Detroit Tigers draft picks Spencer Torkelson and Dillon Dingler showing progress

Embed from Getty Images The Detroit Tigers top two draft picks Spencer Torkelson and Dillon Dingler who are both in Toledo, working out and taking part in simulated games are showing progress in their development. This comes on the heals of the fact neither Torkelson or Dingler stood out in summer camp at Comerica Park.

In an odd year for every sport, baseball was no different. Spencer Torkelson and Dillon Dingler were both waiting for the draft during the COVID-19 mandatory shutdown.

They went from working out, however much they were able to do, to being drafted by the Detroit Tigers to summer camp to facing 90 plus MPH pitches from Major League Baseball starting pitchers. Some would argue that was a bit unfair. There could be some truth in that. But as some say it is what it is.

Dave Littlefield, Tigers vice president of player development, said Torkelson and Dingler have both shown progress in Toledo. Littlefield went on to say both players bats are coming alive the more pitchers they face.

Dingler hit a home run to right field the other day and Torkelson has been swinging the bat better and better the last few days. All signs are very positive for the Detroit Tigers rebuild efforts.

Spencer Torkelson continues to work at third base with Detroit Tigers legend  and MLB Hall of Fame member Alan Trammell. Dave Littlefield said Torkelson is making some nice plays at third base. His glove work and foot work are said to have improved since the end of summer camp.

Make no mistake about it, two players will not make or break the Detroit Tigers rebuild. However, being the top two picks for Detroit this year, the expectation is that Torkelson and Dingler will be the one’s to push the rebuild forward. There are other players as well.

When a player has the scouting report the Tigers top two 2020 draft picks have anything less than progress could be taken as a red flag. That is not the case. It is highly doubtful either Torkelson or Dingler will see major league action this summer. That is just fine. Development is much more important at the present time.

 

Jordan Zimmermann may have thrown his last pitch for the Detroit Tigers

Embed from Getty Images Free agency is a gamble. The Detroit Tigers have signed players who have elevated their own play as well as the play of the team. Unfortunately that has not been the case with pitcher Jordan Zimmermann.

The Detroit Tigers have placed veteran right handed pitcher Jordan Zimmermann on the 45 day injured list with a right forearm strain. Prior to the 2016 season, the Tigers signed Zimmermann to a five year $110 million dollar contract. Zimmermann looked dominant first month in Detroit. Then it started to fall apart.

Last season Jordan Zimmermann went 1-13 with a 6.91 ERA. The MLB season is 60 games this year due to COVID-19. Zimmermann hopes to return by the end of the 2020 season.

By placing the oft injured pitcher on the 45 day DL and not the 10, (it is said Zimmermann preferred), the Detroit Tigers opened a spot for one of their non roster invitees. This seasons 45 day DL is equivalent to last year’ s 60 day DL.

While it has not worked out for Jordan Zimmermann on the field and his contract looks really bad, there is a silver lining in all of this. Zimmermann has worked and helped other Detroit Tigers pitchers. Michael Fulmer, Matthew Boyd and Daniel Norris to name a few have benefited from Zimmermann’s help and mentorship.

Sometimes free agency works well and when it does not, it sticks out. You can not solely blame Jordan Zimmermann for the unraveling that took place while he has been in Detroit. He simply took the money the Tigers offered.

Jordan Zimmermann was one of the game’s top starting pitchers when he signed a deal with the Detroit Tigers. There is no going back only a look ahead. For both Zimmermann and the Tigers organization. As it seems likely Zimmerman has thrown his last pitch in Detroit.

Casey Mize looks ready to join the Detroit Tigers pitching rotation

Embed from Getty Images Casey Mize,  is one of the Tigers top pitching prospects,  although he was slated to spend this season in Triple A Toledo with the Mud Hens before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the plans could change. Casey Mize has put on a show during summer camp.

