Both the American and National Leagues are currently playing out their League Championship Series, with the Tampa Bay Rays leading the Houston Astros, 3-0, while the Atlanta Braves lead the Los Angeles Dodgers, 2-0. Meanwhile, the Detroit Tigers sit at home watching the festivities from afar pondering how to make it to the post season next year.
Unfortunately, the Tigers are very likely more than a season away from contending, but the process has already been in place in the form of a “rebuild” which will enter its fifth year in 2021. However, next summer could provide an additional piece of the puzzle from the amateur ranks when Major League Baseball’s Rule 4 Draft divvies out the prospects.
Tigers pick 3rd in 2021 MLB Draft
MLB announced the official selection sequence for the 2021 First-Year Player Draft, which is based on the reverse order of the 2020 regular-season standings. As such, Detroit finds itself with the third pick next summer, when the draft is held from July 11-13 in conjunction with the All-Star Game festivities in Atlanta.
Plenty of names have been thrown out as targets for the Tigers, including SEC studs Kumar Rocker and Jud Fabian, but there is still a long ways to go before then. With the novel coronavirus still threatening active sports, nobody really knows what amateur and professional baseball will look like come next spring, much less next summer.
Franklin Perez still has believers
While the Tigers will look to acquire more talent in the coming draft, there are still a few prospects on their own farm who could contribute in the near future. One of those players is Franklin Perez, who has dealt with a slew of injuries since headlining the Justin Verlander trade but has finally made it through a full summer completely healthy.
Evan Petzold at the Detroit Free Press takes a look at the 22-year-old hurler, who still has time on his side despite his many setbacks. Dave Littlefield, the Tigers’ vice president of player development, offered the following on Perez.
“We feel very confident there’s a future here for Franklin. When healthy, he’s very talented. He obviously had really strong performances in the past. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to get him out there as healthy for a long time.”
Perez will not be playing in the Tigers’ instructional league as he is currently on the 40-man roster, rendering him ineligible, but he will undertake offseason training on his own time before rejoining the team next February.
Faedo on the road to recovery
Speaking of pitchers and recovery, former first-round pick Alex Faedo is completely healthy after missing the team’s summer camp and spending 20 grueling days in quarantine due to testing positive for COVID-19. But for a while there, things were getting pretty rough for the 24-year-old former Florida Gator. He spoke with the Detroit Free Press and offered the following about his experience in coronavirus quarantine.
“I was losing my mind. I got to do indoor workouts and stuff inside, had programs written for me. I even had the little sock drills where we have a ball in the sock, and I kept throwing.”
Now that he is back on his feet, albeit nine pounds of muscle lighter — 14 pounds total — Faedo is at Tiger Town in Lakeland, Fla., gearing up for the instructional league season. Hopefully, he can bounce back next year and show the promise he once had after a decorated collegiate career.
Tigers’ instructional league kicks off Wednesday
Speaking of the instructional league, Wednesday marks the start of the Tigers’ offseason training league schedule when they face the Toronto Blue Jays’ prospect squad in Lakeland. The starting lineups and substitutes are provided below.
Starting lineup and substitutes for today’s Instructional League opener vs. Toronto pic.twitter.com/envMMKmFuG— Detroit Tigers Player Development (@RoadtoDetroit) October 14, 2020
Around the horn
What would the world be like if the Chicago Cubs had not won Game 7 in 2016? Here are the questions the Kansas City Royals are asking heading into 2021. As the Los Angeles Dodgers dig another playoff hole, the ghosts of October past lurk again. The Tampa Bay Rays are making every single play and it has them within a win of the pennant. As the yips haunt José Altuve the Houston Astros’ season reaches the brink. Hal Steinbrenner, like his father before him, apologizes to New York Yankees fans for their early playoff exit. Joe Morgan, former Reds second baseman and Hall of Famer, dead at 77.