Where Detroit Tigers rank on MLB Pipeline, Baseball America prospect lists for 2023

Detroit Free Press

Three Detroit Tigers players were named to prospect lists this offseason.

Right-handed pitcher Jackson Jobe ranked No. 83 as the only representative of the Tigers on Baseball America’s top 100. On MLB Pipeline, Jobe came in No. 63 on MLB Pipeline, with second baseman Jace Jung at No. 83 and right-hander Wilmer Flores at No. 95.

The Baltimore Orioles had the most prospects on MLB Pipeline’s list with eight players, followed by the Cleveland Guardians and Los Angeles Dodgers (seven), Texas Rangers (six) and St. Louis Cardinals (five). Orioles third baseman Gunnar Henderson was named the No. 1 overall prospect.

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The Tigers selected Jobe with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 draft, then the Boston Red Sox took shortstop Marcelo Mayer at No. 4 overall. Mayer reached High-A last season, and ranks No. 10 on Baseball America and No. 9 on MLB Pipeline.

In 2022, Jobe posted a 3.84 ERA with 30 walks and 81 strikeouts over 77⅓ innings in 21 starts for Low-A Lakeland (18 starts) and High-A West Michigan (three starts). After Aug. 17, he owned a 1.56 ERA with eight walks and 13 strikeouts in 17⅓ innings to finish the season.

On a 20-80 scouting scale, Baseball America graded Jobe’s tools: 60 fastball, 50 curveball, 70 slider, 60 changeup and 55 control.

“Jobe has yet to match the highs expected from him coming out of high school when the Tigers picked him third overall,” Baseball America wrote, “but he’s a 20-year-old with plenty of projection remaining who showed durability, a plus-plus slider and solid control in 2022.”

MLB Pipeline’s grades for Jobe on the same scouting scale: 60 fastball, 50 curveball, 65 slider, 55 changeup, 50 control and 55 overall.

“He needs experience to learn how to mix his arsenal because right now, the sum is less than the total of the individual pitch parts,” MLB Pipeline wrote about Jobe. “If it comes together, he has the tools to be a No. 2/3 starter.”

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MLB Pipeline’s report on Jung: 55 hit, 55 power, 40 run, 45 arm, 45 field and 55 overall. For Flores: 60 fastball, 60 curveball, 40 changeup, 50 cutter, 55 control and 55 overall.

The Tigers drafted Jung, a left-handed hitter, with the No. 12 overall pick in 2022 out of Texas Tech. The 22-year-old hit .232 with one home run, 25 walks and 28 strikeouts over 30 games in High-A.

“His lack of range and arm keeps him limited to second base after dalliances at third and short in college,” MLB Pipeline wrote about Jung, “and while his hands work for the position, he’s still going to need to hit for both average and power to bring impact as an everyday player. Luckily, he has a long resume of doing just that.”

Los Angeles Angels shortstop Zach Neto, whom some executives in the Tigers’ organization wanted to draft instead of Jung, ranked No. 53 on Baseball America (Jung not ranked) and No. 89 on MLB Pipeline (six spots after Jung). The Angles grabbed Neto at No. 13 overall.

Last season, Neto played seven games for High-A Tri-City before advancing to Double-A Rocket City for his final 30 games. At Double-A, the 21-year-old hit .320 with four homers, eight walks and 29 strikeouts.

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Flores, who turns 22 in February, registered a 2.79 ERA with 23 walks and 130 strikeouts in 103⅓ innings over 25 games (24 starts) between West Michigan (six games) and Double-A Erie (19 games). He has spent the offseason working on his changeup in hopes of avoiding a bullpen move in the future.

The Tigers signed Flores for a $20,000 bonus as an undrafted free agent in 2020 out of Arizona Western College.

“After walking 12 (batters) in 11⅔ innings in college, Flores has improved his strike-throwing enough that he should have the above-average control to stick in a starter’s role,” MLB Pipeline wrote. “He’s likely headed to Triple-A to begin his age-22 season and already has the polish to impact the back end of Detroit’s rotation by the year’s end.”

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Notable omissions from the top-100 prospect lists: outfielder Justyn-Henry Malloy, outfielder Parker Meadows, second baseman Wenceel Perez, right-hander Ty Madden, catcher Dillon Dingler, third baseman Colt Keith, third baseman Izaac Pacheco, shortstop Peyton Graham, shortstop Cristian Santana and outfielder Roberto Campos.

MLB Pipeline also compiled top-10 lists throughout baseball for every position. The outlet recognized Jung (No. 3) and Perez (No. 10) at second base, and Keith (No. 8) at third base.

Contact Evan Petzold at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.

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