The Detroit Tigers now have the No. 14 farm system in all of baseball, according to Baseball America. Detroit’s farm system has steadily improved over the past couple years since general manager Al Avila was promoted to his current position, but were still ranked in the bottom-third of MLB teams entering the season. Now, after adding righthander Casey Mize (and others) in the 2018 amateur draft, the Tigers have finally cracked the top half.
Others have been even more bullish on the Tigers. Bleacher Report recently named the Tigers the No. 10 farm system in baseball, and praised the recent Leonys Martin move as “exactly the kind of moves that rebuilding team should be making.” They are also excited about Mize, a near-unanimous pick as the Tigers’ top prospect even before he threw a pitch in pro ball.
Generally, Tigers fans are optimistic about the talent currently in the system. Players like Daz Cameron and Isaac Paredes have forced their way up to Double-A with strong performances, and have stayed above water at that level even after their respective promotions. Matt Manning is generating more hype with every start down in A-ball. Beau Burrows and Alex Faedo have flown under the radar for not dominating. The only real disappointments have been Jake Rogers, who seems to have rebounded after a slow start, and Franklin Perez, who has been injured.
But how happy should we be about this progress? Tigers Twitter has offered a cornucopia of opinions on the topic, both positive and negative.
One I want to highlight came from TigsTown’s Chris Brown, who opined on this subject in a must-read Twitter thread on Wednesday. Specifically, while the Tigers have improved, they haven’t taken the massive steps forward other teams have.
For context, let’s look how other franchises compare to the Tigers’ jump in three years:— Chris Brown (@ChrisBrown0914) August 9, 2018
The Padres went from 25 in 2016 to 1 now.
The Blue Jays went from 24 in 2016 to 3 now.
The White Sox went from 23 in 2016 to 4 now.
The Braves went from 29 in 2015 to 5 now...
There are caveats to this analysis, of course. The Tigers basically started this process from dead-last in baseball, not near the bottom. One could argue they had further to go than these other teams to reach their current position. The Tigers also didn’t have the cost-controlled talent to trade that some of these other teams did, limiting the return for some of their top talent.
At the same time, those teams (and others) have also been more aggressive than the Tigers about restocking their prospect coffers. Some have arguably gone too far — the Braves and Padres have run afoul of MLB for some of their practices — but we spent years criticizing the Tigers for their lackadaisical approach to the international free agent market. They were also miles behind other MLB teams on the analytics front, and are still catching up even today.
How do you feel about the Tigers farm system?
This poll is closed
It’s great! The future looks bright
It’s getting there, but still needs work
Things aren’t improving fast enough right now