Detroit Tigers: Nine Under the Radar Prospects to Watch in 2017
Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila has set about rebuilding the team’s minor league system. So far it has been a success. Here are some under the radar prospects to keep an eye on for 2017.
Detroit Tigers minor league affiliates haven’t exactly been the gold standard of producing Major League talent as of late.
Sure, Nick Castellanos, James McCann and Bruce Rondon have established themselves as intregal parts of Detroit’s current roster, but most of the team started their respective careers elsewhere.
From Miguel Cabrera to Andrew Romine and Michael Fulmer to Blaine Hardy, many prominent Tigers were drafted or signed by other organizations. This has forced Detroit to dip into its own farm system to acquire said players.
Initially, the strategy worked.
Cabrera was acquired for Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller and package of other players. However, neither Maybin nor Miller stuck in Florida.
Both have come into their own in recent seasons, but the Tigers came away the obvious winners. What’s more, Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez, Omar Infante and Jose Iglesias came over in similarly lopsided deals.
However, there have been some recent deals that have clearly hurt Detroit’s farm system.
Dealing Devon Travis (5.3 WAR in 163 games for Toronto) for Anthony Gose was a misfire, as was dealing David Paulino (ranked as Houston’s fourth best prospect by MLB.com) for a half season of Jose Veras.
Since becoming general manager, Al Avila has focused on keeping Detroit’s premier prospects in the system, opting to develop them instead of move them for Major League upgrades.
While the likes of Matt Manning, Joe Jimenez, Beau Burrows and Mike Gerber all likely to contribute to the Tigers down the line, Detroit is set up well for the future. However, the team may be even better off should some of the other players in the system develop.
Manning and Burrows, along with Kyle Funkhouser, Derek Hill and Christin Stewart all came in as high draft picks. They were expected to, and have become some of the organization’s best prospects.
However, players like Jimenez, Gerber and Jose Azocar didn’t enter with as much fanfare. The trio have done nothing but produce in the minors and have vaulted themselves into the discussion regarding Detroit’s best hopes for the future.
There are likely to be more players like those three in the coming seasons. While the following players may not make their Major League debut in 2017, they’re worth keeping an eye on next year.