Detroit Tigers manager manager Ron Gardenhire put it as plain as he could and did not mince his words, “Yeah. I’d like to have him (on the roster) right now,” Gardenhire said. “We know the protocol and what we’re trying to do here, step by step. I just think he’s very poised. He knows what he needs to do and wants to do and it’s fun watching him pitch.

“He’s in control and he has a great plan on what he needs to do to be successful. He’s moving really quick and for me, it can’t be quick enough. I like him a lot.”

It is worth noting that Mize could really use some Triple A seasoning. But because there is no minor baseball due to the current pandemic it could force the Tigers hand. The Tigers could also choose to allow Casey Mize to continue to develop with the 30 man taxi squad that will continue training in Toledo after the season begins on July 24 in Cincinnati.

One thing Detroit Tigers fans need to know about Casey Mize is although his frame (6′ 3″) does not project, his stuff does. Mize is always tinkering with his pitches. Trying to get the max out of each one. Mize is a pitching rat.

Fellow top Detroit Tigers  Matt Manning does have a frame that projects. Manning ( 6′ 6″) is also on target for Detroit. However, because Casey Mize boarders on obsessive when it comes to getting his pitches just right, he is slightly ahead of Manning.

Even if the Detroit Tigers use Casey Mize as a backup plan (in case of emergency) Tigers fans can begin to see the future sooner than later.

The Detroit Tigers should be sellers at the MLB trade deadline

Embed from Getty Images The time is coming. The time is not now. What time is that you say? Time for the Detroit Tigers to add to the core players who the organization hopes will pull them out of a rebuild and in to contention again. Until that time arrives the Tigers need to sell off players and continue to add to the prospect pool.

The Detroit Tigers are coming off a 2019 season that had very few silver linings as they chalked up 114 losses. While the Tigers minor league system is ranked #5 or #6 depending on who is doing the rankings. The system still needs to improve.

The Detroit Tigers must sell. They have some nice players to offer.  C.J. Cron, Jonathan Schoop, Cameron Maybin and starting pitcher Ivan Nova could be rentals for teams aiming for the MLB Postseason.

Detroit Tigers pitcher Matthew Boyd, who is controlled through 2022 was  shopped by Tigers general manager Al Avila last season but no trade was made as rumors circulated the Tigers were asking for a premium return for the left-handed pitcher.

In the 2020 COVID-19 shortened season, teams will have a short window to decide if they needs to add a player for a playoff push. In my opinion this could be a busy trade season in the 60 game sprint to the playoffs.

Matthew Boyd very well could be moved this summer for a team with the assets to gain his services. This would help the Detroit rebuild as it could potentially add more talent to the Tigers farm system.

With some very good pitching in the system, Avila has focused on hitters in the last two MLB drafts. The Tigers have more than enough arms to make up for Boyd should he be dealt. The team should focus on middle infielders in any return should Boyd be traded.

Christin Stewart out to show he is part of the Detroit Tigers future

Embed from Getty Images When the Detroit Tigers opened their 2020 spring training, Tigers outfielder Christin Stewart struggled. That may be a bit of an understatement. Stewart struggled to the tune of four hits in 30 plate appearances. When COVID-19 chutdown spring training, Detroit Tigers hitting coach Joe Vavra pulled Stewart aside.

Vavra, saw some mechanical adjustments that could help Christin Stewart’s hitting. Stewart headed back to his home in Nashville Tennessee and worked on making the adjustments with the thought it would pay off.

Christin Stewart hit 98 home runs in five minor league seasons. Last season was Stewart’s first in Detroit. In Stewart’s  first full season with the Tigers 104 games he hit 10 in 416 plate appearances with 103 strikeouts.

The lack of plate production, coupled with Stewart’s deficiencies  defensively namely range and arm strength, suddenly Christin Stewart was no sure thing to make the Detroit Tigers roster coming out of spring training and beyond.

Stewart got to work. Not only did he work on making adjustments at the plate, but the young outfielder also worked on better footwork  in the outfield and really worked hard at getting throws to the cutoff man.

