The Four Newest Detroit Tigers

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 29: Three Sumatran Tiger cubs are seen on display at Taronga Zoo on March 29, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. The three Sumatran Tiger cubs were born in January 2019. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 29: Three Sumatran Tiger cubs are seen on display at Taronga Zoo on March 29, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. The three Sumatran Tiger cubs were born in January 2019. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Tigers
Tigers pitcher Matt Manning pitches during the intrasquad game at Comerica Park on Friday, July 10, 2020.Detroit Tigers /

Matt Manning – RHP – 6’6, 215 lbs. – Age 22 – Drafted 1st Round 2016 (9th overall)

A two-sport star in high school, the Detroit Tigers took things a bit slowly with Matt Manning in his first two seasons. Manning is a terrific athlete, but he was somewhat raw as a pitcher, and the organization worked with him to overhaul his mechanics. Early on, the signs were a bit troubling, as he would mix dominant outings with disasters, and his velocity would often fluctuate from start to start.

But in 2018 the gloves came off, and Manning rocketed through three levels, consistently featuring a plus fastball and a plus curveball while carving through opponents. He took another step forward in 2019, showing better command and largely dominating the competition on his way to Eastern League Pitcher of the Year honors. Manning is a consensus top-100 prospect in all of baseball, and some believe he’s the best pitching prospect in the Tigers system.

Manning’s changeup remains a work in progress, and he will likely have to develop a slider or cutter in the future to give him another weapon against big-league hitters. He probably would have seen time in Detroit last summer if not for the strange year and a mild forearm strain, and provided he stays healthy, we’ll almost certainly see him with the Tigers in 2021. He’s the type of pitcher who may struggle for a few years in the Majors, but if everything clicks he could contend for Cy Young awards some day.

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