A Look At The Detroit Tigers’ Immediate Minor League Depth

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July 14, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers first baseman Victor Martinez (41) third baseman Miguel Cabrera (24) shortstop Jhonny Peralta (27) and second baseman Hernan Perez (26) look towards the Texas Rangers dugout during a pitching change in the ninth inning at Comerica Park. Detroit won 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Rarely (never) do teams make it through the 162 game grind without needing to dip into the minor leagues to steal a player for at least a few days here or there, so it’s important to have players stashed away who could do the job in the big leagues. Team depth isn’t just about the three-to-five guys sitting on the bench on any given day, it’s about the relative quality of replacement players available in the upper minors.

We’re not talking about secret All-Stars here or even productive everyday big leaguers (or else why aren’t they on your team already?), we’re mostly talking about players who simply wouldn’t be a huge negative in the major leagues. There’s no one in the system to fully replace any starters should a devastating injury occur, but the hope is that a few guys exist who could at least not ruin things for the rest of the team.

What follows is a look at to whom the Tigers might turn (internally, at least) if they had to battle the injury bug at each position (with their 2013 level(s) with the Tigers in parenthesis). The relative depth chart could all change quickly through the spring as players show off their development (or lack thereof).

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Tags: Detroit Tigers

  • Yuma 3:10

    Thanks for this Matt. Very informative. I knew the minor league system was not exactly bursting with high end prospects just waiting to make an impact….but this analysis really shows how bare the cupboard really is doesn’t it? I do not think it looks very pretty at all. Now that Nick C is on the big club, I mean we basically have no positional player or maybe even pitcher that would be considered above replacement level, or at least much more than marginally above replacement level. This is really concerning me. How to you feel this will affect the organization at the big league level in the next 3 or 4 years?

    • http://tomaroonandgold.blogspot.com Matt Snyder

      I think things could look completely different in 3-4. That’s not to say that they’ll have a bunch of talent graduating to the big leagues, but in that time you could have a few of McCann, Travis, Suarez, Fields, Moya, or Tyler Collins contributing something in the big leagues. Probably not an all-star in the group, but maybe a couple become solid regulars. Starting pitching could hopefully offer more promise, but they’ll have to supplement the lineup with free agents and trades (as they’ve done in the past as well).

  • Will Snyder

    I’ll be very curious to see what the Tigers will do with Devon Travis, especially now that the team has acquired Ian Kinsler. Will they try to turn him into an outfielder or just see if he can be a super-sub? There are many who automatically assume Perez is ahead of Travis on the Tigers’ pecking order, but my gut reaction about Hernan is that he seems to be another Sanitago. But Travis? I think some are scared off because he’s only 5-foot-9. But he hit a combined .351 with impressive power and SB stats in two rather large minor league parks. Throw in that he went to a good baseball school (Florida State) and I think he’s a real sleeper by late 2014.

    • Barry2

      Can any of these 2B be converted to 3B?

    • http://tomaroonandgold.blogspot.com Matt Snyder

      Very interested in Travis who hit 16 bombs, didn’t strike out much, and showed a decent eye at the plate. Not a big guy, not a lot of speed, not a plus plus defender, but he absolutely ripped the ball. We’ll have to see what he does in the high minors.

  • chrisHannum

    I’m sure Miguel Cabrera must at least be above “guy who was just DFA” at 3rd base… I’d also mention that some of the guys not even worth mentioning might look better a couple of months into the season. They don’t right now, though, do they?

    • http://tomaroonandgold.blogspot.com Matt Snyder

      I mean, yeah, they could go back to Miggy playing 3B if they really needed to, with Lennerton filling in at 1B.

  • Barry2

    Great article, are you doing the pitching depth next?

  • Tim OConnor

    I think the state of our current minor league affiliates is more a reflection of just how bad a situation Dombrowski walked into when he became our GM. We’ve had almost no alternatives to trading our top draft picks for established talent. But you can’t play that game forever.

    My big fear is that they will make Mr. Dombrowski the next commissioner. I think he’s a very good GM, myself. Perfect? Course not. Who is? But he has turned this franchise around from being a running joke to a perennial contender.

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