Welcome back for part two of my five-part series introducing you to the top 50 Detroit Tigers 2019 prospects.
While the players listed first tend to be more highly rated by other publications, the list does include a mix of the Tigers’ best prospects and guys further down in the rankings. I’ll be going over another 10 prospects today, but if you’re interested in getting to know the first 10 players, including top prospect Casey Mize, you can check out part one of the series here.
Matt Manning, RHP
While Casey Mize is considered by many to be the Tigers best prospect, Matt Manning should be ranked at 1B. All in all, Manning couldn’t have pitched any better in 2018. He struck out 11 batters per nine innings at each of the three different levels he pitched at last season. Manning boasts a low 90’s fastball that he can bump up to 95-96 as needed. For secondary pitches, he has a change-up that lags behind his fastball and a curveball that has proven to be a serious strikeout threat. While Manning has the stuff to be a top starter for Tigers moving forward, his delivery is still a work in progress and as a result, his command and velocity have suffered some ups and downs. That being said, the upside here is as good as any Tigers fan could’ve hoped.
Daz Cameron, OF
One thing you’ll come to notice about the Detroit Tigers 2019 prospects is that there are a number of players in the farm system with impressive family trees. Daz Cameron, the son of former MLB centerfielder Mike Cameron, is just one example. Daz came to Detroit in the Justin Verlander deal with the Astros and has been impressing the Tigers’ front office ever since. During the 2018 season, Daz smashed 42 extra-base hits in 126 games across three levels. He followed that up with an impressive run through the Arizona Fall League, slashing .342/.435/.468/.903 over 20 games. Daz has a solid overall game and now finds himself on the doorstep of the major leagues. While there is some potential to see Daz with the Tigers this season, he likely won’t be ready to take a starting spot in the outfield until 2020.
Willi Castro, SS
Signing Leonys Martin last offseason was initially a bit of a head scratcher for Tigers fans, but Al Avila was able to flip Martin at the 2018 trade deadline for a pretty nice return in shortstop prospect Willi Castro. Castro is likely to be the first potentially impactful middle infield bat to emerge from the system. He is an above-average defender who will definitely stick at shortstop, and he’s a switch-hitter. Why isn’t he with the Tigers now? The problem is that we’re not sure how productive he will be offensively. Castro was batting .245 with five home runs and 13 stolen bases in 97 games for Cleveland’s Double-A affiliate but exploded for a .921 OPS in 26 games for the Erie SeaWolves. Castro is likely to start the season in AAA and should get the call at some point in 2019 to show what he can do if his hitting improves.
Spencer Turnbull, RHP
At 26 years old, Spencer Turnbull is one of the older players on this list. He came out of the University of Alabama in 2014 throwing smoke, and the only thing that has stopped him so far has been an injury-prone shoulder and inconsistent secondary pitches. Turnbull seems to have found a formula for success with his cutter and fastball. He made his MLB debut with the Tigers in late September and should spend a lot of time in the Tigers bullpen during the 2019 season.
Derek Hill, OF
The 23rd overall pick in the 2014 MLB draft, Derek Hill has been plagued by injuries throughout his young career. There is no denying that Hill has some serious speed, but he has never lived up to the hype of being such as high draft pick. After 5 seasons with the Tigers’ organization, Hill has never made it above A+ ball and is only batting .244 over those years. The fact he went unprotected and unclaimed in this year’s Rule 5 draft says everything about his value right now. But the elite speed and defensive acumen are still there, so Hill might still make it to Detroit as a speedy bench piece.
Sergio Alcantara, SS/2B
If you’re looking for a player to compare Sergi Alcantara to he is basically a clone of former Tigers infielder Dixon Machado. Alcantara was another piece that came to the Tigers in the J.D Martinez trade. He is a glove-first middle infielder with excellent range and a cannon for an arm. Alcantara has a smaller build which limits his effectiveness at the plate. While he has a good feel for the strike zone and can work a count, Alcantara needs to develop physically to have a future beyond a utility infielder.
Jose Azocar, OF
After a rough 2017 season, Jose Azocar saw his stock rise in 2018 while splitting time with the West Michigan Whitecaps and Lakeland. Azocar managed to hit .297/.320/.399/.719 last season while stealing 11 bases on 15 attempts. Even though he is only 22 years old, there doesn’t appear to be much upside to Azocar after six years in the Tigers’ system. In order to turn heads, Azocar would need to have a tremendous 2019 campaign, one that would see him make his way to AA and continue to perform at a high level.
Anthony Castro, RHP
Anothny Castro turned in a solid, yet not overly impressive year during the 2018 campaign. Castro had an ERA of 3.34 and a WHIP of 1.38 while striking out twice as many guys as he walked. Castro pitched mostly in Lakeland but did see 10 innings of work in Erie. He’ll be starting 2019 in AA, meaning this season will go a long way towards deciding what Castro’s future holds.
Pedro Martinez Jr, 3B
I did mention that there are some famous bloodlines included in the Detroit Tigers 2019 prospects, didn’t I? As you can probably guess, Pedro Martinez Jr is the son of Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez. At just 18 years old, Pedro is a long way away from the majors. He only played in 47 games last season, so there isn’t much data to project how fast he’ll rise through the Tigers’ system. However, if Pedro can put together a solid season in A- in 2019 we should be able to get a better sense of when we might see him in Detroit.
A.J. Simcox SS/IF
The Detroit Tigers selected A.J. Simcox out of the Unversity of Tennesse in the 14th round of the 2015 MLB draft. Simcox split time last season between the Erie SeaWolves and the Lakeland Flying Tigers. While he isn’t one of the more eye-catching prospects in the Tigers’ system, Simcox is a quality ballplayer that simply serves as organizational depth.
Thanks for reading this far! If you’re interested in reading the previous post in the series, you can check it out using the link below: