The Tigers announced that they’ve selected the contracts of right-handers Matt Manning, Alex Faedo, Alex Lange and left-hander Joey Wentz in advance of tonight’s deadline to protect players from the 2020 Rule 5 Draft.
All four players were top 40 picks in their respective draft classes — Manning and Wentz in 2016, Faedo and Lange in 2017. Manning went ninth overall to the Tigers back in ’16 and stands out not only as one of the organization’s best prospects but one of the best prospects in all of baseball. He checks in at No. 15 on Baseball America’s Top 100 list, No. 18 at FanGraphs and No. 20 at MLB.com.
There was some thought that the 22-year-old Manning might even make his Major League debut for the Tigers in 2020, although that didn’t come to pass. He spent the 2019 season with Detroit’s Double-A affiliate in Erie, where he pitched to a 2.56 ERA with 10.0 K/9 against 2.6 BB/9 through 133 2/3 frames and is viewed as a potential top-of-the-rotation piece alongside fellow top prospect Casey Mize.
Both the 25-year-old Faedo and the 23-year-old Wentz factor prominently into the organization’s prospect rankings, though neither is thought to have the same ceiling as that of Manning, Mize or southpaw Tarik Skubal. Still, both are viewed as near-MLB prospects who could fill spots in the middle or back of a rotation. Wentz, acquired from the Braves in the trade that sent Shane Greene from Detroit to Atlanta, will be further off by virtue of the fact that he is on the mend from 2020 Tommy John surgery.
The Tigers picked up Lange, 25, in the trade that sent Nick Castellanos to the Cubs back in 2019. He’s a bit further off than Faedo despite being the same age, as he has just 54 2/3 frames at the Double-A level under his belt and has shown some control issues while pitching there. Still, it’s conceivable that any of Manning, Faedo or Lange could make their big league debuts next season, depending on their progress in the upper minors and on the state of the Detroit rotation. This quartet, paired with the aforementioned Mize, Skubal and righty Franklin Perez, represents but a portion of the deep reservoir of talented young arms the Tigers have stockpiled to this point in their rebuilding efforts.