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Detroit Tigers 2021 Top MLB Prospects Mailbag

Our Tigers Top 10 for 2021 is here!

Logan Field (Mi):

     Hey Emily this is an awesome list. I’m glad you got to the the Tigers top 10. How close was the Skubal/Mize/Manning rankings? How did you come to consumption to go with Skubal over Mize? Was it particularly because Skubal was better than Mize in the MLB? Also, thoughts on Riley Greene? I’ve heard great things about him. I’m glad you got the tigers list bc I know you are so knowledgeable!! Do u know if the tigers will have a competitive balance round A pick this year? I thought comp a and b alternative each year and tigers had a comp b last year. Thank you so much!

Emily Waldon: Great question, Logan and thanks for reading! This Top 10 was incredibly challenging! For the Tigers, that's a great problem to have! My decision on Skubal came from a lot of conversation with scouts and coming to the conclusion that Skubal's durability, combined with his overall mix is viewed as stronger going forward.

Ken (Lakewood CA):

     The Tigers do have the makings of a good young team. How much of a separation for you is there between Manning, Skubal and Mize? How much concern is there for Mize after having a shoulder issue?

Emily Waldon: The concern with Mize was legitimate, considering his draft slot investment, but no lingering concerns since then. His long-term durability has been called into question, but scouts still view him as a sound front-end rotation piece.

Jonathan (OH):

     How is Daz progressing? What do you see as his future role with the Tigers? I'm still holding out hope he can be an everyday OF for Detroit.

Emily Waldon: For Daz, it just depends on how well he will be able to set himself apart at the plate. With the outfield pipeline getting stronger for Detroit, the competition he'll face isn't going to get any easier. Defensively, he's just fine, but he'll need to hit to earn a starting role.

Brad (MI):

     Should us fans be concerned about the lack of athletes in the middle of the filed not matching up the time frame of our power arms/bats?

Emily Waldon: There are still some obvious gaps to fill at the Major League level. The 2020 draft class gives some sound options for further down the road, but I'd expect Avila and company to target some free agents as a filler to buy them some development time for the younger bats coming up.

Zak (RI):

     Hello Emily, thanks for taking questions. I was somewhat disappointed that Jake Rogers didn't get to see any MLB action in 2020. Do you know why and with Dingler added, what do you think the Tigers will do with him?

Emily Waldon: While the Tigers like Rogers a lot, his hitting really struggled in 2020, leading the team to move him back to the alternate site. That was the primary concern when Rogers came over from the Astros and he'll need to show he can right this issue if he wants to stick as a starter. Dingler is really exciting. He'll need some more time before challenging Rogers, but expect him to move quickly, once he gets his feet under him in the minors.

Zak (RI):

     I'm a little surprised to not see Franklin Perez in the top 10. He was finally healthy in 2020, but I'm curious to see how he looked at the alternate training site

Emily Waldon: The most infuriating thing about Franklin Perez is that the Tigers' fan base has never seen him pitch mix at full strength. Scouts believe he could still make an impact, but his lack of durability isn't selling him as a starter anymore.

Zak (RI):

     Any news on Parker Meadows? I know he wasn't at the alternate site, but curious to see if you've heard anything new

Emily Waldon: Parker saw time at Instructional League and impressed the scouts I spoke with. One scout mentioned a shortened swing, which is a promising sign for someone with so much arm and leg to work with. Scouts still believe he has time to develop, but it's not going to happen overnight.

Alan (NC):

     What's the current outlook and ETA for Franklin Perez? Thanks!

Emily Waldon: At this point, while his arsenal is still very impressive, scouts don't see enough durability there to work as a starter. If his health remains intact, he's likely headed for a relief role.

John (MI):

     With Tork and Workman now in the system does Isaac Paredes have a home on the infield?

Emily Waldon: Just like with the outfield competition, the infield will come down to offensive production, in my opinion. The Tigers are lacking impact bats enough to where if you can produce consistently at the plate, your odds of earning a starting slot are much higher.

Justin (Tucson, AZ):

     How close was Gage Workman and was there any interesting perspectives that scouts gave once he arrived at camp?

Emily Waldon: I'm a bit fan of Gage. One scout referred to him as a "borderline star." He just missed the cut, but only due to such a challenging setup for the 2020 class. Scouts have really liked what they've seen so far and I expect we'll all have a much better taste in 2021.

Joe (Tennessee):

     Willi Castro was a very pleasant surprise for a system that seemed to lack a legitimate shortstop. Is he the answer at short or are there other shortstop prospects coming in 2021/2022?

