DETROIT – The preseason prospect rankings for 2021 were released Thursday night, and the Detroit Tigers stole the show with five players ranked among the top 25 prospects in the league.
A handful of other teams placed two prospects inside the top 25, but the Tigers more than doubled that number.
Last year’s No. 1 overall pick, Spencer Torkelson, is the highest-ranked Tigers prospect at No. 3 overall, behind only Wander Franco (Tampa Bay Rays) and Adley Rutschman (Baltimore Orioles).
Fellow No. 1 selection Casey Mize checks in at No. 11 overall after making his major league debut during the shortened 2020 season.
Outfielder Riley Greene continues to climb the rankings, reaching No. 21 on the current list.
Tarik Skubal, who made the jump to MLB with Mize last season, is the No. 24 overall prospect.
Matt Manning likely would have joined Mize and Skubal on the roster last season if not for some injury issues. He checks in at No. 25 on the list.
Detroit doesn’t have any other prospects inside the top 100, but they will likely add one with the No. 3 overall pick in the upcoming MLB draft.
These players are the main building blocks for a new regime headed by manager A.J. Hinch. While the Tigers were in contention for a surprisingly long time in 2020, they ultimately fell apart down the stretch and showed holes both in the everyday lineup and on the pitching staff.
A pair of free agent signings -- Robbie Grossman and Wilson Ramos -- suggest the Tigers don’t want to be a doormat again this upcoming season. But the roster is nowhere near playoff caliber, and 2021 will likely be another year dedicated more to analyzing individual players than actually worrying about contention.
COVID-19 caused the minor league season to be canceled completely last year, and it couldn’t have come at a worse time for a rebuilding team like the Tigers. All of their non-rostered prospects lost a full year of development, so it’ll be important for them to get back on track in 2021.