Earlier 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).