Detroit Tigers 2022 Top 10 MLB Prospects Mailbag
Following the release of our new Detroit Tigers prospect rankings, Emily Waldon hosted a Tigers mailbag below.
Keefths from New York asks:
Can you give us comps of what Jackson Jobe can be once he matures ? Also how he does rank compared to other pitching prospects with a bit more experience ?
Emily Waldon: I'll wait to see Jobe debut before beginning my comps, but scouts really like his maturity at such a young age. How his mix will work against opposing hitters has yet to be determined, but there are the makings of an impressive arm for the Tigers to look forward to over the next few years.
Kyle Weatherly from Timmonsville, South Carolina asks:
Riley Greene just turned 21 in late September. He tore it up at AA & AAA at age 20. Am I wrong to think he has superstar potential? PS: Glad to see he passed Tork on your Tiger's top 10.
Emily Waldon: I think you're looking at a solid future all-star. One of the things scouts try to be careful with is labeling elite talent too quickly, knowing how rare it can be. Riley has yet to experience any of the normal growing pains of a typical minor leaguer and I am completely comfortable calling him a future impact all-star.
ZP from nyc asks:
I know he's far off, how do you feel about Cristian Santana's performance in Rookie ball? How close was he to the top 10?
Emily Waldon: I spoke with a Dominican contact about Santana and they said one of their biggest takeaways was his maturity. A lot of people forget how challenging it is to not only excel in baseball but to do so in a brand new culture adds another layer of difficulty. Santana won't turn 19 until next November, so I wouldn't expect the Tigers to push him prematurely. Plenty of time to cultivate an intriguing skill set.
Ken from Lakewood CA asks:
Seeing catcher Dingler listed as the best athlete really caught my eye. Very unusual!
Emily Waldon: Dingler is liked everywhere he's played. In addition to the obvious skill, he's been called a "fantastic clubhouse guy." He doesn't say much but leads by example and he's left an impact at every stop he's made so far. He hit an unfortunate wall with his mid-season injury in 2021, but scouts fully expect him to pick up where he left off when 2022 arrives
ZP from NYC asks:
How concerned, if at all, should we be about the swing and miss in Greene's game when he moves up?
Emily Waldon: Adapting to a new level takes time for anyone. With Greene's maturity and proven advanced adaptability, I wouldn't worry. Exposure to advanced pitching helps to shape a player's eye and Greene saw a good variety of that between Double-A and Triple-A. Greene's strikeout rate went up three percent between 2019 and 2021, excluding his time at the alternate site. I think next season will add polish and his eye should only improve.
Michael from Montana asks:
The Tigers Farm System has certainly shown improvement which given their draft position shouldn't be too surprising. Where overall would you rate their farm system? Is their improvement due entirely to draft position and making good choices or have they done anything to benefit the development of their prospects?
Emily Waldon: I think the Tigers have worked to strengthen their presence in the international scouting market, which has become noticeable through their signings of Abel Bastidas and Cristian Santana in the 2021 class. Their draft selection has improved greatly from the 2017 class and I credit that to the organization being purposeful in knowing the holes needing to be filled throughout the system as opposed to just taking a talented player.
Logan Field from Mi asks:
Thank you for chatting with us today. What are your thoughts on Garrett Hill and Eliezer Alfonzo. Big fans on both thank you!
Emily Waldon: I've been a big fan of Alfonzo since before he came stateside. Drew comparison to Brayan Pena, who Tigers' fans got to know. Vocal leader behind the plate, who just needs to strengthen his eye against advanced pitching. I got to see a lot of Hill in West Michigan and I love his deception. He's in talks as a name to watch during the Rule 5 draft, so I'll be curious to see if another team decides to take a chance on him.
jaxon from MICHIGAN asks:
Who are your “next 5” in the Tigers system? Thanks!
Emily Waldon: Well, you'll just have to keep an eye out for the full list coming soon to Baseball America. Can't give away all my secrets ;-)
Dylan from MICHIGAN asks:
How many Tiger Prospects are top 100 prospects?
Emily Waldon: I'd add Torkelson, Greene, and Jobe all to that list.
Jim from Maine asks:
Daniel Cabrera had a disappointing pro debut hitting just .232/.285/.392 between A+ and AA. But he is only 23 and flourished as a prep and collegiate corner outfielder in Louisiana resulting in the Tigers drafting him 62nd overall in 2020. What are you hearing regarding the Tigers plans for him in 2022 and he is still considered in the 15 to 20 range among Tiger prospects? Thanks Emily ... I truly enjoy your work!
