Keith Law dropped his top 100 prospect rankings for the 2020 season at The Athletic earlier this week, and four Detroit Tigers players rank among the top 50 (well, 41) prospects in baseball. Those four — Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal, Matt Manning, and Riley Greene — were the only Tigers players on Law’s list, and the only four to appear on every top 100 list so far.
Mize is the first Tigers player to appear on the list, landing at No. 20 overall. Law noted that Mize “was pushing [Mackenzie] Gore for the title of best pitching prospect in the minors” before he was sidetracked by injuries in 2019, and praises Mize’s “three plus pitches,” led by his devastating splitter. Mize struggled in his first appearance this spring, but most of his issues seem related to fastball command, something he has plenty of time to iron out before the season.
Next on Law’s list was not righthander Matt Manning, but rather lefty Tarik Skubal, who has vaulted into top 50 consideration across all publications this year. Law thinks Skubal will be an above-average starter thanks to “a plus fastball up to 97 and a plus curveball, and...a slider and a solid-average changeup that has helped him get right-handed batters about as well as lefties.” Skubal’s 2019 accomplishments are well-known around these parts, and it’s nice to see the rest of baseball taking notice of the talented southpaw.
Not far behind Skubal is Manning, at No. 31 overall, who Law says “would be the top pitching prospect in about twenty organizations.” He went further, detailing how Manning has become “a more complete pitcher” with control that has developed to “somewhere close to major-league average.”
Outfielder Riley Greene is fourth in the organization, and No. 41 on Law’s top 100. “He’s a hitter first but projects to above-average to plus power,” Law says, “probably a 20- to 25-homer guy with high averages in the end.” Law also notes that Greene “is going to end up in left due to his lack of speed and fringy arm, although with work he could be at least a neutral defender out there.”
Law also released his team rankings on Thursday, and the four prospects above are, unsurprisingly, the top four names in the Tigers’ system. Infielder Isaac Paredes, who has gotten some top 100-ish love on other lists — Baseball America had him right at No. 100, and FanGraphs ranked him 120th — is ranked fifth among Tigers prospects, with Willi Castro, Parker Meadows, Joey Wentz, Daz Cameron, and 2019 second round pick Nick Quintana rounding out the top 10.