Detroit Tigers drop to No. 24 in ESPN’s farm system rankings; here are their top prospects

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Tigers‘ high spending this offseason hasn’t really paid off.

While the organization’s top prospects have made it to the pros, the Tigers (43-67) are second to last in the American League and at the bottom of the AL Central Division.

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And now, the Tigers are near the bottom of another list as ESPN unveiled Monday its farm system rankings for all 30 teams after the MLB trade deadline.

The Tigers, who ranked No. 13 with a value of $221 million in ESPN’s preseason farm system ranking, now are No. 24 with a value of $129 million. Only the Chicago White Sox, ranked at No. 29 with $76 million, rank lower among AL Central teams.

Kiley McDaniel, ESPN’s MLB Insider, comprised the list of dollar values by taking the “expected big league output on average by each tier of prospect, converted that to dollars using teams’ free agency spending history, and then subtracted the projected salary they would be paid in the big leagues to yield a surplus value.”

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The Baltimore Orioles held the No. 1 spot with a $351 million value in McDaniel’s ranking, followed by the Cleveland Guardians, Tampa Bay Rays, Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Mets in the top five.

Detroit’s lackluster moves before the MLB’s trade deadline was another factor into its ranking, McDaniel wrote.

“CF Riley Greene, 1B Spencer Torkelson and RHP Alex Faedo are the graduates this year, though in recent years potential cornerstone arms in Casey Mize, Matt Manning and Tarik Skubal all graduated, which is how the system has fallen this far,” McDaniel wrote. “In terms of positives, I liked 2B Jace Jung and SS Peyton Graham as their top two picks and SS Colt Keith made the jump into Top 100 territory this year, but early returns on Jackson Jobe have been mixed at best.

“The organization’s hopes are now on players not eligible for this list anymore.”

Greene, the fifth overall pick in 2019, has been a bright spot for the Tigers this season. The 21-year-old has hit .230 in 180 at-bats with two home runs, 20 RBIs and a .356 slugging percentage.

Faedo, the No. 18 pick in the 2017 draft, has played 12 games in 2022, notching a 5.56 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 53.2 innings pitched. He’s 1-5 on the season and was 13-18 in the minor league.

After hitting .197 with 11 doubles and five home runs in 264 at-bats over 82 games, Torkelson was sent to Triple-A Toledo on July 17. The 22-year-old was the No. 1 overall pick in 2020, there’s still no timetable for his return to the Tigers.

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Detroit added Jung, the No. 99 best prospect by ranked the Baseball America, and Graham in the first and second rounds, respectively, in June’s draft. In two games with the West Michigan Whitecaps, Jung’s hit .125 in eight at-bats with one homer. Graham’s hit .286 in seven at-bats with two home runs in two games with the Lakeland Flying Tigers.

Other top prospects for the Tigers include right-handed pitchers Jackson Jobe, the No. 3 pick in the 2021 draft, and Wilmer Flores. Jobe, ranked No. 74 by Baseball America, has a 4.67 ERA and 62 strikeouts across 54 innings in the minor leagues. Flores is ranked No. 95 and has a 2.87 ERA and 183 strikeouts in 134⅔ innings in the minors.

Chandler Engelbrecht is a reporting intern at the Detroit Free Press and can be reached at CEngelbrecht@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @ctengelbrecht.

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