A rough three-season stretch for the Detroit Tigers has produced at least one silver lining: a burgeoning farm system.
That system now is No. 6 in baseball, according to Baseball America’s midseason rankings published Wednesday.
That’s a five-spot climb from the preseason rankings, and continues a gradual ascent since 2015, when Baseball America ranked the Tigers’ system 30th. The system ranked 15th heading into the 2019 season.
Of course, three seasons averaging 103 losses is going to produce high draft picks to bolster the farm. That’s no different for the Tigers, who have sandwiched No. 1 overall picks Casey Mize (2018) and Spencer Torkelson (2020) around outfielder Riley Greene, selected No. 5 overall in 2019.
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“The Tigers added a foundational hitter when they selected Spencer Torkelson with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 draft,” Baseball America writes. “Three consecutive top-five draft picks has given the Tigers a group of potential future stars at the top of their system, although the system’s depth is still somewhat lacking.”
All three are part of the Tigers’ 30-member taxi squad in Toledo, with Mize a consideration to crack the major-league starting rotation at some point and the 19-year-old Greene turning in highlight-reel grabs in the outfield during summer camp against big-league competition.
Mize was a combined 8-3 with a 2.55 ERA and 0.94 WHIP across Single-A Lakeland and Double-A Erie last season, tossing a no-hitter in his debut with the SeaWolves.
Greene hit a combined .271 with a .749 OPS in 221 at-bats across three stops in 2019, capping his season at Single-A West Michigan. Sixteen of his 60 hits when for extra bases, including five home runs.
The Tampa Bay Rays top Baseball America’s rankings, holding on to the spot they occupied in the preseason rankings.