For the last five years, the Detroit Tigers farm system has ranked in the bottom third among all teams. It’s not that they’ve struggled to develop prospects; they’ve traditionally opted to trade them for big league talent, which has worked out well for the most part.
While the Tigers system will, once again, lack overall depth, they do boast a trio of prospects that should be big league ready at some point during the 2013 season. Their consensus top prospect, Nick Castellanos, is fresh off a breakout season in which he batted .405 for High-A Lakeland as a 20-year-old, and played the second half of the season at Double-A Erie. Outfielder Avisail Garcia, 21, began last season at Lakeland with Castellanos, but finished the year on the Tigers postseason roster. Not to be forgotten, hard-throwing Bruce Rondon, who sits in the triple-digits, may break camp as the team’s closer.
The Tigers have relied heavily on their international scouting department, which is responsible for half of their top 10 prospects. And although they didn’t draft until the second round last year after signing Prince Fielder during the offseason, they did net two top-10 prospects in Jake Thompson and Austin Schotts.
But as you’ll see, after their top three prospects, the drop-off in quality of their overall system is significant.