Detroit Tigers Top 30 Prospects

February 15, 2024

The 2024 Preseason Top 30 lists are built around the idea of certainty and future Role. Similar to industry projection systems such as Future Value (FV), Overall Future Potential (OFP), and Grade, Role is a way to describe to what degree a player will add value to his organization at peak.

Our scale is a bit more conservative than other grading systems. We take into account recent seasonal performance, proximity to impact, metric/data analysis, and industry conversations to build a case for the most likely outcome for any given player.

It is important to note these Role labels are fluid and can change as a player moves up the developmental ladder. It is not uncommon for a player to change his role projection over even one month. Players jump from a Role 35 to a Role 40 quite quickly.

Things like mechanical adjustments and physical maturation can alter a player’s projection seemingly overnight. Players change. Keep that in mind.

Below is our Role chart used to place future projection on players.

20No organizational value. Non-prospect.
30Organizational value, filler. Likely peaks at Triple-A or below.
35Potential up-and-down, Quad-A prospect. Has some tools. Development necessary to secure prolonged MLB role.
40Back-up at MLB level. No. 5 starter on non-competitive team. Depth.
45Potential starter on contender. Bench player for championship-level team.
50Starter on a championship-level team. Lacks star ceiling. Steady. Potential No. 4 starting pitcher.
55Potential all-star. Some impact. Above average big-league regular. Mid-rotation starter on a contender.
60All-star level player. Impact. Middle-of-the-order bat. No. 2 starter on good team.
70Perennial all-star. Will contend for seasonal awards. Potential MVP/Cy Young upside. No. 1 starting pitcher. Ace.
80Hall of Fame upside. Generational. MVP/Cy Young Favorite some years. Organizational pillar who can carry an entire franchise at times.

You will not find players with a sub-50 Role on our Top 100 Prospect List. You are also unlikely to find any sub-35 Role players on a Top 30 board. Generally, organizations will have at least 30 players with big-league projection.

All rankings and roles by Joe Doyle
Player notes by Jason A. Churchill

1Max ClarkOF60
2Colt Keith2B/3B55
3Jackson JobeRHP55
4Jace Jung2B50
5Justyn-Henry MalloyOF45
6Ty MaddenRHP45
7Kevin McGonigle2B45
8Parker MeadowsOF45
9Wilmer FloresRHP45
10Dillon DinglerC40

Clark entered pro ball as a five-tool prospect and a chance to be a real star, thanks to a bundle of plus tools. On top of 70-grade speed, it’s a plus arm, plus glove in center, and a shot to hit for high average.

Clark may be relatively limited in the power department, but the 14-18 home run range is within reach, based on batted ball data and bat speed.

Scouts are torn on pretty much nothing about Clark’s tools and makeup, with one crosschecker saying he’d have been the No. 1 pick in at least a third of the last 20 draft classes.

Clark left the complex league to play a few weeks in Single-A Lakeland where he figures to start 2024.

Keith, who just signed a six-year, $28.6 million extension that could be worth more than $80 million when all is said and done, is set to start 2024 as the Tigers’ starting second baseman.

Keith has experience at the hot corner, too, but the play should play regardless. He’s always made hard contact with big-time bat speed, turning it into game power in 2023.

He had 11 homers in his first 486 plate appearances in pro ball, then hit 27 a year ago split between the two upper levels. All without sacrificing contact, average, and on-base percentage.

Jung is another defender who could land at second or third and another left-handed bat with plus power like Keith.

He swings and misses more than his org mate and brings a little more funk in the swing, but he too may be nearing the big leagues as an above-average hitter with pop.

Meadows — yet another lefty stick — made his debut last season and barely qualified for prospect status with 125 at-bats. He’s expected to be the starting centerfielder.

His game is more speed and defense, but his power began to show up in 2022 and he blasted 22 homers a year ago. It’s above-average defense and plus speed, and considering he’s 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds there may be 25-homer power in there, even if it comes with higher-than-average strikeout numbers.

Dingler was a top college performer out of Ohio State, flush with a plus and above-average raw power when the Tigers took him in Round 2 in 2020.

He swings and misses a little more than is ideal, but the pop has shown up from Day 1 and he’s produced strong OBPs in the minors.

Dingler is nearring the majors as a power-first bat with sound defensive skills. Cleaning up the swing-and-miss a bit in Triple-A early this season may do the trick.

11Hao-Yu Lee2B40
12Paul WilsonLHP40
13Troy MeltonRHP40
14Max Anderson3B40
15Josue BricenoC/1B40
16Keider MonteroRHP40
17Izaac Pacheco3B40
18Justice BigbieOF40
19Brant HurterLHP40
20Peyton GrahamSS/3B40
21Sawyer Gipson-LongRHP40
22Wenceel Perez2B35
23Carson Rucker3B35
24Dylan SmithRHP35
25Dylan SmithSS/3B35
26Danny Serretti2B/SS35
27Roberto CamposOF35
28Andre Lipcius2B/3B35
29Tyler MattisonRHP35
30Jaden HammRHP35

Wilson was the club’s third-round pick last July, projecting as a mid-rotation lefty sitting 92-95 mph with ride and life. His best secondary is an average curveball with a chance to be plus in time, and projectable changeup.

Wilson is athletic and should throw plenty of strikes after working to refine his delivery after the summer.

Montero has been in the organization for over seven years and is finally on the brink, but it may come in a relief role due to a lack of fastball command and general control questions. It’s a big curveball and an effective slider to work off the mid-90s velocity.

His role depends on staying out of the middle of the zone and getting to his breaking stuff with more consistency.

Gipson-Long pounds the zone with four pitches, and despite fringe-average velocity gets fastball value from deception and run. His best swing-and-miss offering is a horizontal slider with some depth, but his changeup is a consistent weapon, too.

It’s a back-end profile, but Gipson-Long is essentially big-league ready if the Tigers need an arm right now.

Perez can really play second base, has plus speed, and put together a really interesting 2023 where he hit his way from Single-A Lakeland to Triple-A Toledo, hitting at every step.

In addition, he posted 40 extra-base hits (9 HR) in 116 games and swiped 25 bags, The switch hitter appears within a year of the big leagues. It may be a utility role, but he’s already played all the infield  and even received some time in center, so he’s ready for such a role.

Joe Doyle
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