Emily Waldon: His stock suffered a bit in 2021, just due to some offensive inconsistencies, but he has a chance to build back at the plate in 2022. I think his jump to Double-A may have been premature, but set to turn 24 next September, he'll need to show his ability to handle more advanced pitching if he hopes to advance.
Steve from Michigan asks:
There was not a whole lot of movement within the Top 10 from the Midseason Top 30 (the new Top 10 consists of the Top 12 from midseason, subtract 2 graduations). Were there any guys who made late-season pushes to enter the Top 10, or was the Top 10 clear cut, and the challenge to rank those 10 guys?
Emily Waldon: The two who impressed me the most from that standpoint were Ryan Kreidler and Gage Workman. Scouts seemed to agree that while Workman wouldn't play with the same flash as his ASU teammate, Torkelson, the "sneaky-good" approach is expected to find his a lot of success. Kreidler broke out in 2021, although his bat was always expected to make an impact. Kreidler complimented Greene and Torkelson in the 2021 lineup and told me the three of them grew alongside each other.
Alfonse from Ft Myers asks:
With Marcelo Mayer still available when the Tigers picked at #3, do you have insight into why they picked Jobe rather than Mayer?
Emily Waldon: One scout said, "There is just something different about Jobe." The Tigers weren't lost on the resume of Mayer, but the potential of Jobe simply proved too hard to pass on and the Tigers are hoping to lock Jobe in as a long-term impact arm.
Warren from New London asks:
For the record, I like seeing Riley Greene ahead of Spencer Torkelson, though I'm sure you'll get lots of questions about it. The descriptions of Jackson Jobe remind me a lot of Dylan Bundy at the same age, perhaps because they were both from Oklahoma. Is that a reasonable comparison? Is there someone else you'd rather compare Jobe to? I'll miss having the Tigers in Norwich, even if they often didn't send their best prospects here.
Emily Waldon: Funny enough, I got more questions surrounding my choice to pick Torkelson as my Player of the Year for 2021. The two, while taking different paths to get into the organization have grown so close in skill development that I truly believe you can't go wrong selecting either. Both names are worth being very excited about.
Fred E. from Oviedo, FL asks:
Why were Jackson Jobe’s pitches left off the best tools list? He definitely has the best breaking pitches in the organization and you could argue FB, CH and control too.
Emily Waldon: It's no discredit to Jobe, more based on his lack of exposure. These are fully expected to be included the next time around. We poll multiple scouts and executives about these and all are excited about Jobe's future with the organization.
Chamaco from Mexico asks:
How would you evaluate the Tigers’ efforts and results on the international market compared to other MLB teams?
Emily Waldon: I would say much improved. They snagged both Bastidas and Santana in 2021, both of who received solid reviews from scouts and will now have to show their player development prowess in order to pull out their full potential. The organization showing a more prominent presence in encouraging, but I believe their work on the international front is still a work in progress, albeit trending in a positive direction.
Karl of Delaware from Georgetown, Delaware asks:
Usually pretty effective over the last few season, pitcher Ruben Garcia stalled a bit at AA last year. Plus he is getting older(25). Do you still consider him a positive for the Tiger's System? Thoughts on his future?
Emily Waldon: The Rule 5 acquisition in 2019 falls into a category similar to that of Alex Faedo. Garcia has an absolutely ridiculous delivery, but with that comes durability concerns and red flags for the impact against his throwing shoulder. While I truly enjoy the deception, there are some inconsistencies in his release and I question how long that delivery will hold up for the future. He has a fantastic attitude and great work ethic, but that type of unorthodox release is proven to create problems.
Cristian Santana from #11? asks:
Thanks for chatting with us. Was I somewhere in the #11-15 range? What have been reports on me in the DSL? Do I project to have an above average hit tool or just average? Will I be able to stay at SS defensively?
Emily Waldon: You'll just have to wait and see when the rest of my Top 30 is released. :-)
Juan from Domninican repúblic asks:
Are De la cruz ,reyes y Santana near??
Emily Waldon: Adinso Reyes has long been a favorite of mine, although I've had to depend on scouts' eyes for a full review. As he matures, I fully expect him to continue climbing the list. Cristian Santana is making good progress, according to scouts, but they don't expect him to move quickly. For Jose De La Cruz, there is still some edges to polish, but his raw potential is very exciting.
