Top four healthy Detroit Tigers pitching prospects off to incredible starts

Casey Mize, Matt Manning, Beau Burrows, Alex Faedo dominating

Detroit Tigers pitching prospects Casey Mize, Matt Manning, Beau Burrows and Alex Faedo. (Getty Images)

DETROIT - The Detroit Tigers have drafted right-handed pitchers in the first round of the last four MLB drafts, and all four are off to absolutely dominant starts in the minor leagues this season.

Casey Mize

Mize, the organization's No. 1 prospect and last year's top overall pick in the draft, highlights the group with a sparking 0.50 ERA, 0.39 WHIP, .105 batting average against and 21 strikeouts in 18 innings with Single-A Lakeland.

The 21-year-old has faced 60 batters this season and only eight have reached base. Mize is ranked as the No. 16 prospect in baseball and the No. 4 pitching prospect, according to MLB.com.

Matt Manning

Manning, the team's No. 2 prospect, is also flourishing at just 21 years old. The 2016 first-round pick is demonstrating elite strikeout potential with 23 whiffs in 16.2 innings.

Only six of the 59 batters he's faced have recorded a hit, and only four have received free passes. Manning struggled in a pair of starts at Double-A Erie last season, but those same hitters appear overmatched through his first three starts of 2019.

Manning is the No. 49 overall prospect in baseball but possesses one of the game's best fastballs. If he can maintain his current strikeout and walk rates, he'll be an ace at the big league level.

Beau Burrows

It's an important bounce-back year for Beau Burrows after he struggled and fell out of baseball's top 100 prospects last seaon. So far, he's off to a very good start in Triple-A Toledo.

Burrows has only three Triple-A starts under his belt, but they've been mostly encouraging. Overall, he's allowed just two earned runs on 10 hits and four walks in 14 innings. Burrows has 17 strikeouts, a 1.00 WHIP and a low walk rate -- an obvious recipe for success.

While he's no longer a top 100 prospect, Burrows is the No. 6 prospect in the Tigers' organization and is still only 22 years old after being selected in the first round in 2015. He was very good in 2017, so if he continues to succeed in 2017, last season will look like the outlier.

He had a rough start Tuesday, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks in 3.2 innings, so it will be important to Burrows to bounce back over the weekend.

Alex Faedo

Home runs doomed Faedo last season after he was called up to Double-A Erie, so much so that he dropped well out of the top 100 prospects. He was among the team's top five prospects until the start of this season, when he dropped to No. 10.

Faedo averaged a mediocre 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings last season and allowed 15 home runs in 60 innings after the promotion to Double-A.

He's had much more success in his first two starts this season, both six-inning outings with 13 swining strikes and no walks. Faedo was one of the best college pitchers in the country at Florida, and the Tigers hope to see more dominant numbers from him across a full season.

Faedo has 15 strikeouts and no walks in 12 innings while allowing just seven hits and two runs.

Overview

Detroit's major league rotation has been fantastic so far in 2019, but only Matt Boyd looks like a safe bet to remain in the rotation long-term.

Boyd has 36 strikeouts in 24.1 innings and has recorded three quality starts in four outings. He owns a 1.11 WHIP, a low walk rate and has only given up one home run.

Spencer Turnbull has also been interesting, striking out 24 batters in 21 innings. He's had two really good starts and two very average starts, but he certainly has the stuff to be part of an MLB rotation.

Jordan Zimmermann, Tyson Ross and Matt Moore -- who is out for the season -- aren't part of the team's future plans. Daniel Norris certainly hasn't taken advantage of any opportunities, either.

That means there are plenty of openings for the four young pitchers listed above, especially if they continue to dominate in the minors.

The team's No. 3 prospect, Franklin Perez, could also get into the mix if he can stay healthy. He's the No. 75 overall prospect in baseball and was the centerpiece of the Justin Verlander trade.

The Tigers are stuck in the middle of a full rebuild, but the pieces of the future starting rotation are clearly starting to come together.

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