Prior to this past season, the Detroit Tigers often found themselves among the best teams in baseball.
Much of that success was by and large due to the aggressive front office making moves to make the team more competitive immediately and ready to win now. However, this gradually left them with depleted minor league system, eventually landing them with the title of ‘worst farm system in baseball’ for 2015.
Because of their inconsistency and struggles to ever gain any momentum, the Tigers, and then General Manager Dave Dombrowski, had to sell off some of the team’s most talented and expendable pieces in an effort to re-stock their minor league teams.
In three trade deadline deals, the Tigers received a total of six prospects. Pitchers Daniel Norris and Matt Boyd, two of the three players acquired in exchange for shipping off David Price to Toronto, were instantly plugged into the rotation and showed what they are capable of.
In a separate deal with the Mets, trading Yoenis Cespedes netted the Tigers two pitchers, one of which the club can now call their No. 1 prospect, according to Baseball America.
Michael Fulmer was pitching remarkably for the Mets’ Double-A affiliate before landing with the Tigers in exchange for Cespedes. Detroit assigned him to their Double-A affiliate Erie SeaWolves and continued to do what he did pre-trade. In six starts for Erie, Fulmer compiled a 2.84 ERA and a combined 2.24 ERA in 22 starts this past season.
Because of his outstanding performance in 2015, Fulmer is considered the Tigers’ best prospect overall. He is expected to make the jump to the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens for 2016 and has a slim, outside chance to make the big league rotation by Opening Day.
That top prospect spot use to be home to Steven Moya, who the Tigers’ are still patiently waiting for to break through and for the right opportunity to give him a chance as a regular, everyday player in the majors. Moya has endured some minor injuries here and there along the way but ultimately, he has not excelled to a level the Tigers are pleased.
In 2015, Moya hit just .243/283/.431 with 23 home runs and 82 RBI’s with Detroit’s Triple-A and High Class-A affiliate. His inability to show any major improvement the Tigers’ were hoping to see has knocked him out of the top ten, according to Baseball America.
Joining Fulmer in the updated top ten prospects list are a pair of 2015 Tigers’ first-round draft picks. Pitcher Beau Burrows is ranked 2nd and outfielder Christin Stewart checks in at 4th. The Tigers Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year, West Michigan Whitecaps teammates Mike Gerber and Jose Jimenez, also find themselves in the top ten.
20-year-old outfielder Derek Hill, teammate of both Gerber and Jimenez at West Michigan and first-round pick in 2014 for Detroit, is slotted at No. 10. Hill was considered the team’s No. 1 prospect this time a year ago.
To view the complete top ten prospects list for Detroit in 2016, click here.