Detroit Tigers: Three prospects likely for a 2020 debut on taxi squad
Due to the possibility of expanded rosters and the so-called “Taxi Squad,” it looks like a few more Detroit Tigers prospects may get the call to contribute at the major league level this summer, should we have a baseball season. Here are three members currently ranked inside the Tigers Top 30 on MLB Pipeline who should make their big-league debut sometime in 2020:
1. Daz Cameron, Ranked No. 7 Detroit Tigers Prospect on MLB Pipeline Top 30
Considering he gives a handshake that would make Adrian Peterson jealous, he may have been gripping his bat too tightly last year. Cameron entered the season ranked as the Detroit Tigers #3 prospect by the folks at Fangraphs heading into 2019.
A steep learning curve during his first full-season in Toledo overshadowed his terrific performance in 2019 Spring Training, but Cameron carries a tantalizing skill set. ‘Daz’ has increased his walk rate every season since 2016, and despite hitting just .214 last season, finished with an on-base percentage only .13 points lower (.330) than his previous season (.343).
I’d expect his batting average to bounce back and the walk rate to sustain in making Cameron a well-rounded big-league contributor at some point in 2020.
2. Alex Faedo, Ranked No. 9 Detroit Tigers Prospect on MLB Pipeline Top 30
As you’ll read later in this piece, Faedo is the only member of Erie’s vaunted pitching rotation I could envision spending some time in Detroit this summer. The separating factor for the 2017 first-rounder is his age, as he’ll turn 25 shortly after the season. Given that the other big-time pitching prospects this organization are younger and at earlier stages in their development, I’d be tempted to let the former Florida Gator have the first shot.
3. Kyle Funkhouser, Ranked No. 26 Detroit Tigers Prospect on MLB Pipeline Top 30
Not to be confused with “Marty” from Curb Your Enthusiasm, Kyle Funkhouser has shown big-league ability at multiple levels of the minor leagues. In a 2019 season that “Funk” struggled to stay healthy, it’s easy to envision improvement in 2020. If his command improves back to the level we saw before his time in Toledo; the 26-year old should move quickly to Detroit thanks to the expanded rosters.
Addressing The ‘Big Three’
You probably notice the lack of any of the big-three pitching prospects (Casey Mize, Matt Manning, and Tarik Skubal) on this list. That’s for several reasons. First, many of them have yet to pitch above Double-A.
As we saw with former first-rounder Beau Burrows in 2019, the jump from Double to Triple-A can be a steep learning curve. Mize is considered one of the top two Tigers prospects, but his struggles after the 2019 Eastern League All-Star break may warrant the club to exercise caution.
Mize, along with Matt Manning and Tarik Skubal, the presence of COVID-19 throws a significant wrench into the idea of bringing them to the big leagues in 2020. Ideally, all three would’ve likely begun the season in Toledo, and whoever performed worthy of promoting could get the call.
It will become immensely difficult for anyone so crucial to the club’s future to prove themselves ready for the jump with an abbreviated season. Mize, Manning, and Skubal are as critically important to this rebuild as any other player, that club cannot afford for them to look out of place once they’re in Detroit.
Do you think the ‘big three’ prospects should be in Detroit this season? Is there anyone else who deserves a shot in Detroit this year? Leave a comment below and find me on Twitter at @ThatDanHasty.
Until next time,