP Wilmer Flores | 22 | AA | 2023

A strong righty at 6’4” 225 lbs with good balance throughout his delivery, Flores enjoyed a breakout season in 2022, graduating High-A after six dominant outings before pitching well in Double-A for four months, where his numbers would look even better (3.01 ERA, 1.05 WHIP) if not for a seven-run game in his second-to-last start. If this team were contending, he’d be in the running to claim a rotation spot this spring. I’m not totally ruling that out, but it’s more likely they let him play out much of the season in Triple-A unless they start the season with a bunch of wins.

 

5. SS Wenceel Perez | 23 | AA | 2023

I always think about Carlos Mencia when working toward a blurb about Wenceel Perez. Wish I didn’t. I know there’s not much there for referential humor. In 94 games across two levels, Perez hit 14 home runs, stole 18 bases and slashed .295/.369/.534 with just 61 strikeouts and 42 walks. He actually reduced his K-rate in the jump from High-A (16.1%) to Double-A (13.5%), posting a 143 wRC+ at each level. Perez is a switch-hitter at 5’11” 203 lbs and is a bit underrated in general because it took him a long time to grow into power. His previous season-high in home runs was four in 2021. If he’s on his game this spring, he’ll look like he belongs with the big club already. As of today, Ryan Kreidler is listed as the starting third baseman on roster resource.

 

6. RHP Ty Madden | 23 | AA | 2023

Like Flores, Ty Madden is a sturdy dude (6’3” 215 lb) with smooth mechanics and balance throughout his delivery. The plan involves some wishful thinking in terms of health (Mize, Manning, Skubal), but this organization might find itself overloaded with quality major league starters at some point in the next few years. Madden was good all season but particularly dominant late. In five Double-A starts between August 13 and September 9, Madden posted a 1.03 ERA and 1.03 WHIP with 34 strikeouts in 26.1 innings.

 

7. 2B Jace Jung | 22 | A+ | 2024

The 12th overall pick in 2022, Jung has never really struggled to hit, which is good because that’s kind of his only calling card. Unlike his brother, Jace has the platoon advantage of being a left-handed hitter. He’s also a little smaller at 6’0” 205 lbs to Josh’s 6’2” 214. His ultimate impact will be determined by how much power he can access in games, although the plate skills (18.7 percent walk rate in 30 games) should float the profile through some dry spells. On one hand, it’s nice that he’s in Detroit where the paths to playing time are fairly wide open. On the other hand, he’s in Detroit, and they’ve struggled to string together enough decent hitters to build a big league quality lineup.

 

8. SS Peyton Graham | 22 | A | 2025

Here’s what I wrote about Graham in my Top 15 for 2023 First-Year-Player Dynasty Draft back in July:

“I can’t help but wish this kid had landed elsewhere. He was among my favorite players heading into draft season. Listed at 6’3” 185 lbs, Graham looks skinnier than that partly because I think he’s built from rebar like a young Byron Buxton, delivering strength well beyond what your eyes would guess from afar. He even moves a little differently than most players, jolting around the field with a twitchy-fast smoothness of controlled movements that look like they might spill out of control at any given moment. He’s played third, shortstop, second and outfield, and I think he could hang just about anywhere on the diamond. On offense, Graham became the first D1 player in almost 20 years (2004) to hit 20 homers and steal 30 bases.”

Things haven’t changed much. Graham held his own in 27 games at Low-A Lakeland, batting .270 and swiping seven bases. I’m a little glad he didn’t make a bunch of noise. He’s been cheap in the drafts I’ve seen. 

 

9. SS Danny Serretti | 22 | AA | 2024

A four-year starter at North Carolina, Serretti is a sharp switch hitter at 6’1” 195 lbs who hadn’t produced a whole lot until his senior season, when he slashed .365/.437/.567 with ten home runs in 64 games and posted a 38-to-32 strikeout-to-walk rate. The extreme plate skills continued after Detroit drafted him in the sixth round and sent him to Low-A, where Serretti stayed for just 11 games thanks to a 30.4 percent walk rate and .375/.565/.688 triple slash line. A college senior should handle Low-A well at the end of a season, but that’s still a loud way to do it, and Serretti then posted a .413 OBP in 11 games at High-A and a .417 OBP in six games at Double-A. He’s never run much and has a short track record for big outcomes, but it certainly looks like something is clicking for Serretti.