Emily Waldon: Castro was a breath of fresh air for Detroit in 2020. Unless Detroit chooses to target a bigger name SS option, I think Castro will have some job security there for the time being, especially if he's able to continue hitting the way he did in 2020.

Warren (New London):

     Spencer Torkelson's profile reminds me of Pat Burrell's at the same stage. Pat Burrell helped the Phillies win a lot of games, and also helped the Giants, but I expect that the Tigers would regard that as a mildly disappointing outcome. How confident are you in his bat?

Emily Waldon: I think Torkelson will come as advertised, but he'll need time to adjust to a new scene, which is always to be expected. The transition from facing collegiate pitching to pitching in the minors takes time. Torkelson's maturity and level head should make that transition fairly seamless, and scouts don't foresee any challenges for him. He has the resume and scouts believe he'll live up to the expectation.

J (Michigan):

     I really liked the Tigers approach to the 2020 draft. Taking college bats and high ceiling high school players is a nice change from relievers and low ceiling but high floor SEC pitchers. Can we expect more of the same or was that a 5 round outlier?

Emily Waldon: The Tigers did an excellent job in 2020. I think it came down to recognizing the obvious need to obtain more bats and choosing to pursue that. I think we'll see more of the same in 2021, but don't be surprised if they chase an arm or two, depending on what the class has to offer.

Stan (Montana):

     Riley Greene appears on the fast,can we expect to see him by the end of this year assuming there's a somewhat normal minor league season?

Emily Waldon: Riley was one of the most impressive prospects for me in 2019, purely due to how he handled so much movement as such a youngster. By the time he reached Class A, he was running on fumes but still managed to seriously impress everyone. I fully expect him to move quickly and wouldn't be surprised to see him begin 2021 in High-A at minimum.

J (Madison Heights, MI):

     The top tier of arms is strong. How do you feel about the depth after the top tier? Can one of Perez, Faedo, or Wentz be a starter? How about the lower levels? Is there a drop off?

Emily Waldon: The Tigers are in a position where decisions are needing to be made on moving arms to the bullpen. It's a good problem to have. Perez lacks the durability for a starter and scouts are still not fully sold on Faedo as a starter, thinking a front-end relief role may suit him better. I believe Wentz still has the profile of a starter, but we'll know better in watching how he gets through his rehabilitation.

J (Detroit):

     If you had to pick one of the once hyped middle infielders in the minor to bust out and become a regular, who would it be? (Kody Clemens, Wenceel Perez etc)? Is there anyone who could be come an impact player at SS (Adinso Reyes, Trei Cruz, Christian Santana)?

Emily Waldon: The challenge of Detroit's infield pipeline is how many of them are solid defenders, but can't quite seem to tip over the edge when it comes to offensive production, ie: the names you mentioned above. Of that group, scouts like Clemens as an off-the-bench defender with enough feel at the plate to contribute. Wenceel really just needs to mature. He's spun his wheels for a while and I think the organization is beginning to watch a ticking clock. Of the up-and-comers, Reyes is someone I'm very excited to see. It's a very raw profile, but that level of natural instinct at such a young age is absolutely worth paying attention to as he continues to develop.

Larry (MI):

     I note in Baseball America's "top prospects" how many teams have a significant number of rising stars from the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. The Tigers seem to lag well behind others in the scouting and signing the best prospects from Latin America. I believe Paredes is their only Top10 prospect from Latin America, and while he seems to have some promise as a hitter, he lacks speed and is at best an adequate defender at 3rd. What are your thoughts about Tigers and Latin American prospects?

Emily Waldon: The Tigers don't have the same reputation for taking advantage of the international market as a lot of organizations, but I'm starting to see a few more key signings during the international signing period than I have in the past. I think Detroit sees the value in it and if they want to continue to bolster that pipeline, you don't have a choice, other than to be as aggressive if you hope to match pace with the rest of the league.

Larry (MI):

     The B.A. possible 2024 Tigers lineup has some curious choices. Goodrum at 2B? Do you agree with that? I would hope that one of the recent draft picks would beat him out. Paredes at 3B? He seems, even as young as he is, like a DH. What about Clemens, Workman, Cruz, Keith in the infield? Also, what about Daniel Cabrera in the OF? Meadows?

Emily Waldon: Fun fact, I put that list together, so yes :-) That list is a very loose projection. We are very aware of what could change between now and then and with the Tigers' pipeline developing at the pace it is, someone could easily fast track and win a slot. I expect the 2020 class to absolutely make some noise.

Jordan (Wis):

     Great list! Favorite not top 10 prospects?

Emily Waldon: You'll have to wait and see when the rest of my list comes out later on! Thanks for reading, Jordan!

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