‘Just-in’ time: Meet the newest crop of Detroit Tigers prospects

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MLB: Detroit Tigers at Philadelphia Phillies
Mar 29, 2015; Clearwater, FL, USA; A general view of a Detroit Tigers hat, glove and sunglasses in the dugout against the Philadelphia Phillies at Bright House Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It’s safe to say that Thursday, August 31, (Friday morning for those who fell asleep) is a day Tigers fans will never forget.

First, Justin Upton (and cash) went to the Los Angeles Angels for RHP Grayson Long and a player to be named later. Long was drafted by the Angels in the third round in 2015 and has seen time at Single- and Double-A so far this year. Starting in 26 games, the 23-year-old has an 8-8 record with a 2.69 ERA over 133.2 innings on the season. Long joins the Tigers organization as their No. 15 top prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.

Detroit wasn’t done making trades after unloading J-Up’s contract, though. With a minute to spare, the Tigers and Houston Astros came to a trade agreement for Justin Verlander. Detroit acquired a trio of prospects from Houston’s stacked farm system:

  • RHP Franklin Perez: Perez joins the Tigers organization as their No. 1 prospect, and the 32nd-best prospect in MLB. At 19 years old, the right-hander made his way to Double-A this season with the Astros starting in six games with a 2-1 record. The Venezuelan throws a lot of strikes along with a mid-90s fastball that tops out at 96. Interestingly enough, Perez trained at third base in Venezuela.
  • OF Daz Cameron: Although he struggled at the plate to start the season in Single-A with the Astros, Cameron has shown improvement in the second half. The 20-year-old is ranked No. 6 in the Tigers organization by MLB Pipeline. In August, Cameron hit .379/.454/.573 — a huge improvement from May, when he was batting just .163/.230/.213. As for his defensive abilities, Cameron has shown good speed and good instinct on the field.

  • C Jake Rogers: Now the No. 8 prospect in the organization, and the top catching prospect for Detroit, Rogers is a great defensive catcher with a strong bat. With the Astro’s minor league teams this year, he’s batting .263/.452/.472 with an .824 OPS. The combination of his defense and continued improvements at the plate could make him an everyday player down the line.

And so now, the Detroit Tigers rebuild has officially begun. We may see some more of our boys in the Old English D on the trading block come the offseason. Might Al Avila try to unload Miguel Cabrera? Will Michael Fulmer be the Tigers Ace in 2018? Ian Kinsler reportedly said he’s interested in sticking around for the rebuild, if the club will have him.