Detroit Tigers have sneaky starting pitching prospect depth in the minors

(Detroit Free Press)
(Detroit Free Press) /

The Detroit Tigers are looking to emerge through the end of the rebuild, looking like a team destined for a World Series or at least a time of competitiveness. This team has been in the trenches for some time now, and things have to give eventually.

One of the things helping the Detroit Tigers pursue this is the ability to draft well and create strong draft classes in recent years. While I know the crowd lies on the negative side of things when it comes to General Manager (GM) Al Avila, I do favor his draft class.

The Tigers front office as a whole has done an excellent job of piecing together better-than-average draft classes overall for the future. While having the first overall pick means that the Tigers 2020 draft class should already be benefitted from their selection of Spencer Torkelson.

All-in-all, they have put together some quality draft classes, which has led the team to build a farm system that has a few sneaky-good players. That includes a few starting pitcher prospects who will turn some heads when they get to the big leagues.

No, I’m not talking about Jackson Jobe, especially since there are still some Jobe haters out there salty about the Jobe selection over Marcelo Mayer. But two other pitchers from the 2021 draft class have bright futures and may not be considered as much since they are both new to the organization.

The Detroit Tigers have some sneaky starting pitching prospect depth.

Looking at the organization, some feel the team’s pipeline of prospects is running dry. In some positions, this may be true, but with starting pitchers, there’s some sneaky depth here. Let’s dive into two of those “sneaky-good” arms now.

Ty Madden – RHP out of the University of Texas (Austin)

The Tigers invested early in Ty Madden, selecting him with the 32nd overall pick in the first round (Competitive Balance Round A) of the 2021 draft this past summer. Madden was a consensus first overall pick but slid farther down the ranks and found himself available when the Tigers scooped him up.

He was ranked as high as ninth overall on some draft lists and appears to have the tools to be a future stud in a rotation that the Tigers are building for the future. As a 21-year old coming out of three years with the Texas Longhorns program, he’s got experience and will not have to spend six years in the minors.

He’s got a high-velocity fastball that has sink and profiles well with his tight-late slider and can fool hitters. He’s got a bigger-breaking curveball and shows feel for the changeup as well. The Tigers can get him into their development programs and mold him into the pitcher they want him to be while highlighting his strengths.

After a solid season with the Longhorns, where he pitched 113.2 innings with a 2.45 ERA, a 1.05 WHIP, and 137 strikeouts, he’s got a good background coming to the Tigers organization. There’s plenty to like, and he’s one of those under-the-radar guys who may generate some buzz as he rises through the Tigers ranks.

Dylan Smith – RHP out of the University of Alabama

The Tigers were not done finding some quality arms in their draft class last summer. They scooped up Dylan Smith in the third round of this summer’s draft out of the University of Alabama down in Tuscaloosa.

Smith was someone that teams were scared away from him due to some “lackluster” stats. Smith posted a 3.84 ERA, a 1.21 WHIP, and K’d 113 hitters over 98.1 innings pitched for the Crimson Tide in 2021. His collegiate pedigree may not hold up to some others, but Smith has the tools to succeed.

Smith features a lively mid-90s fastball that mixes with a quality slider with good shape and a third-offering that he throws a lot less. The changeup is a part of Smith’s arsenal and shows good fade, but this may be an example of a Chris Fetter-driven pick.

Fetter has a type when it comes to pitchers. Guys with good velocity and good sliders seem to play into the guy that Fetter is trying to develop. It’s easy to see that Smith would be able to fit that mold.

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The bottom line is that the Tigers have two arms who may be future big leaguers and add to the Tigers rotation. It’s not to say these two guys are future Cy Young winners, but they are players who are not getting a ton of buzz and may wind up being very beneficial to the team’s rebuild.