Michael from Tempe, AZ asks:
The Tigers seem to have more promising hitters with a power over hit profile. Is this a profile that the Tigers have made an any effort to target? Are there any pure hitters in lower levels to keep an eye on?
Emily Waldon: Outside of Torkelson, Greene, and Kriedler, the Tigers are against lacking impact bats at the lower levels. I won't be surprised to see them target some bats in the 2022 draft, now that they obtained a new collection of arms (Jobe, Madden, Smith, Mattison, etc.). I have really enjoyed how well Gage Workman has adapted and lower down the ladder, Cristian Santana and Adinso Reyes are two more that the organization has high hopes for.
Michael from Tempe, AZ asks:
How has Parker Meadows progressed this past year?
Emily Waldon: Meadows has left a lot of scouts scratching their heads. I've loved what he COULD be, but have struggled to understand why he can't seem to find that on a routine basis, showing flashes of his impressive offensive tools. While the tools still display the potential, Meadows has struggled to tap into that offensively. His defensive work has never displayed any struggle with his speed, arm, and advanced routes, but 2022 is going to be vital for the 22-year-old to show what he's capable of.
Patton from Berwyn asks:
Does Isaac Paredes have a place in the Tigers future plans?
Emily Waldon: I like how one executive worded it, "If you can hit consistently, we'll find a place for you." Paredes has to hit and has to do so consistently to stay in consideration for a starting role. He's struggled to do that.
Tom from Medfield, MA asks:
Does Isaac Paredes ever get a chance?
Emily Waldon: I think the better question is, "Is Paredes up for the challenge?" The Tigers have not shied from giving Paredes opportunity, but barely breaking .200 at the plate creates a true uphill battle, factoring in the competition making its way up the pipeline.
Logan from Oakland asks:
Any chance Beaue Brieske makes his debut in 2022?
Emily Waldon: While I loved what I saw from Beau in 2021, I think 2022 may be a bit premature. He only booked eight starts in Double-A in 2021 and I'd like to have him get another full year in the minors to show how strong he's able to become. He'll turn 24 in April, so I don't see a big reason to push him ahead too quickly.
Joey from Spokane asks:
What’s the word on Hugh Smith? I was intrigued when the Tigers took him but he hasn’t pitched since 2019.
Emily Waldon: Smith has had an incredibly difficult time finding his footing in the farm system. Scouts saw the makings of a solid arm prior to the draft, but a plague of injury is drawing comparison to that of Franklin Perez. With only 44.2 innings in his professional career since 2018, he'll need to show his health is intact for hopes of holding his position in the system.
Mila from Atlanta asks:
Cristian Santana....where would he rank in top 30? and what kind of comps would he have? Jhonny Peralta? 50 hit,50 power, 50 speed?
Emily Waldon: I'll have more on Santana when the rest of my Top 30 is released. Stay tuned and thank you for reading!
Ten MLB Players Poised To Break Out In 2023
We chose 10 breakout players—five hitters and five pitchers—poised to break out in 2023.
Frank from Michigan asks:
Thanks for taking questions Emily. Big right handed reliever Zack Hess Had a good year at Hi A West Michigan. He’s been up with the big league club for a Short stint in the past. Where do you see him starting at next year, And do you project him filling a reliever role With the big league club next year. Strike out numbers are impressive but he can Definitely improve on his walks per nine innings. Thanks
Emily Waldon: After being selected in 2019, Hess, while possessing a solid arsenal, has yet to truly show what he's capable of. He added two more walks per nine innings in 2021 and showed some inconsistencies in maintaining deception against High-A hitters. While I like the pitch mix, Hess has work to do to progress in 2022. The pitching pipeline is far too deep for Detroit to miss a step as an arm at any level.
Sam from mi asks:
What are your thoughts on that Detroit Tiger’s 2021 MLB draft class? Who are some lower level prospects that you think could jump on the scenes this upcoming MILB season, like Ryan Kreidler and Garrett Hill did this year?? Thank you, love all your work!
Emily Waldon: For the 2021 class, it's impossible to not get excited about the potential of Jackson Jobe. While I would like to see a few more impact bats acquired, the Tigers can only do so much with the classes they're given and the arms they selected are all considered arms to watch. Right-hander Dylan Smith out of Alabama is one who I'll be watching in particular. At the lower levels, Abel Bastidas, Cristian Santana, and Adinso Reyes are all names I'll be watching. Thanks for reading!
