Major League Baseball’s offseason is in full swing, and that means everyone is thinking about the future. In most cities, that means next season; in some, though, it means the bigger picture, the next three to five years. You’re either selling wins or you’re selling hope, the old saying goes. We here at CBS Sports like to provide as much hope as we can around this time of the winter by evaluating each team’s farm system.
Of course, that doesn’t mean every team has an equally good farm system — some, as you’ll find out throughout this process, are lacking in that respect. It does mean, nevertheless, that CBS Sports will be spending the next few weeks examining the top three prospects in each organization. We define “prospects” as retaining their rookie eligibility for the 2023 season, so if a young player is missing that’s likely why.
These lists and evaluations are formed following conversations with scouts, analysts, and player development types. There’s also firsthand evaluation and bias thrown into the mix. Keep in mind that player evaluation is a hard task, and it’s fine if you disagree with the rankings. These are opinions, and they have no real bearing on the future..
With that in mind, let’s get to it by dissecting the Detroit Tigers.
1. Jace Jung, 2B (2023 seasonal age: 22)
The Tigers popped Jung with the 12th pick in last July’s draft by way of Texas Tech. (His older brother, Josh, is a rookie third baseman with the Rangers.) Jung (it’s pronounced like “young”) has a good feel for both the barrel and the strike zone, but scouts have expressed reservations about his power output and his defensive ability. He has good raw juice, but he has a hit-over-slug approach at the dish. His issues in the field aren’t a matter of choice: he’s just not a range-blessed athlete. Rival evaluators thought of him as a second baseman in the Max Muncy mold, meaning that he’ll need to be positioned properly to avoid giving back the runs he creates with his bat. Jung’s offensive polish should allow him to climb the organizational ladder quickly.
2. Jackson Jobe, RHP (2023 seasonal age: 20)
The Tigers took a big risk when they drafted Jobe, a prep right-hander, with the third pick in the 2021 draft — especially with Marcelo Mayer still on the board. Put simply, prep right-handers almost never work out, to the extent that they’re…