As the calendar inches closer to spring, the prospect hot stove begins to heat up along with the weather. For the Detroit Tigers, its stable of young hurlers is among the best in the majors and the rankings have continued to take notice.
Tigers’ top right-handed pitching prospects
Casey Mize took the top spot and also received mention for his split-finger pitch as “Best Other Pitch”, receiving a 70-grade for his wicked offspeed hammer; he was also given the “Highest Floor” distinction for his mature arsenal.
Few pitchers can match Mize’s combination of stuff and command, which is why the Tigers made him the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 Draft. The only real question with him is health, as he was shut down at times in two of the last three seasons.
Matt Manning sits in the No. 7 position and was noted for his breaking ball, which shared the honor of “Best Curveball” with that of Houston Astros’ top prospect Forrest Whitley for their 60-grade offering.
Whitley and Manning have high spin rates and downer action on their curveballs. The curve is Manning’s lone breaking pitch, while Whitley also utilizes a slider that he can transform into a low-90s cutter, both of which can be better than his curve at times.
Let the lists begin!— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) January 14, 2020
Here's the first in our series of Top 10 prospects by position rankings leading up to the release of the 2020 Top 100 on Jan. 25.
This year's Top 10 RHP Prospects list features loads of firepower and #MLB-ready arms: https://t.co/Ysz37qOOHQ pic.twitter.com/0F45obZqR0
Faedo makes strides in 2019
Emily Waldon looks into Alex Faedo’s 2019 season and the progress he as made in this piece for Baseball America. In it, Faedo talks about improvements he has made in his approach as well as the importance of establishing a regular routine throughout the year.
One of the more notable quotes mentions how Faedo is learning how to pitch rather than throw.
“I’m trying to do a better job at pitching inside, so I can open up the outside part of the plate. I love my changeup. I love the action on it. I’m trying to get it to slow down because all my pitches are so close together in velocity that it doesn’t give a big differential.”
What got Faedo and the Florida Gators to the national championship his senior year is not what works in the pros, so reports that he is making the appropriate adjustments are encouraging. He is expected to start the season in Triple-A Toledo, pending his spring training performance.
2020 roster projection v1.0
The Athletic has published its initial 2020 roster projection for the Tigers, and for all intents and purposes it is as boring and predictable as one would expect.
Despite the extra roster spot introduced this season and a penchant for carrying a third catcher on the roster, only two backstops will head north with the club while two await in Toledo in case either or both falter. The infield offers no surprises, as newcomers C.J. Cron and Jonathan Schoop both bring above-average gloves into play. The rest of the usual suspects are expected to fill out the rest of the dirt and represent a competent infield squad from a defensive standpoint.
Out on the grass there is a crowded list of possible players slated for the outfield, a carousel that will certainly be a show to watch this season. Miguel Cabrera will man the designated hitter spot, which hopefully can help keep him healthy for a bounce-back campaign.
The Tigers will feature a five-man rotation full of expected fellows and carry a nine-man bullpen with a motley crew of up-and-coming pitchers as well as AAAA arms to wrap up the 26-man roster for the Tigers. Just keep in mind that this way-too-early assessment can expect plenty of changes between now and opening day.
The Athletic’s Baseball Top 100 List
The Athletic has another current feature relevant to Tigers fans, and that is its Baseball 100 list, which ranks the greatest baseball players of all time. Two franchise-altering players who have played with the Tigers made the mid-70s on the list.
Miguel Cabrera came in at No. 77, despite his precipitous production over the last half-decade. There is no doubt, however, than in his prime he was both a generational and all-time talent on the field.
Erstwhile Tigers legend Justin Verlander landed in the No. 75 spot just a wee bit ahead of his former teammate. While his ex-partner in baseball crime has faltered over the years, Verlander has gone the opposite direction, dialing into another gear reminiscent of “Must-See JV” of his early years in the last decade.
You probably do not remember when commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis handed down this stiff penalty to the Detroit Tigers in 1940. But it sure does make one think about the recent punitive measure taken against the Houston Astros by Major League Baseball.
Minor league baseball has the best promos
Speaking of the Astros’ infractions, the New York Yankees’ New York–Penn League affiliate has gotten in on the action, with a mini trash can giveaway for its match against the Astros’ affiliate next September. Well played, Yankees.
NEW GIVEAWAY ALERT Mini Trash Can Giveaway on Thursday, September 3rd. Tickets for this game are on sale early for this week only! To purchase click the link or call us at 718-720-9265.https://t.co/QZUHgdZhX4 pic.twitter.com/8NsNGKa0fL— Staten Island Yankees (@SIYanks) January 14, 2020
- 2020 BYB Tigers prospect #26: C Cooper Johnson is a delight on defense. The gifted defensive backstop has something to prove at the plate.
- 2020 BYB Tigers prospect #25: RHP Bryan Garcia will get a long look in the bullpen. 2020 will be a make-or-break season with Garcia now two years beyond Tommy John surgery.
- 2020 BYB Tigers prospect #24: RHP Anthony Castro could move quickly in a new role. The right hander has electric stuff, but a full-time move to relief is indicated.
- Detroit Tigers sign RHP Iván Nova to a one-year deal. In a corresponding move, Matt Hall has been designated for assignment.
- MLB announces stiff penalties over the Houston Astros sign stealing scandal. Manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow are each suspended for the 2020 season.
Around the horn
Astros manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow are suspended for ‘20, then let go by the team. A look back at the tumultuous 1990s for Major League Baseball and how recent events compare. Why MLB issued historic punishment to the Astros for sign stealing. Why anger is boiling behind the scenes about Houston Astros’ sign-stealing punishments. Alex Cora is out as Boston Red Sox manager due to his involvement in the Astros scandal.