With Major League Baseball set to start the regular season on March 30th, I thought it would be a good time to take a look at some of the Detroit Tigers 2019 prospects. In this five-part series, I’ll introduce the top 50 prospects currently in the pipeline.
The Tigers farm system was once the laughing stock of the league and while they are not quite the toast of the MLB they have made substantial improvements. While the Detroit Tigers 2019 prospects crop is flush with pitching talent, they do have some intriguing bats further down the pipeline that are in need of development. For part one of the series, I’ll be covering 10 prospects you should get to know. The prospects aren’t listed in any particular order and each post will give you a mix of the prospects towards the top of the rankings and those further down the list.
Without further ado, let’s meet our first batch of prospects:
Casey Maize, RHP
If you are unfamiliar with Casey Mize, who is ranked as the #1 Detroit Tigers 2019 prospect by several sources, then I am glad you are here reading this article. Even though he has only logged a handful of professional innings so far, Mize’s combination of raw stuff and polish is unmatched in the Tigers system. His splitter was ranked as one of the best pitches in the entire 2019 draft class, and Baseball America is also calling his fastball a plus-plus pitch. Mize has all the makings that you are looking for to be the ace of your staff. Even if he doesn’t start the year at Double-A Erie, he might still be the first of Detroit’s “Fab Five” pitching prospects to reach the majors.
Jake Rogers, C
Jake Rogers is not only the best defensive catcher in the Tigers system, but he may well be the very best defensive catcher in all the minor leagues. Why isn’t he with Tigers then? Well, he still needs time to develop at the plate. Rogers has plenty of power, he managed to hit 17 homers last year, but he hit just .219 in 99 games at Double-A last year. His development at the plate may take some time — the Tigers have already committed him back to Erie in 2019 — but Rogers could be worth the wait.
Kody Clemens, 2B
The son of Roger Clemens, Kody was drafted in the 3rd round last year by the Tigers. Clemens had a breakout year with the University of Texas during his junior season hitting 24 home runs, and he’s continued to hit the ball since being drafted. In limited action in Single-A ball, Kody Clemens posted a slash line of .288/.365/.450/.816 and hit five home runs. He struck out in 26.1% of his plate appearances but could force his way into the conversation if he keeps hitting.
Jake Robson, OF
Jake Robson is a speedy outfielder who should see some time with the Tigers in 2019. While his best tool is speed he is still finding his way on the bases. He has stolen 54 bases in the minors but has been caught an eyebrow rasing 34 times. His numbers were very good overall in 2018, putting up a slash line of .295/.376/.440/.816. Robson will compete for an outfield spot in spring training but ultimately is likely to start in AAA this season.
Zac Houston, RHP
Zac Houston is one of the best relievers in the Tigers system. He is coming off a dominant season in 2018, and I was surprised he didn’t get called up in September of last year. What do I mean by dominant? We’re talking a 1.63 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, and 13 strikeouts. Houston will likely start in AAA and if he keeps up his 2018 pace it wouldn’t be a surprise at all if he is in Detroit by the All-Star break.
Daniel Woodrow, OF
Like most of the young outfield prospects in the Tigers system, Daniel Woodrow is a speedy guy. Woodrow spent most of last year at the AA level and put up a pretty nice slash line .317/.371/.397/.768. His power numbers aren’t really there but batting over .300 and getting on base in the .375 neighborhood is nothing to scoff at. He will likely start back in AA and make his way up to AAA at some point. It is not beyond thinking Woodrow could get up to the big league club at some point in 2019, especially if he can keep getting on base and playing solid defense and/or the Tigers need to fill a Nick Castellanos size hole in the outfield.
Alvaro Gonzales, SS
At just 18 years old, Alvaro Gonzales has a lot of baseball in front of him. I was very excited to see the Tigers dip into the international market to sign the Venezuelan shortstop, as the Tigers seemed to be passing on upper tier players in the international free agent market for years. In a fairly small sample size during rookie ball last year, Gonzalez hit .245/.352/.362/.714 in 46 games. Not stellar numbers by any means, but it will be interesting to see how those numbers improve as his body continues to develop.
Logan Shore, RHP
Logan Shore came to the Tigers as the player to be named later in the Mike Fiers trade with the Oakland Athletics. He has a fastball that sits in the low 90’s, a plus changeup, and offers an average slider. Has has the upside of a #4 pitcher in a starting rotation.
Troy Montgomery, OF
Troy Montgomery was acquired by the Tigers in the Ian Kinsler deal from the Los Angeles Angels. While Montgomery was the main return in the deal he doesn’t look to have much of an MLB future outside of a possible 4th outfielder role. Montgomery spent most of his time in AA last year and put up decent numbers. However, his production did take a noticeable dip during his transition from A+ to AA.
Max Green, LHP
Max Green is a lanky lefty with a fastball that can reach 97 miles per hour, and the Tigers were able to grab him in the 8th round of the 2017 draft from Pepperdine because of personal problems. Green only has 60 pro innings under his belt so he more than has a chance to make his mark, but he hasn’t done anything in his two years in the system to generate much excitement. There is no guarantee nor expectations that Green will ever become a solid contributor in the majors, but there still is a slight chance.