Ryan from San Diego asks:
How are the Tigers going to handle the promotions of Greene and Tork? Will they come up together? And how early?
Emily Waldon: With the juggling of more potential names in the farm system, I don't expect the Tigers to move them together just to move them together. Their progress really started to match pace by mid-season, once Torkelson found his stride at the plate, but the Tigers also know the backlash of rushing a player. Both have a chance to make an impact directly out of the gate, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Tigers start them in Triple-A with a promotion not long after.
Jim from Detroit asks:
Thanks for taking my question. Is there any hope for MLB contribution from Daz Cameron? He seems to play well at AAA, gets promoted to big leagues and immediately gets hurt then struggles and gets demoted only to perform above average at AAA again. Is a change of scenery something management has discussed or is daz now more or less a organizational AAAA player now?
Emily Waldon: I think Daz needs another healthy full year before making any concrete conclusions on his future. He's definitely struggled, but I think he's a good example of all players, regardless of draft position or organizational hype, needing individual time to decide if they're built for a long-term Major League career. I'm not writing off Daz just yet, but he'll need to set a noticeable tone in 2022 to secure his position.
Owen B from Flagstaff, AZ asks:
How high is Cristian Santana's ceiling and what are the risks in his profile that could prevent him from reaching that ceiling?
Emily Waldon: Based on my research and discussions with scouts, I have Santana as a future 60 role, which translates to an above-average regular or occasional All-Star. This depends entirely on the Tigers' ability to cultivate such a raw profile. The potential is there, but they have a lot of time on their hands before he reaches what that ceiling could ultimately be.
JC from Philadelphia asks:
2020 draftee Colt Keith had a successful debut in short A before running into a good amount of swing and miss issues in High A, though he was relatively young for the level. Does he pose as a long term development option for a 3B/2B of the future?
Emily Waldon: He does. He's just going to need some time. Keith didn't turn 20 until August 2021 and reached High-A just after his birthday. Something else to remember is that High-A West Michigan was Keith's fourth team in a single season, which can lead to running on fumes. I think Keith should return to West Michigan and we'll get a better idea for his adaptability
Roger from Los Angeles asks:
How will recent administrative hires in player development impact developmental philosophies a d hse of technology? For example, the Tigers seem to have become pretty good with pitch design and usage. Can we expect similar changes in offensive and defensive approach and strategies? Have all minor league coaching staffs been announced?
Emily Waldon: That's the organization's hope. A lot of people forget that in addition to securing key players, teams need to obtain equally gifted teachers to utilize the players' talent to the fullest. The Tigers have done their best to be strategic in their staffing additions and are hoping these additions are able to produce fruit throughout the organization sooner rather than later.
Kate from Mi asks:
Thoughts on what the tigers could do in the 2022 draft?
Emily Waldon: It always depends on where the strengths of the class ultimately lie. I'd love to see the organization add some more impact bats, if available, but in keeping with tradition, they can't seem to say no to a hand-throwing SEC right-hander.
Roger from Los Angeles asks:
How close were Manuel Sequera and Cristian Santana to making the back end of the top 10? How would they compare, offensively, to a similarly aged player such as Izaac Pacheco?
Emily Waldon: Santana is growing closer, while I think Sequera still has some work to do. Looking over the system, offense is truly what appears to be the driving force behind the promotions at the lower levels. With 23 extra-base hits and 40 RBI for Sequera, I'll be watching to see if he's able to maintain that going into 2022. For Santana, I think he could see a jump to Lakeland next season.
Keith from Washington, DC asks:
The Tigers have launched a major revamp of their player development system. How long will it take for the results of these changes to become evident and what are the metrics for determining whether it is succeeding?
Emily Waldon: These changes can take time, but the Tigers are being very purposeful in their selection of hirings. With the urgency to reposition themselves as a contending organization in the next few years, a big focus will be on their development at the lower levels. Detroit has not received good reviews on player development in the past, so I expect to see a big change on that front, once they verify the right pieces to put into place from a coaching and instructor standpoint.
Edwin Weatherly from Florence, South Carolina asks:
What is the ceiling of Jackson Jobe?
Emily Waldon: I'm always hesitant to label too aggressively for such a fresh addition, but based on research, I could see Jobe as an All-Star #3/#2 arm for the Tigers.