Detroit Tigers 2019 Preseason Top 10

Daz Cameron
Daz Cameron in AFL. Courtesy: Aaron Whelan

1)

Player: Casey Mize
Position(s): RHP Opening Day Age: 21 2018 Highest Level: High A
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’3” Weight: 220 lbs.
Quick Report: The number one overall pick a year ago, Mize has fewer than 14 pro innings under his belt so this will really be the year he leaps onto the Minor League Baseball scene. His best pitch is easily his splitter, which may be the best splitter in baseball period. His fastball can sit into the mid-90s and has a good cutting slider. He demonstrated good body control and his lower 3/4 slot helps ensure every pitch he throws has movement on it. There is some effort right at the point of release that leaves a mild concern, but it won’t be a surprise to see him at the front of the Tigers rotation before long.

2)

Player: Matt Manning
Position(s): RHP Opening Day Age: 21 2018 Highest Level: AA
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’6” Weight: 190 lbs.
Quick Report: The son of a former NBA player, Manning has the length and extension of a basketball player allowing his fastball to play as plus even when it tops out in the mid-90s. His best secondary option by far is his big curve that gets plenty of swings and misses. The delivery is inconsistent and there is an awful lot of head whip at the delivery at times, while it remains calm at other times. Overall, he has plenty of upside and really broke out in 2018, but I expect a more modest season this year, staying at AA all season, before getting the opportunity to earn a big league spot sometime in 2020.

3)

Player: Isaac Paredes
Position(s): SS/3B Opening Day Age: 20 2018 Highest Level: AA
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 5’11” Weight: 225 lbs.
Quick Report: Where Paredes will ultimately play is still up for debate, but the bat isn’t. He has a very strong build that should end up producing above average power while keeping a very smart, advanced approach at the plate. He put up good numbers in AA and the Mexican Winter League at just 19 years old this past season and could play his way to the big leagues this year. To do so, he will need to prove he can hit for power beyond just the pull side, but the strong arm and good hands make him a versatile defender that could have him seeing time at all infield positions.

4)

Player: Daz Cameron
Position(s): OF Opening Day Age: 22 2018 Highest Level: AAA
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’2” Weight: 195 lbs.
Quick Report: Like his dad Mike, Daz is a natural center fielder with good wheels and a solid bat. His bat improved this past season after really struggling early in his pro career, but the power is still rather limited. On the bases he is a real threat, where he easily stretches singles into doubles and moves first to third better than most, while showing good jumps that allow him to steal plenty of bags. Worst case, he is a plus defender in center and hits in the bottom of the lineup, best case the bat breaks through and he is a quality leadoff or two-hole hitter.

5)

Player: Franklin Perez
Position(s): RHP Opening Day Age: 21 2018 Highest Level: High A
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’3” Weight: 197 lbs.
Quick Report: Based on pure stuff, Perez could easily be number two or three on this list, but the durability has become a real concern. He was out until June with a lat strain, put in almost 20 innings before being shut down again with shoulder trouble. The delivery is repeatable, so there is hope the arm concerns are just a one season thing, but two injuries in the same season is always worth taking not of. His fastball is generally a low-90s offering with some run, while his curve is a genuine plus pitch. He has good command of a dipping change and has started to work in a slider. Overall, Perez could become a number two or three starter and this year will be an important one in his development.

6)

Player: Beau Burrows
Position(s): RHP Opening Day Age: 22 2018 Highest Level: AA
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’2” Weight: 200 lbs.
Quick Report: A fastball first pitcher, Burrows has shown flashes of putting it all together, but still has plenty of work to become a complete pitcher. His curve can be a plus pitch at times that pairs well with a fastball that is heavier than the radar guns would suggest. His slider, change, and command are still below average and there is some thought he may end up a reliever thanks to the short arm delivery. If the change and/or slider become reliable, he could be a guy that works his way into a contributor in a big league rotation, although there is probably a higher likelihood he turns out to be a high leverage reliever.

7)

Player: Alex Faedo
Position(s): RHP Opening Day Age: 23 2018 Highest Level: AA
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’5” Weight: 230 lbs.
Quick Report: Another in the long line of quality pitchers out of the University of Florida currently in Minor League Baseball, Faedo did not make his pro debut until last season, where he struggled at times. He gave up 18 home runs in 121 innings, 15 of those coming in just 60 innings after being promoted to AA. Coming out of Florida he had a plus fastball and slider, although neither have been up to the standards he set in college. His fastball was in the low-90s rather than the mid-90s we saw in college, and the slider was more average than plus. He does have good command and a decent change, so there is still plenty of hope he becomes a quality starter. If he bounces back to his collegiate form, Faedo could rocket back towards the top of the Tigers’ prospect list, but there is always some concern after pitchers handle such a heavy workload in the CWS and proceed to struggle after.

8)

Player: Jake Rogers
Position(s): C Opening Day Age: 23 2018 Highest Level: AA
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’1” Weight: 190 lbs.
Quick Report: If you haven’t heard me say it before I will provide some insight into my prospect kryptonite, I love me some defensive catchers. I truly believe a quality receiver with command of a pitching staff and ability to control the running game is something truly underrated in baseball, and Rogers fits that mold perfectly. The third piece of the Justin Verlander trade back in 2017 (the other two being Daz Cameron and Franklin Perez, both in the top half of this list), Rogers could have the biggest long-term impact. In order to do so, he will need to improve the contact rate as he strikes out far too often, although there is some real pop in the bat that could increase his value in a lineup. Either way, his defense alone is enough to make him a future timeshare catcher in the big leagues.

9)

Player: Christin Stewart
Position(s): OF Opening Day Age: 25 2018 Highest Level: MLB
Bats: Left Throws: Right Height: 6’ Weight: 205 lbs.
Quick Report: Already making the Tigers sit up and take notice this Spring, Stewart is looking to lock down the opening day left field job. He can be a liability in the outfield and may primarily be a DH in the future, but he has plus raw power. Add to that a good eye at the plate that saw his OBP better than 100 points higher than his average last season, and you have a guy that can really impact the game at the plate. There is plenty of swing and miss in his game, so he will end up high on the three true outcomes lists, the amount of contact he can make long term will determine if he is a platoon bat or an impact bat.

10)

Player: Parker Meadows
Position(s): OF Opening Day Age: 19 2018 Highest Level: Short A
Bats: Left Throws: Right Height: 6’5” Weight: 185 lbs.
Quick Report: The younger brother of Austin Meadows, Parker was the top pick of the second round a season ago. The carrying tool at the plate will be his raw power that could be enough to be a 25+ HR guy in the future, although the length in the swing leads to a lot of swing-and-miss. In the field, he can cover a lot of ground and will likely be able to stick in center. If he does have to eventually move to a corner, his plus arm is more than enough to make him an elite fielding right fielder and more than enough power at the plate to fit there as well.

Others of Note:

Willi Castro – SS – 21 – AAA
Kyle Funkhouser – RHP – 24 – AAA
Wenceel Perez – SS – 19 – Low A
Kody Clemens – 2B – 22 – High A

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