Walkoff Woodward

Concerning Detroit Baseball
February 6, 2013

On What It Means To Have A Putrid Minor League System

Avisail Garcia HSEarlier today Keith Law of ESPN.com released his Top 100 Prospects for all the internet to see. As most affluent Tigers fans should have expected, there was not much fanfare regarding youngsters in the organizations lower depths. The lone player to make his list is Nick Castellanos, at #38. Earlier this week Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com released his own Top 100. Again, not much for the Tigers, although Castellanos was higher than on Law’s list (#21), and Bruce Rondon actually snuck in at #92. There shouldn’t be much trust that Baseball America will be any different when their list comes out next week, although I personally still cling to a strand of brightly colored hope that Avisail Garcia will find his way into their ranking’s good graces.

Other than that paragraph, I don’t have many interesting thoughts on this. How can I, when the Tigers have spent the last five years winning games (well, expect for 2007), going deep in the playoffs, tossing the potential for high draft picks out the window? Of course, it’s not really an excuse, as the St. Louis Cardinals have shown with their never ending stream of impact professional players, but any real talent the team has manifested has found its way into the trade stream. The argument that the top prospects they’ve traded away aren’t very good, as we now are slowly beginning to realize, but that could speak more to the Tigers scouting than those players lack of ability to manifest their talent.

But,what does it mean to us, the fans, when it’s collectively viewed that the Tigers have one of the worst minor league systems in all of baseball?

That all, of course, depends on your perspective. Now, I’m not going to sit here and type out all the different ways you can look at it because, I think, at it’s core, it means we take any talent that presents itself, such as Nick Castellanos or Avisail Garcia or Bruce Rondon, and we conceptualize them, we make them bigger than they might actually be, and we hang onto them like a young child hangs onto his parents hand when being dragged to his room for bed.

Sure, it might seem a bit dangerous to think that way, but such is the nature when the most recent homegrown talent that has actually lived up to his potential is Justin Verlander (still not bad, in my opinion).

  • http://www.facebook.com/adam.mahler Adam Mahler

    While the minor league system may be depleted now, it has historically been loaded alleged major league ready pitchers. Dombrowski has gotten the Tigers to where they are by drafting a ton of highly rated pitchers, keeping the ones he likes (Porcello) and dealing the rest for position players. They have the best position player in the league that was acquired through one of the most spectacularly one sided trades in history. I’m starting to be surprised more of these “next tiger superstars” haven’t emerged somewhere as a significant piece, but it may just be a testimony to Dombrowski. It’s like our own brand of moneyball. I think I’ll take the Tigers over the Royals any day. Wasn’t it 2 years they were on the cover of SI because of their loaded farm system? Congrats on that and 4th place last year.

    • http://www.walkoffwoodward.com/ Josh Worn

      Excellent comment.

  • Blaxpheme

    I’m really, REALLY over the year after year, of having to hear (Lynn Henning for one) how the Royals are ‘up and coming’, only to see them lose 95+ games year in/out. In 2013 look for more of the same, I’m telling you right here, despite their ‘upgrades’, this team will again, lose 90 games. Book it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/throwsplastic Christopher Wojciechowski

    The analysts always see the Tigers’ system differently from the Tigers’ fellow major league teams. One thing you have to notice is that every year the Tigers’ system is depleted, every year they rank poorly. Its been like this for most of Dombrowski’s time in Detroit. There’s usually one stud pitcher and one could be very good position player. The rest of the system? Depleted. And yet teams keep taking our players in exchange for major league talent (Casper Wells, Matt Joyce)… Guys like Avi Garcia, Andy Dirks, the Brennan Boesch of 2011, prior to his thumb injury… they keep emerging at the big league level and proving useful as starters for a near perennial playoff contender in the Central. Guys like Smyly and Wilk prove to have useful talents and could develop. The system looks depleted from the outside – but Dombrowski always finds the help he needs to put around his stars.

Switch to our desktop site

Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookCheck Our Feed