After a terrific season in 2021, the Tigers were terrible last season. Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson didn’t play well, and Skubal and Mize got hurt. Unfortunately, there’s not much immediate help in the minor leagues. Jace Jung and Jackson Jobe lead the list and are both Top 100 prospects, but after that, there is talent but nothing that you can point to with certainty. Wilmer Flores had an excellent season with a number three starter upside, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he moved to the bullpen. I also like Weencel Perez as a sleeper in the system. He can hit and started to show more power than in the past.
Prospect Quick Shot
- Top Prospect: Jace Jung
- Biggest Mover: Weencel Perez
- Emerging Prospect: Cristian Santana
1. Jace Jung (2B)
- Highest Level: High-A ETA: 2024-25 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 15 2B
- Tools Summary: He has a plus hit tool with a chance to hit 15 to 20 home runs. The stolen bases will be limited.
Jace Jung, younger brother of Texas Rangers’ Josh Jung, was the Tigers’ first-round pick last July. He hit .335 with a .481 OBP in his draft year at Texas Tech and continued to hit in his professional debut. The .231 average might suggest he struggled, but he walked nearly as much as he struck out and posted a .373 OBP in 30 games. He’s also got enough raw power to suggest he could hit 20 home runs at the highest level. He’s a below-average runner, so don’t expect a lot of stolen bases. Plus, he’s likely limited to playing second base, which will put pressure on his bat. I think the bat will work with a chance to hit .300 with 15 to 20 home runs.
2. Jackson Jobe (RHP)
- Highest Level: High-A ETA: 2025 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 30 SP
- Tools Summary: He’s athletic with a premium arsenal. He needs time to develop; more importantly, Tigers fans and fantasy managers must be patient.
Jackson Jobe had a good 2022 season. Were the results something that makes you think he’s going to be ace? Probably not. Across Low and High-A, he pitched to a 3.84 ERA, striking out 9.4 per nine while walking 3.5 per nine in 77.1 innings. But all things considered, there’s a lot to like. The arsenal is solid with a 94 to 95 MPH fastball with a high spin rate and secondary pitches that miss plenty of bats. Plus, he’s athletic and should eventually be able to repeat his delivery to throw plenty of strikes. He needs time to develop, and since he just turned 20 in July, he has plenty of time to round into form. The ceiling for me is a number two starter, but I would not be surprised if he beats that. Sure, some of the hitters taken after him in the draft look like they are going to be stars, don’t discount Jobe just yet – there’s a chance he turns out to be just as good as a Major Leaguer.
3. Wilmer Flores (RHP)
- Highest Level: Double-A ETA: 2023-24 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 45 SP
- Tools Summary: One of the minor league breakout pitchers in 2022. He throws hard with solid secondary pitches and control.
Wilmer Flores, brother of Giants Wilmer Flores, was one of the breakout pitchers this year in the minor leagues. He went undrafted in the abbreviated 2022 Draft, but there was plenty of buzz as several teams tried to sign him. The Tigers did, and after posting a 2.79 ERA in 103.1 innings across High and Double-A, they have to be pleased with their decision. He throws hard (94-95 MPH fastball with high spin) with solid secondary pitches. Most importantly, he throws strikes, walking only two per nine. The delivery isn’t great as it’s more of drop-and-drive, which doesn’t allow him to take full advantage of his 6-foot-4 height. He’s also a little off balance, but it has not affected his control. Overall, there’s a lot to like, and I have put a mid-rotation starter ceiling on him.
4. Wenceel Perez (SS)
- Highest Level: Double-A ETA: 2023-24 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 15 SS
- Tools Summary: He came into the season stronger and bigger; consequently, he showed more power without losing his speed or plate discipline.
Wenceel Perez has consistently shown the ability to control the strike zone. At each level, he’s made above-average contact and has always walked 8 to 10% of the time. What he didn’t show was any power. That changed in 2022. He’s noticeably bigger than he was in 2021, and consequently, he posted a .500+ SLG at both High and Double-A. While the extra size has increased his power output, he’s still showing above-average speed. He’s gone from an afterthought in the Tigers organization to a player that all fantasy owners need to roster.
