After years of having one of the worst farm systems in baseball, the Detroit Tigers landed three prospects on Baseball America’s 2018 top 100 prospect rankings released on Monday morning. Right-handed pitchers Franklin Perez, Alex Faedo, and Matt Manning made the list as the No. 35, 50, and 78 prospects in baseball, respectively.
Perez, acquired in the trade that sent Justin Verlander to the Houston Astros last August, is the organization’s consensus top prospect. Baseball America listed him first in their organizational top 10 list released earlier this month, and he is also currently ranked first at MLB Pipeline and by our friends at TigsTown. Perez made it all the way to Double-A as a 20-year-old last season, where he managed a 3.09 ERA and 1.38 WHIP in 32 innings.
Next up is Faedo, the Tigers’ first round pick in the 2017 draft. The one-time Florida Gator was originally considered as a potential top overall pick, but a slow start to the 2017 season following offseason knee surgeries sapped some of his value. Still, he finished the year strong, winning the College World Series MVP Award as his team captured a national title. The Tigers shut him down afterward due to his workload, but he is expected to move through the system quickly thanks to an advanced arsenal, including a wipeout slider.
Manning was the team’s top draft pick in 2016, at No. 9 overall. He offers considerable promise thanks to a tall, sturdy frame and a fastball that can reach as high as 97 miles per hour. He made his 2017 debut in the short-season New York-Penn League, but moved up to Single-A West Michigan by season’s end. The son of former NBA player Rick Manning, Matt will likely start the 2018 season back at West Michigan. He is a long-term project after only playing baseball for two years in high school, but one that could be a true No. 1 starter if everything pans out.
Baseball America was quick to note that the Tigers’ system is trending upward in their organizational release on January 3. They have a stable of promising young pitching prospects, including righthander Beau Burrows, who likely finished just outside the top 100 after a strong campaign in 2017. MLB Pipeline has already announced that they will have four Tigers prospects on their top 100 list, and Burrows is the odds-on favorite. Also in consideration for top 100 status on other lists will be outfielder Daz Cameron, who appeared on Keith Law’s list at ESPN Insider. Catcher Jake Rogers and infielder Isaac Paredes probably won’t appear on any top 100 lists this spring, but also offer considerable promise.