Perhaps worse than the Detroit Tigers’ current six-ish game losing streak is the plethora of injuries that the pitchers in their system have endured throughout the year. The latest — and perhaps most upsetting of all — is righthander Franklin Perez, who was placed on the injured list for the second time this season with shoulder inflammation. Perez, the centerpiece of the trade that sent Justin Verlander to the Houston Astros in 2017, has only logged 23 1⁄3 innings of game action since arriving in the Tigers’ minor league system.
We debated posing a more dour question about this news (and general trade ramifications, if you will) on Monday. But rather than focusing on a negative, however, our Question of the Day is geared towards a different discussion that started in the site comments. Feel free to make your list as long or short as you like.
How would you rank the Tigers’ top pitching prospects right now?
My answer: Casey Mize and Matt Manning are the clear top two names on the list, and in that order, I believe. Some think Manning’s ceiling is higher than that of Mize, but then I read things like this and wonder if we are selling Mize’s upside short because of his polished profile.
Either way, the list gets more interesting after that. Franklin Perez was third on this list prior to the 2019 season, but has since found himself on the injured list two more times. I’d put Beau Burrows next, followed by Alex Faedo. Kyle Funkhouser hasn’t been able to stay healthy either, but he has enough of a resume right now that he fits somewhere in the fifth or sixth spot. Perez is probably still in here too, but would drop further if his shoulder injury turns out to be more of a “months” rather than “weeks” type of issue.
Tarik Skubal, who was the genesis of this topic, comes after that group, and I still think there’s a decent gap between the top six and where he sits. He has put up some gaudy numbers so far, but you will see this from most lefties with a decent secondary offering in A-ball. His longevity throughout the season is also still a question, and one of the reasons he fell to the ninth round in last year’s draft. Lefties who hit 97 don’t grow on trees, though, so there’s certainly some upside there. That also goes for Gregory Soto, who has similar gas but far less control over where it is going. Righthanders Anthony Castro and Logan Shore are also worth a mention, though I’m not sold on either of them having much of a big league future.
What do you think?
Note: I did not consider Spencer Turnbull a prospect for this list. Barring injury or disaster, he should exhaust his rookie eligibility on Tuesday evening against the Marlins.