DETROIT - The Detroit Tigers have long been criticized for going outside the organization to acquire talent and failing to develop young players through the draft and minor league system.
Now they're trying to escape that stigma.
In Baseball America's midseason list of MLB's top 100 prospects, the Tigers have three representatives, and they're all right-handed starting pitchers.
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According to the list, Detroit's No. 1 prospect is none other than last month's first-round pick, Alex Faedo. The 21-year-old is coming off a stellar performance to lead the University of Florida to a College World Series.
Faedo was named the team's most outstanding player en route to the championship. The Tigers drafted him with the No. 18 overall pick in the 2017 draft and handed him a $3 million signing bonus earlier this month.
The list ranks Faedo as the No. 53 overall prospect in the league, even though he won't throw his first professional pitch until 2018. He is the No. 15 right-handed pitcher on the list and the No. 18 pitcher overall.
But Faedo isn't the only recent draft pick to make the top 100. In fact, each of the Tigers' first-round picks from the last three drafts is included in the rankings.
Other top pitching talent
Matt Manning, who the Tigers drafted with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2016 MLB draft, checks in at No. 79 overall on the list.
Manning, 19, was the Tigers' only top-100 prospect during the preseason rankings, and has since risen two spots. In four starts with Single-A Connecticut, Manning has struck out 18 batters in 16.1 innings, allowing just three earned runs on 14 hits and six walks.
Last season, Manning started 10 games for the Tigers' rookie team, striking out 46 batters in 29.1 innings and allowing 13 earned runs on 27 hits and seven walks.
Manning is the No. 29 right-handed pitcher on the list and the No. 36 pitcher overall.
Beau Burrows, who was drafted No. 22 overall by the Tigers in the 2015 MLB draft, sits one spot behind Manning at No. 80 overall on the list.
The 20-year-old righty has risen from rookie ball to Double-A Erie in just two seasons, dominating at Low-A West Michigan and High-A Lakeland. In 11 starts at Lakeland to begin 2017, Burrows struck out 62 batters in 58.2 innings, allowing just eight earned runs on 44 hits and 11 walks.
His dominance hasn't carried over to Double-A yet, as he's allowed 18 earned runs in 29 innings over six starts. But he's still averaging close to a strikeout per inning and is more than three years younger than the average player in that league.
With Faedo, Manning and Burrows in the farm system, the Tigers have a strong baseline of young arms for the future pitching rotation.
When Baseball America ranked the top 10 Tigers prospects in November 2016, several position players made the list behind Manning.
Christin Stewart was the No. 2 prospect in the system, and the outfielder has since slugged 19 home runs and 17 doubles in 83 games with Double-A Erie. He's batting .272 with a .352 on-base percentage and elite .544 slugging percentage.
Mike Gerber is also one of the team's top position players, ranking No. 7 in the organization behind JaCoby Jones, who has since graduated from prospect status.
Gerber is batting .292 for Erie with seven homers and 19 doubles in 73 games. His .811 OPS and high walk rate suggest the 24-year-old could contribute in the Tigers' outfield soon.
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