5. Ty Madden (RHP)
- Highest Level: Double-A ETA: 2023-24 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 45 SP
- Tools Summary: Solid season where he showed a promising arsenal with better control than was thought when he was drafted.
Madden was the Tiger’s supplemental first-round pick in 2021 out of the University of Texas. He was held out of game action last season and was assigned to High-A to begin the 2022 season, where he pitched well. In 26 starts, he pitched to a 3.01 ERA, striking out nearly 10 per nine while keeping his walks to under three per nine. While there was concern at the draft table that the control needed improvement and a better change-up, he managed to throw strikes and kept left-handed batters in check. The ceiling is a mid-rotation starter.
6. Colt Keith (3B)
- Highest Level: High-A ETA: 2024 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 15 3B or 2B
- Tools Summary: Athletic with the ability to hit with 15+ home run pop and double-digit stolen bases.
Colt Keith was off to a strong start in 2022 when he hurt his shoulder diving back on a pickoff attempt and missed the rest of the season. In 48 games, he slashed .301/.370/.544 with nine home runs and four stolen bases. He put up a terrific 19% K-Rate and 10% BB-Rate. The swing is simple and short to the ball, and he’s athletic with above-average speed. I think he hits with a chance for 15 to 20 home run pop and low double-digit stolen bases. That might not be a star, but it could be a solid fantasy option at third or an even better option if he moves to second.
7. Peyton Graham (SS)
- Highest Level: High-A ETA: 2025 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 20 SS or Top 15 2B
- Tools Summary: Athletic with intriguing speed and power. If he can keep his strikeouts down, there is upside here.
The Tigers grabbed Peyton Graham in the second round last July, with many evaluators extolling the value they received. He’s athletic with plenty of future power potential. He is prone to chasing pitches out of the strike zone, and consequently, he did strike out a lot in college and posted a 25% strikeout rate in 27 games in High-A. If he can control the strike zone, there is intriguing fantasy upside.
8. Izaac Pacheco (3B)
- Highest Level: High-A ETA: 2023-24 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 15 3B
- Tools Summary: He’s a big, strong kid with plus power potential. He’s showing an approach with solid contact.
Izaac Pacheco, the Tigers’ second-round pick in 2021, had a nice season splitting his time between Low and High-A. He stashed .254/.331/.408 with 11 home runs and 12 stolen bases in 106 games. He showed a solid approach at the plate and kept his strikeout rate manageable (22% K-Rate). There’s plenty more power in the bat, and as he matures, he should be good for 20 to 25 home runs annually. Throw in a handful of stolen bases; his ceiling is a full-time regular. The Tigers have him playing all over the diamond, but long-term, even given his size, I think he settles into third base.
9. Ryan Kreidler (SS)
- Highest Level: Majors ETA: 2022 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 20 SS
- Tools Summary: He’s a plus defender with enough power to suggest he could hit 15+ home runs annually. He’s also an above-average runner. Many building blocks, but he has yet to put them together.
With the Tigers looking for an offensive spark, they promoted a lot of their kids. Most of them struggled, including Ryan Kreidler. He didn’t make enough contact striking out over 30% of the time in his limited at-bats. The swing does suggest that he could grow into some power, but in 56 games in Triple-A last season, he only slugged .411. He’s also athletic with enough speed to steal 15+ bases yearly. Throw in that he’s a plus defender, and there are enough skills that he could develop into a full-time regular over time.
10. Roberto Campos (OF)
- Highest Level: Low-A ETA: 2025 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 45 OF with risk
- Tools Summary: He’s a big strong kid that should eventually hit for power. He is making solid contact, and if that continues, he could reach his ceiling as a Top 30 outfielder.
I was disappointed in Roberto Campos’ season. After slugging .441 in 39 games in the Complex League in 2021, he didn’t hit with any power last season. In 112 games in Low-A, he slugged .385 with five home runs. He’s a big strong kid with excellent bat speed, but he only turned 19 during the season, so perhaps we need to wait a bit longer for the breakout. The best news is that he showed a solid approach and made good contact. The Tigers paid him nearly a three-million-dollar bonus, so I’m still bullish on his chances of turning into a power-hitting outfielder.