The Detroit Tigers have a handful of prospects who are entering their pinnacle season in 2018. A step forward could lead them to the big leagues, but a step backward could end their career.
The Detroit Tigers have made no secret about their intention to rebuild over the next few years, aiming for a contention window closer to 2020. The time in between will be used to acquire and develop prospects who can help the team grow into a World Series contender. In the meantime, the team will rely on a few veterans and a handful of average big leaguers to pass the time until the team can contend again.
This is good news for many of the Detroit’s older prospects, who now have a better chance of seeing themselves in a big league uniform. Without players like Ian Kinsler, Justin Upton, J.D. Martinez and Justin Verlander taking up roster space, minor league veterans like Dixon Machado and JaCoby Jones will get a chance to strut their stuff at the big league level.
The Tigers have a select group of older prospects who will enter 2018 on an unspoken “make it or break it” contract for the year. These are prospects who have been in Detroit’s system for a handful of years, yet have not progressed as many expected them to. If these prospects do not show significant strides in the next year, they will likely be booted from the organization, replaced by higher profile prospects who have a better chance of helping the team win in a few years.
However, these prospects also have a great chance to crack the big league roster if they are able to make big strides forward. This is an incredibly important year for these four prospects. Let’s take a look at their current situation and see how we think they will fare in 2018.