The Detroit Tigers were still hovering just below the .500 mark after splitting the weekend series with the first-place Minnesota Twins. The Houston Astros, however, have put them in their place the past couple of games, kicking Matt Boyd and shoving the Motor City kitties back towards the mean. Nonetheless, the player development system continues to hum along as the kids keep moving up.
This past week has seen several promotions both at the affiliate level as well as in prospect rankings. Only midway through May, there has been a great deal to be excited about with the club’s pivot towards rebuilding the roster through the youth movement. Every week seems to bring more exhilarating news from the farm, and this one has not been any different.
Casey Mize bumped up to sixth on MLB Pipeline’s prospect rankings
Casey Mize’s torrid start to his first full professional season has received attention both among Tigers fans as well as the prospect gurus. MLB Pipeline has nudged Mize to the No. 6 position among all major league prospects, the highest grade of any pitcher on the list. The promotion moves Mize from No. 17 up into the top 10, the upper echelon of tomorrow’s feature talent. With four of the players ahead of him currently in the majors and sure shots to shed their prospect status soon, the Tigers might find themselves with a top-ranked overall prospect — a true crown jewel for the team’s rebuild — when the next list is released.
Not to be outdone by the number one pick of the 2018 draft, three other Tigers prospects have also climbed up in MLB Pipeline’s rankings: Matt Manning’s ascension from No. 52 to No. 48 gives the Tigers two top 50 players; Franklin Perez moved from No. 78 to No. 71 without even throwing a pitch in 2019; Isaac Paredes snuck in on the action reaching No. 93 to give Detroit four top 100 prospects.
Jake Rogers heads west to Toledo
Jake Rogers has been en fuego at the plate this season in Erie, earning a promotion up to Triple-A Toledo to put the finishing touches on his development. This season in Double-A Erie, he hit .302 with a .429 on-base percentage and slugged .535, while cranking five home runs and drawing 19 walks to 26 strikeouts in 86 at-bats. He wasted no time acclimating himself to the highest level of the minors, going 2-for-3 with a home run, two RBI, and a walk with no strikeouts in his debut start on Tuesday night. It appears that what was once his Achilles’ heel is now a well-tuned addition to his stellar glove.
The only downside to the move — if it really could even be called that — is that Rogers is now separated from the triumvirate of Mize, Manning and Alex Faedo over in Erie, as many saw some added benefit to the battery all developing together. But at the end of the day, the other guys will catch up soon and they can continue nurturing their synergy in Toledo and beyond.
On a side note, Rogers is the second player from the Justin Verlander trade to reach Toledo, joining outfielder Daz Cameron.
Nick Ames heads south to Lakeland
Making the farthest trip among affiliate clubs in the Tigers’ organization, infielder prospect Nick Ames will travel all the way from riverside vistas of Grand Rapids to the humid swamps of Lakeland to join the High-A Flying Tigers. The 15th round draft pick in 2018 out of UNLV made big waves with the West Michigan Whitecaps, leading the team in seven offensive categories before his promotion: batting average (.308); OBP (.426); hits (39); doubles (11); total bases (58); OPS (.900).
The 6’3 slugging first baseman has performed beyond the expectations of many. After a weak performance at Connecticut in the New York-Penn League last summer, this offensive outburst to start the season is a much-welcomed turn of events for someone who could be a late-round steal. It will be worth keeping an eye on him and how he performs against the competition of the Florida State League.
Around the horn
Joe Jiménez is throwing a lot of fastballs, and that’s not a good thing. Spencer Turnbull is for real. Don Kelly reflects on his time in Detroit. The Tigers rank 24th in the majors in team defense according advanced metrics. FanGraphs’ second mock draft has the Detroit selecting Andrew Vaughn with the fifth pick in the 2019 amateur draft. A 4-year-old girl who recently underwent open heart surgery signs with SeaWolves for a day.
The Detroit City Council approved the intersection of Canfield Street and the John C. Lodge Service Drive to be assigned the secondary name of Willie Horton Drive. The Marlins have a team OPS+ of 66; no team has had a value that low since 1884. FanGraphs’ leaderboard since the start of the second half of 2018 has some interesting names. MLB is moving away from the Trackman system and switching to Hawkeye technology.
Welcome to The Show, Vlad, Jr!
Vlad Jr. gets his first big league— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) May 15, 2019
... and again.