 

10. SS Reylin Perez | 18 | DSL | 2027

We’re down into a part of the list where everyone feels like a low-probability gamble, and I don’t love any of the bets I could place. I tend to avoid noisy outcomes in the Dominican Summer League, but I like the name Reylin. Will probably watch the new Justified. Besides, Perez was pretty good, slugging seven home runs and swiping seven bases in 47 games. It’s not uncommon in this league to see absurd slash lines like his .306/.454/.590, but Perez was not a big money signing, and this puts him on the map.

Thanks for reading!

I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter. 

 

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Mike D
Mike D
14 days ago

Reese Olson?

Ray Guilfoyle
Ray Guilfoyle
18 days ago

Hey Itch – another great piece.
I’m rebuilding in an NL only, 4×4 keeper league – yeah, old school.
I have the following picks in our 2 round minor league draft: 1, 3,6,10,11,15.
I’m taking Chourio at 1, how would you rank the following:
Druw
Noelvi Marte
Endy
Termarr Johnson
Cam Collier
Elijah Green
K parada
Alex Ramirez
A Painter
Merrill
Rushing

Thanks Itch.

Ray

Dude
Dude
18 days ago

Thoughts on Justyn-Henry Malloy?

junior56
junior56
18 days ago

Hi Itch Thanks for the list!
Do you think Keith stays on the dirt or ends up in the OF? I do like his bat.
He’s available in 2 leagues I’m in?

Also, approximately where would Cristian Santana be on this list?

Philip
Philip
18 days ago

Great work, Itch! Always a pleasure to read your take!

Are you feeling stoked about the future of Alex Lange? How would you rank him, Evan Phillips, Herget, and Hentges?

Would you move Elly, Esteury, and Carter for Carroll?

Thanks, Itch!

Jake from State Farm
Jake from State Farm
18 days ago

What’s up my man. I know Minnesota top 10 is on the way but a few thoughts on Emmanuel Rodriguez please? I’m not kidding about 5 owners are hounding me for him now in my keep forever. I’m getting some awesome offers also how good is thus guy?

Brett
Brett
18 days ago

Great read Itch. I’m always glad to see so many glowing reviews of Tigers prospects. It’s starting to look like the overhaul of this system has taken hold and big things are on the horizon, and it’s about damn time.

Where are you at on Greene and Torkelson these days? Is there still hope?

Ryan
Ryan
18 days ago

Great stuff Itch! Getting into baseball mode now that fantasy football is done. I have the first overall pick in my dynasty league and have a tough choice. Jones, Holiday and painter will all be available for me at 1.1. I came in last place last year but made some moves for guys with low value and if they rebound, I might have a shot at making the playoffs (Albies, Eloy, Robert, wander). Who would you go with first overall there?

Ryan
Ryan
Reply to  The Itch
18 days ago

Thanks Itch! Appreciate the feedback! That was my thought too, he could help as soon as this year. My anticipated roster is below. Would that change anything?
C Rutschman
1B Vaughn
2b Albies
3B Devers
SS Wander
CI Miranda
MI Cruz
OF Robert
OF Eloy
OF Carroll
OF ?
UT Salvy

BN Abrams

SP: Cease, Castillo, Peralta, Wright, McKenzie, S. Gray, and possibly Bauer

Top products include Grayson Rodrigues, Eury Perez, Noelvi, Peraza, Westburg, Esteury Ruiz, Wiemer, Pages

Thanks again!

Jimmy
Jimmy
18 days ago

Great stuff Itch! 13 team dynasty 5×5… I can keep 3-4…Gavin Williams-Gavin Stone-Brandon Pfaadt-Ryan Pepiot thanks Itch! Think Alex Lange closes now for The Tigers? Your the best in the biz!

Dude
Dude
18 days ago

14 Team Dynasty. W, QS, SV and HLD
Need to trim down pitching. Who are the top 10 that you would cut?

Jon Gray
Robbie Ray
Jesus Luzardo
Brady Singer
Andres Munoz
Griffin Jax
JP Sears
Eli Morgan
Waldichuk
Wesneski
Kimbrel
Justin Steele
Gavin Stone
Michael King
Josiah Gray
Jason Adam
Drey Jameson
Brock Burke
Frasso
Cade Horton
Alex Lange
Loaisiga

thebigshow
thebigshow
18 days ago

Yo itch! I gotta keep 3 minor leaguers from the following….

J Chourio
J Walker
E De La Cruz
J Wood
J Lawlar
E Ruiz
E Perez

Im leaning Chourio, Walker, & Wood but would like your picks since you’re the main reason I have these dudes! Thanks for your help!

Chhhhh
Chhhhh
Reply to  thebigshow
18 days ago

WOW. That’s tough. I’m not Itch, But I’d think the first three are the ones you keep. Chourio, Walker and De La Cruz.