For the past several seasons the Detroit Tigers have been a free swinging group. Ranked near the bottom in team hitting percentage, walks and on base percentage. New Tigers team president Scott Harris has said that the team is now going to focus on finding players who are discipled at the plate. Harris was very blunt when he said this at his introductory press conference.
When looking at the current Detroit Tigers roster they did shed themselves of some players who were free swingers. However, the organization elected to hang onto SS-Javier Baez a notorious free swinger. There are young players whom the team can build around and who either have or are working towards disciple at the plate.
Last season if it could go wrong it did for former first overall draft pick Spencer Torkelson. This offseason manager AJ Hinch sent both of Detroit’s hitting coaches Keith Beauregard and Michael Brdar to meet with Torkelson in Arizona. The team has stated that Torkelson is a big part of the teams future. Scott Harris and Hinch have said they are going to use spring training to evaluate young players.
Two players in the Tigers system fit what the team is transitioning towards. 3B/OF Justyn- Henry Malloy, whom the team received as part of the trade from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for closer Gregory Soto. Malloy can flat out rake. playing in the Arizona Fall League, Malloy posted a 408 OBP, .306/.438/.444 with five doubles, one triple, and one homer, while drawing 16 walks with 20 strikeouts in 89 plate appearances.
Malloy has the plate disciple the Tigers are looking for. Malloy could start the season at Double A- with the Erie Seawolves or in Triple A- with the Toledo Mud Hens.
The other is a player who was drafted by the Tigers during the 2020 MLB Draft, 3B/2B Colt Keith. There is a lot to like about Keith. He is a discipled hitter with power. Keith does not chase balls out of the strike zone and is willing to take a walk. Possessing very good bat control through the zone, Keith finds a way to get on base. Probably heading to Double A when training camp breaks, Keith will not be in the minors much longer.
While it seems disappointing that the Tigers have embarked on yet another rebuild, with Scott Harris and AJ Hinch calling the shots it feels like the right direction is upon the entire Detroit Tigers organization. Both Justyn-Henry Malloy and Colt Keith are the poster boys for what the organization is looking for. If the team can help Spencer Torkelson get going than this rebuild could take shape quickly.