Detroit Tigers: Reacting to MLB Pipeline’s Updated Prospect Rankings

Riley Greene congratulates Spencer Torkelson. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Riley Greene congratulates Spencer Torkelson. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

MLB Pipeline updated their prospect list for the Detroit Tigers recently; with major shuffling and new additions galore

What MLB Pipeline can do with a couple of guys is remarkable. I’ve learned that covering a single team can be challenging, let alone 30. But that is exactly what Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis do, and yesterday, they came out with their updated top 30 for the Detroit Tigers and also released a fresh top 100 across the league.

Aggressive movement both up-and-down, as well as the fresh crop of youngsters, makes for loads of entertainment and more opportunities to dissect their decisions.

Matt Manning graduates

I wrote about how the farm system is changing complexion earlier this year and many of those predictions have come to pass. Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal, Isaac Paredes, Akil Baddoo, Kyle Funkhouser, Zack Short, and now Matt Manning have all graduated, with Manning as the most recent drop-off.

Matt Manning was a top-50 prospect in all of baseball according to most publications, so his departure officially turns the system from pitching-heavy at the top to position player heavy, although three of their 2021 pitching draftees have snuck into the top-10.

The Omissions

  • Daz Cameron should have about 15 ABs before he graduates from prospect status. I get that it is likely due to prospect fatigue and he has not established himself in the big leagues like some of his counterparts, but I do feel Daz should still be on the top 30 somewhere.
  • Zack Hess once had the makings of a potential back-end arm out of a Detroit Tigers bullpen, but his upper-90’s fastball is more in the low 90’s these days with 26 walks in 39.2 innings. I tend to be low on relievers considering the lack of impact they make on the game anyway, so I understand this decision.
  • Wenceel Perez was once thought to be a swift defender with some feel for the barrel, but neither has come to fruition in 2021. Perez has a .654 OPS this season and has shown inconsistent with the glove at shortstop and second base.

The Additions

  • Fans got what they wanted in seeing Jacob Robson get his shot in the major leagues. It’s a pretty incredible story for the former 8th rounder and he’s now filling out the Role 30 profile most scouts have tagged him with. He checks in at 29th on the updated list.
  • Beau Brieske was a name that caught my eye early in 2021. I was able to sit in on a series at West Michigan this spring and Brieske was the first starter I got eyes on. Since then he’s blown up with accolades and articles touting his ability. It’s a touch-and-feel arsenal; his fastball isn’t overpowering but can touch 94 and he’s shown some command. Most impressive was his changeup; a pitch most at the High-A level do not have his type of feel for. He cracks the list at 28.
  • Tanner Kohlhepp is one of many of the interesting hurlers from the 2021 draft. He’s clipped 99 with his fastball and pitched to a 3.08 ERA for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in 2021. He checks in at 27th on the updated list.
  • Reese Olson was acquired from the Brewers in the Daniel Norris trade and checks in at #11 on their updated ranking. Olson was off most Brewers’ lists completely heading into the season, but his velocity spike and changeup, which he feels is his best pitch, has propelled him on boards recently. He has not allowed a run in two starts since his arrival.
  • Dylan Smith is a polished college arm who had a breakout season with Alabama in 2021. He isn’t likely to throw this season, but he checks in 7th on the updated rankings. Smith is the first top-10 pitching prospect out of the University of Alabama since Spencer Turnbull.
  • Izaac Pacheco was the high-upside prospect of their draft and they went over-slot in the second round to get him. Pacheco burst on the scene his first few pro games but has since cooled off: .256/.370/.385 now. He checks in at #6
  • Ty Madden was projected as a first-round pick by draft analysts but the Detroit Tigers were able to get him with their second pick in the competitive balance round of the draft. Madden is primarily fastball/slider with his arsenal but some scouts have seen his changeup and actually like it. He is not likely to pitch this season but figures to be a quick mover once his pro career begins in 2022. He’s #5.
  • Jackson Jobe was the third overall pick and slides in at #3 on the updated ranking. Jobe has not pitched as a pro yet and given the lay-off, he may not throw at all this season. He gets high marks for his advanced feel for pitching and his slider which shows elite spin characteristics.

The Surprises

  • Torkelson over Greene to me remains a surprise, but Pipeline is known to stick to their guns and they have always been ultra-high on Spencer Torkelson. It’s nothing against Torkelson for me, I have just grown to appreciate Greene’s game so much throughout his minor league body of work.
  • Ryan Kreidler’s #10 ranking felt a bit aggressive to me but he’s continued his power surge at Triple-A with two home runs his first two games. There is still some swing-and-miss to his game and although I think he’s fine at shortstop, I’m probably not as bullish on the defense as some others.
  • Derek Hill’s contributions at the major leagues have propelled him to 17th on the fresh ranks. He figures to graduate soon, but the energy he brings should not be understated for the Detroit Tigers.
  • Trei Cruz is slashing .166/.341/.596 in 2021 and received a demotion from High-A this season. There is some swing and miss with his profile, especially considering his slap approach. I wasn’t sold on his arm at short either, so his #21 ranking came as a mild surprise.

Next. MCB's Updated Top-20 Detroit Tigers Prospects. dark