Not long ago, the Tigers found hope in the form of prospects. These days, the farm is looking pretty barren.
While that's partly due to recent graduations to Detroit, including two of the top prospects in baseball last season in Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene, the Tigers don't have a whole lot of top-tier talent in the pipeline.
When Baseball America released its annual ranking of the top 100 prospects in baseball last week, just one Tiger cracked the list: right-handed pitcher and former third overall pick Jackson Jobe, who came in at No. 83 and remains at least two or three years from the majors.
A.J. Hinch, your thoughts?
"I think it’s one source’s opinion," Hinch said on the Stoney & Jansen Show. "If it tells you how much I value it, I haven’t even looked at the list. So that’s news to me, because I just don’t think that is something that's good for me. And if we had 10 guys (on the list), I wouldn’t prop my feet up on my desk and say we’ve got it all figured out.
"Those are evaluations that are fun, and they’re obviously capable people that are looking at all the prospects. But when you look back in time, nobody, including all of us in the industry, gets it right to when it comes to where guys come from. I guess I’ll look at in passing if it ends up on my desk, but I doubt I spend much time on it."
Maybe more damning than the Tigers' single representative is the fact that Jobe ranked well behind several players selected after him in the 2021 draft, including top-15-ranked shortstops Marcelo Mayer and Jordan Lawlar, who went fourth overall to the Red Sox and sixth overall to the Diamondbacks, respectively. And fellow right-hander and high school draftee Andrew Painter, who went No. 13 to the Phillies, ranked No. 5 overall.
Jobe had a respectable debut season in the pros last year, posting a 3.84 ERA and more than a strikeout per inning in 21 starts across Low-A and High-A.
“Jobe has yet to match the highs expected from him coming out of high school when the Tigers picked him third overall," wrote Baseball America, "but he’s a 20-year-old with plenty of projection remaining who showed durability, a plus-plus slider and solid control in 2022."
Under new president of baseball operations Scott Harris, who hired Rob Metzler from the Rays shortly after his own hire to replace Scott Pleis as the Tigers' amateur scouting director, the hope is that the Tigers can mine more talent in both the draft and the international free agent market.