The prospect experts at MLB.com released their Top 100 Prospects list on Saturday, and they placed four Detroit Tigers prospects in the group: Franklin Perez, Matt Manning, Alex Faedo, and Beau Burrows. This is as many as Detroit has managed since MLB.com has been creating these rankings for the public. Every move general Manager Al Avila has made in recent months has been made to bolster the farm, and the release of this list is indicative of how well that is going.
All four players placed on the list were right-handed starting pitchers, three of whom were drafted by Detroit. Rated highest was the only one acquired in trade, Franklin Perez. The centerpiece of the Verlander deal with the Houston Astros, Perez shows remarkable feel for the game for a teenager. The combination of stuff and athleticism gives him a high floor that landed him the 39th spot on the list.
The second of the prospects put on the list was big fireballer Matt Manning. His velocity and the raw power of his stuff were the big attraction to the lanky pitcher, and his athleticism convinced evaluators that he'd be able to find a repeatable delivery. HIs stock has only risen as his knuckle-curve has gotten better. He was always known to be able to snap off a good one, and that has become more frequent. No player in the system has a ceiling as high, and that was enough to earn him the 55th place on the list.
Third of the four was their most recent first-rounder, Alex Faedo. His slider is the main attraction, a wipeout pitch with velocity and depth, and he possesses one of the best current talent packages in the system. In fact, if the Tigers were contending, he may have been given the chance to pitch out of the major league bullpen like Chris Sale did for the Chicago White Sox in 2010. His high potential and current excellence was enough to be ranked 59th.
Rounding out the Tigers' representatives in this group of very talented prospects is Beau Burrows. Seen as an overdraft in 2015 when Detroit took him in the first round, he has had a bit of wild ride as a pro. His most recent season planted him on nationwide prospect maps, blowing away High-A batters. His introduction to Double-A was rockier, but he maintained a good strikeout rate while continuing to hone his lesser pitches. This puts him on track to make an impact by the end of the upcoming season, and he is the 77th ranked prospect in baseball.
A strong first half could vault a few of Tigers' players onto the back end of this list, most significantly Isaac Paredes. He was the secondary part of the return in the Justin Wilson deal, but he has generated quite a bit of buzz lately. Baseball America claims that he brings to the one of the best hit tools in the Midwest League, and Tigers brass was impressed with his performance both before and after the trade.