1. Matt Manning
Position: Starting Pitching
2016 Affiliate: Gulf Coast League Tigers West
There is a very real possibility that the Detroit Tigers could have three ace-level pitchers in the future. Michael Fulmer has already pitched like an ace, while Daniel Norris shows flashes of pitching at the same level.
Detroit’s third ace is 2016 first-round pick Matt Manning. Taken ninth overall, the towering right-hander showed extremely well in his first stint in professional baseball.
The right-hander struck out 46 batters while only walking seven in just 29.1 innings pitched. He also held opposing batters to a .237 batting average over the same span. Manning’s 3.99 ERA wasn’t as sparkling as his strikeout rate (14.1 per nine innings), but he was making the transition to professional baseball. What’s more, stats sometimes don’t tell the whole story in terms of prospects.
Armed with a blazing fastball and an excellent power curve, Manning should continue to rack up the strikeouts throughout his minor league career.
Should he live up to his outstanding potential, Manning will be a frontline pitcher for the Tigers. He may not be the actual number one due to the presence of Fulmer and Norris, but he has the upside to pitch like one.