Detroit Tigers well into rebuilding mode
DETROIT — The Detroit Tigers avoided some of their worst-case scenarios this season. They didn’t finish last, or all that close to it.
In the end, however, they had the same record as in 2017, and the franchise still seems a long way from contention.
“Not everything is going to go perfect. As you know, some things are going to turn out good, some not,” general manager Al Avila said. “I feel we had a good year for the first year of our rebuild. We played with a lot of players that made their major league debuts. We saw some good performances and we saw some that were not as good.”
Detroit went 64-98, the same record the Tigers had last year, when they ended up tied for the worst record in baseball. There were a few teams worse than that this season, which may have contributed to the sense that Detroit was exceeding expectations.
The Tigers are hoping some of the prospects in their system turn into players they can build around. In that respect, 2018 has been inconclusive. Detroit hasn’t yet been able to bring a significant number of top prospects to the majors.
“This is just the beginning. If you think we are young now wait until next year,” said Ron Gardenhire, who was in his first season managing the Tigers. “We’ll see. That’s the goal is to get all these young kids up here and play them. Triple-A is going to be full of prospects. Guys that are knocking on the door.”
Outfielder Christin Stewart, Detroit’s No. 6 prospect according to mlb.com , made his big league debut this season, playing in 17 games. He hit 25 home runs in the minors this year. The team’s top five prospects on that list are all pitchers, and they’re at varying stages. Casey Mize, the top pick in this year’s draft, made five starts in the low levels of the minors. Franklin Perez, who came to the organization in the trade for Justin Verlander in 2017, was limited to seven minor league starts this year by injury problems . Matt Manning, Alex Faedo and Beau Burrows have all pitched at Double-A, and they’ll be prospects to watch in 2019.