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Legends On Deck

LOD’s 2018 Top Prospects: Detroit Tigers – Pitchers

During the 2017-2018 offseason, we here at LOD are putting together a different kind of prospect list than you’re used to seeing. As opposed to typical prospect rankings, we are going position by position to give you the names to look out for in the upcoming season. Keep checking back to see if your favorite player makes our 2018 Top Prospect Team. You can view previous team previews by Clicking Here.

For years, the Detroit Tigers farm system had been depleting.  In the early parts of the Dave Dombrowski Era (2002-2015), the Tigers successfully developed draft picks like Justin Verlander and Curtis Granderson, but as the era progressed and the Tigers achieved success, they did so largely through free agency and trades to acquire some of the best talent in Major League Baseball (Pudge Rodriguez, Magglio Ordonez, Miguel Cabrera, Max Scherzer, etc).  

As the franchise began to trade away stars in 2017, the focus in Detroit is stocking up on prospects and giving them some time to develop.  When Justin Verlander, Justin Upton, JD Martinez and Ian Kinsler were all traded away, many Tigers fans were naturally disappointed and many will likely abandon following the team for the near future.  But for committed fans, the prospect of a rebuild can be both interesting and exciting.  It will involve a little more attention given to Connecticut, West Michigan, Lakeland, Erie and Toledo.  In fact, the Tigers were recently named one of the Top 5 most improved farm systems by MLB.com.

Of the Top 30 Prospects in the Tigers system, 14 of them are Pitchers.  Most Tigers fans would agree that throughout the winning seasons of the past decade, the biggest hole in the team had been the bullpen.  Perhaps this list of prospects gives us a glimpse at what could be a strong future starting rotation and bullpen.  Here’s a closer look:  

RHP Franklin Perez (#1 Tigers Prospect – MLB, #1 Tigers Prospect – Baseball America, #41 MLB Overall, #32 Baseball America)

Age: 20

Acquired:  2017, Justin Verlander trade with the Astros

2017 Stats: 6-3, 3.02 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 78 Strikeouts (Buies Creek / Corpus Christi)

Notes:  While his fastball is said to reach into the mid-90s, he also brings a solid curve, changeup and a developing slider into the arsenal.  The Venezuela native and Carolina League All-Star is consistently ranked as the best prospect in the system since he arrived to Detroit.

RHP  Matt Manning (#2 Tigers Prospect – MLB, #3 Tigers Prospect – Baseball America#61 MLB Overall, #79 Baseball America – Overall)

Age: 19

Acquired:  2016, 1st Round Draft Pick (High School)

2017 Stats:  4-2, 3.18 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 68 Strikeouts (Connecticut / West Michigan)

Notes: While he struggled in his first three starts after being called up to West Michigan, Manning dominated in his final two starts including striking out nine in five innings on September 2.  Standing 6’ 6”, he was high school basketball star (son of former NBA player Rich Manning) who’s fastball can reach into the high 90s, with a strong curve to boot.  

RHP Alex Faedo (#3 Tigers Prospect – MLB,  #2 Tigers Prospect – Baseball America, #66 MLB Overall, #53 Baseball America – Overall)

Age:  22

Acquired: 2017, 1st Round Draft Pick (Florida)

Stats:  28-6 (48 Starts), 2.80 ERA, 349 Strikeouts / 7.27 avg per game (Career at Florida)

Notes:  Faedo finished his college career leading the Florida Gators to their first ever College World Series Championship in 2017 and named Most Outstanding Player of the College World Series. His fastball reaches into the mid 90s, but his slider was considered perhaps the best in college baseball.  He missed fall ball due to some minor knee issues, but it should be exciting to see where he starts this Spring.    

RHP Beau Burrows  (#4 Tigers Prospect – MLB, #80 Baseball America – Overall)

Age:  21

Acquired:  2015, 1st Round Draft Pick (High School)

2017 Stats: 10-7, 3.20 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 137 Strikeouts (Lakeland / Erie)

Notes:  Burrows pitched two 10 K games and an 8 K shutout in late July and early August with Erie.  His fastball reaches into the mid-90s, has a solid curve and developing slider.

RHP Kyle Funkhouser (#8 Tigers Prospect – MLB)

Age: 23

Acquired:  2016, 4th Round Draft Pick (Louisville)

2017 Stats:  5-2, 2.44 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 83 Strikeouts in 12 Starts (West Michigan / Lakeland)

LHP Gregory Soto (#12 Tigers Prospect – MLB, #10 Tigers Prospect – Baseball America)

Age: 22

Acquired:  Dominican Summer League

2017 Stats:  12-2, 2.25 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 144 Strikeouts (West Michigan / Lakeland)

Notes:  Soto has an absolutely stellar season in 2017, earning himself Tigers system Pitcher of the Year.

LHP Tyler Alexander (#13 Tigers Prospect – MLB)

Age: 23

Acquired:  2015, 2nd Round Draft Pick (TCU)

2017 Stats: 8-9, 5.07 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 120 Strikeouts (Erie)

RHP Grayson Long (#14 Tigers Prospect – MLB)

Age: 23

Acquired:  Justin Upton trade with Angels

2017 Stats: 8-9, 3.01 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 128 Strikeouts (Inland / Mobile / Erie)

RHP Sandy Baez (#17 Tigers Prospect – MLB)

Age: 24

Acquired:  Dominican Summer League

2017 Stats:  6-8, 3.92 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 105 Strikeouts (Lakeland / Erie)

LHP Jairo Labourt (#18 Tigers Prospect – MLB)

Age: 23

Acquired:  2015, David Price trade with Blue Jays (including Daniel Norris and Matt Boyd)

2017 Stats:  1-1 (45 Games), 2.17 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 79 Strikeouts, 4 Saves (Lakeland / Erie / Toledo)

RHP Bryan Garcia (#23 Tigers Prospect – MLB)

Age: 22

Acquired:   2016, 6th Round Draft Pick (Miami)

2017 Stats:  5-3 (52 Games), 2.13 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 78 Strikeouts (West Michigan / Lakeland / Erie / Toledo)

RHP Jason Foley (#24 Tigers Prospect – MLB)

Age:  22

2017 Stats:  3-3 (24 Games), 2.48 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 41 Strikeouts, 6 Saves (West Michigan / Lakeland)

RHP Gerson Moreno (#27 Tigers Prospect – MLB)

Age:  22

Acquired:  Dominican Summer League

2017 Stats:  1-3 (41 Games), 4.47 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 66 Strikeouts, 8 Saves (Lakeland / Erie)

LHP Matt Hall (#28 Tigers Prospect – MLB)

Age: 24

Acquired: 2015, 5th Round Draft Pick (Missouri State)

2017 Stats:  8-6, 2.60 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 149 Strikeouts (Lakeland / Erie)

Currently, the Tigers are retaining Michael Fulmer, who is only 24.  Should he remain the long term Ace of the rotation and should Daniel Norris (24) and Matthew Boyd (26) find their stride, the eventual addition of Perez, Faedo, Manning and others over the next few season could develop into a strong pitching staff.  Not to mention, the Tigers have the top pick in the 2018 Draft, where they are projected to take another Florida Gators CWS star RHP Brady Singer.  Pitching could be the path for future Tigers success.  

 

Brian Koss

Brian Koss

Brian has been a contributing writer to Legends on Deck since April 2017. He’s a diehard Detroit Tigers fan, who grew up playing and following baseball in the suburbs of Detroit. He covers the Tigers and their farm system for LOD and also likes writing about the general state of baseball. Brian and his family reside in the suburbs of Orlando, where he enjoys coaching Little League and passing on his love of the game to the next generation.
Brian Koss