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Stay patient; they're young.

Updated: Mar 14, 2023

An MLB career is one of the ups and down. Often, a highly touted prospect could fly through the minors and debut at 19-22, others who were also 1st round picks could arrive at 24/25, or if you're Joey Meneses, you were 30 when you finally got your shot, and you dominated the MLB when you got there. The spectrum is HUGE! Today, I am looking at a short list of players who can turn it around and make a positive impact down the line.

Detroit Tigers pitchers Tarik Skubal, Matt Manning and Casey Mize on media day in Lakeland, Fla. on Thursday Feb 20, 2020. Reinhold Matay, USA Today Sports

Tigers Rotation: Casey Mize, Beau Brieske, Matt Manning, Tarik Skubal. These four are all under 25yo and have each had a moment on the list of highly touted pitching prospects that have been floated around the league. Mize only threw 10IP, Brieske 81.2IP, and Manning 63.0IP, Skubal 117.2. When four young, talented arms are expected to carry a rotation, those numbers stay the same, as only Skubal made more than 20 starts. The pressure comes from everyone but Skubal to leap into the rotation. The rest of the rotation is back for 2023. Eduardo Rodriguez and Spencer Turnbull are returning, and in addition, Michael Lorenzen takes the three spot, and other youngsters, like Joey Wentz and Garrett Hill, are also in the mix. It's a healthy competition, and Mize is a former number 1 overall pick in 2018 on the 60-day IL. I believe in all these guys and the Tiger's pitching staff, as Wentz and HIll are also under 26.

Sixto Sanchez Sixto has been compared to Pedro Martinez during his promising debut at 22 in the 2020 season. Since this season, he missed 2021 and 2022 with different shoulder injuries and still has not appeared in spring training 2023. He is still only 24, and the upside is real with Sixto. He also has an excellent mentor, Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara to learn from and work with. Sixto is in great hands, and when healthy, the 1-2 punch of Alcantara-Sixto followed by the up-and-coming Edward Cabrera, I am excited for what can be. I believe in Sixto on the mound, a 1.5WAR, 3.46ERA/3.50FIP 33K-11BB in 39IP during the 2020 season; the is plenty of reason with age, a great sample to be excited for Sixto still.

Kyle Bradish, the debut of Bradish was slightly above average The 4th round pick from 2018 is only 26yo and goes into his second season in the Orioles rotation. The Orioles are a team to be excited about; with Rutch taking another step forward with game calling and MLB speed, I love every member of the Orioles staff. The debut, is 0.4WAR, 4.90ERA/4.45FIP, 111k-46BB in 23GS/117.2IP. I wouldn't call it a bust. However, there is plenty of room to grow.

Ryan Feltner, who? I am joking; if you're an NL West or Rockies fan, you know the 2018 4th-round pick. Coor's field is one of the most challenging parts to pitch in due to the altitude. Feltner is entering his age 26 season and coming off a 0.1WAR, 5.83ERA/4.76FIP, 84K-35BB in 19GS/97.1IP. The area of struggle was the 42.8% hard hit while allowing a .792OPS against him. Again, some of this can be credited to pitching at Coors field. Believe what you may, however, I like all the additional advanced pitching metrics, and there is plenty of reason for optimism.

Jarren Duran and Jeter Downs during the pregame ceremonies on Opening Day at Polar Park. (KATIE MORRISON / MASSLIVE)

Jarren Duran, a 2018 7th-round pick by the Red Sox, Duran made his debut during the 2021 season and then came back again during the 2022 season after he tore it up to the tune of 10HR, .283/.349/.491 and a .840OPS in 68G at AAA. When he got to Boston, he played in 58G, to the tune of .221/.283/.363 with a .645OPS, and 78OPS+, both of the latter are below league average. With Jackie Bradley on his way out of CF and Duran on his way in defensively, the BaBIP of .302, 28.3k% can be worked with and gives me hope personally that the 26yo Duran can be the everyday man in the middle.

Jeter Downs, the 24yo, former first-round pick during the 2017 draft, was a vital piece of the Mookie Betts trade from LA to Boston. Downs didn't hit for BA in the minors during the 2022 season, but the .728 was above league average. There is profound power from Downs with the 16HR in his 81G at AAA. However, the power and good OPS numbers did not translate to the MLB. Getting into only 14G with a .154/.171/.256 lines and 17OPS+. The 21K-1BB is of great concern, and the average defense is also one that might not stick. Downs could become a solid utility INF for the Nationals and be a surprising contributor. I believe still.

Spencer Torkelson, I promise I am not a Tigers fan. However, the 2020 #1 pick got a rough start in his quest to become the great Miggy's heir. Torkelson dominated the minors in his first and only season of pro ball after sitting on the taxi squad during the 2020 season. He dominated the minors in 2021, between High-A, AA, and AAA. He had 30HR, 91RBI, .267/.383/.552, and an OPS of .935. The adjustment to MLB pitching was hard to see at times, as he did get sent to AAA during the season for 35G, where he again crushed. The MLB adjustment will improve after the -1.3WAR, .604OPS, 8HR, 28RBI, 99K-37BB. He was fantastic at 1B with a .998Fld% with 2E. He is off to another rough start in ST as of 3/2 in 11AB, 1H, 1RBI, and .182OPS. I have seen Tork play, and I have seen him dominate pitching in the minors, I know that he can ball, he is 23, and he is learning from Miggy; I have no doubts it will click, and when it does, watch out.

Cristian Pache, the 24