Detroit Tigers Top 20 Prospects: How are they Performing

May 23, 2021 - Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Casey Mize delivers a pitch. Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
May 23, 2021 - Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Casey Mize delivers a pitch. Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports /
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Detroit Tigers No. 5 Prospect – Matt Manning, Toledo Mud Hens

2021 Stats: 26.1 IP, 9.23 ERA, 1.67 WHIP, 28 Ks, 8 BB, 27 ER

DI-SAS-TER. Oh my, that is about as ugly a 6 start stat line as you can have. Nothing has gone right for Manning this season. He has struggled with his fastball command and the pitch hasn’t seen the upper ends of his velocity band very often this season. His off-speed stuff has been spotty as well. The combination has led hitters to be absolutely destroying him so far this season to the tune of a .324 average. Honestly, it is the type of performance which could lead you to believe Manning may not be 100% healthy but that is just one persons conjecture.

Detroit Tigers No. 4 Prospect – Casey Mize, Detroit Tigers

2021 Stats: 64.2 IP, 3.34 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 53 Ks, 20 BB, 0.5 WAR

Well, that’s better. Since a dud against the Royals on April 23rd, Mize has been very good. He has six quality starts among his last seven outings and has kept the Tigers firmly in each of those starts. Particularly interesting, are his last two starts. Mize has thrown a total of 12 innings, striking out 13 and not walking anyone. This is the exact type of performance Tigers fans were told to expect when Mize was drafted. He has been victimized by the long ball a bit (but hey, it’s 2021 isn’t everyone?) and his strikeout rate overall isn’t glamourous however the results are there. He will not qualify for the list when it is revised at mid-season but Detroit Tigers fans everywhere would much rather see him throwing in Detroit (and having success) than sitting atop rankings like this one.

Detroit Tigers No. 3 Prospect – Tarik Skubal, Detroit Tigers

2021 Stats: 49.0 IP, 4.59 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 57 Ks, 23 BB, -0.2 WAR

Skubal hasn’t enjoyed the success he had at the end of last season but he also hasn’t been terrible. Elevated pitch counts have left him unable to pitch deep into starts so he has not lasted more than six innings in a start this year (both of those are among his last four however). Part of that is by design his he is a high strikeout pitcher (10.47 K/9) but part of that is also an inefficiency caused mostly by issues with his command. Much like Mize, his recent outings are likely a preview of the best version of Skubal. He has not allowed more than 2 runs and has struck out at least 8 in each outing (hopefully he can last a little longer in those starts at his peak however). Skubal, also, won’t qualify for this list when it is revised.

Detroit Tigers No. 2 Prospect – Spencer Torkelson, West Michigan Whitecaps

2021 Stats: 79, ABs, .241/.392/.443, 4 HRs, 3 SBs, 24 Ks, 19 BBs

Exhale Tigers fans, Torkelson has started hitting the ball. After a frigid start to the season, where Tork was clearly pressing and seemingly doing everything he could to just draw walks, he has started to look more like the elite hitter the Tigers thought they were drafting. All of his home runs have come in the past two weeks and according to reports he is beginning to look much more comfortable at the plate. He now seems to be using his advanced approach to find a pitch to drive as opposed to working to get walked. If he is able to keep this up for another month, Tigers fans everywhere will breath a collective sigh of relief.

(Also, the answer to your question is, yes, the Whitecaps are a ton of fun to watch and you should definitely go to a game!)

Detroit Tigers No. 1 Prospect – Riley Greene, Erie SeaWolves

2021 Stats: 98 ABs, .276/.379/.480, 5 HRs, 9 XBHs, 6 SBs, 31 Ks, 14 BBs

20 year old’s should not be able to do this at the Double-A level. Greene is an exceptional hitter, with an exceptional approach at the plate. He has cemented himself (in my eyes anyway) as the top prospect in the system and among the ten best prospects in the game. His 14 walks and .379 OBP are excellent for anyone let alone someone his age. The five home runs in around a month of play are also ridiculous. To cap it all off, he has played a strong centerfield and it appears he has the ability to play there at least in the early part of his career.