The Detroit Tigers front office and coaching staff know that Stewart can mash the ball. If Stewart can find consistency he could be a very valuable piece for the Tigers as Stewart is left handed power guy. So if he has worked the kinks out Stewart could become a valuable part in Detroit’s offense both now and in the future.

Thursday the Tigers played an inetersquad game. A new and improved Christin Stewart stepped to the plate, he would deliver three hits in the game. In what was a sight for sore eyes, Stewart  had worked extremely hard on his fitness. In the time off he committed to a regimen of agility drills and plyometrics, Stewart is now leaner and more flexible than he was last season.

In talking with the media Christin Stewart had this to say,

“I know I belong,” he said. “I know my abilities. I know my strengths and I know what I can do. At the end of the day, all you can control is your actions and effort. I’m just giving it everything I got. I just have a hunger every time I am out there to do the best I can.

“I’m really focused and excited about this year.”

 

With much attention on the 2020 draft class, do not sleep on Detroit Tigers Riley Greene

Embed from Getty Images 3B Spencer Torkelson, C Dillon Dingler, OF Daniel Cabrera, SS Trei Cruz, 3B Gage Workman and 3B Colt Keith the much hyped 2020 Detroit Tigers MLB Draft Class. Hyped for good reason. This group of players can hit. Four of them were projected first round picks who fell throughout the draft into Detroit’s lap. But there is another hitter in the Detroit Tigers organization. Riley Greene who was selected number five overall last season.

After signing his rookie contract last year, outfield prospect Riley Greene. Greene, he of a smooth swing from the left side also has some power. Along with Greene’s sweet swing comes somewhat of an uppercut in the swing, Riley gets good carry and his line drives seem to create a lot of spin.

Riley Greene was drafted out of high school in Oviedo, Florida by the Detroit Tigers last June. Watching the way he carries himself, interacts with teammates and goes about his baseball business it is hard to believe that Greene is just 19 years old.

Between rookie ball, Class A Connecticut and West Michigan, he hit .271 with five home runs and 28 RBIs last summer. Greene seemed a sure bet to be placed in Class A Lakeland this season with the Flying Tigers. Due to COVID-19 Greene instead received a ticket into the Tigers’ 60 man player pool.

While there is very little question Greene and the Class of 2020 will not see any major league action this summer. Development time is much more critical to long term success. That must be the Tigers mind set, even in a 60 game shortened season.

Greene and the other Detroit top prospects will head to Toledo and play intersquad games. Still with all of the new highly touted talent in the Detroit Tigers pipeline fans should not forget about Riley Greene. Greene is a big part of Detroit’s future. He looks to be a middle of the order hitter. Embed from Getty Images

 

The future looks brighter for the Detroit Tigers

Embed from Getty Images Summer camp has started. The Detroit Tigers players and coach’s are practicing for the shortened 60 game MLB season at Comerica Park. Baseball is back, at least for now. That is a good thing. A better thing for the Detroit Tigers and the fan base is top prospects are on the way and they look good.

Projection in baseball is fool’s business. For scouts and baseball insiders it is a very necessary business. The Detroit Tigers prospects have sent a buzz throughout the city of Detroit and state of Michigan.

For the Tigers they have had some rather promising pitching prospects for a couple of years now. Last years and this years MLB draft the Detroit Tigers have shifted focus to bring hitters into the prospect pool.

Having added hitters to the already nationally rated and ranked (#1 overall) pitching prospects the accumulation of talent is why the farm system now ranks among the best in baseball, or near the top depending on who is ranking.

Under normal circumstances, most of the prospects would not step onto the field at Comerica Park for another year or so. But the COVID-19 pandemic got them to Detroit sooner.

The Tigers top prospects including 2020 first round draft pick Spencer Torkelson have all be added to the taxi squad. The prospects will play intrasquad scrimmages in Toledo. The Tigers will be able to bring them up for a look as needed.

Matt Manning one of Detroit’s prized pitching prospects said “It’s gonna be fun to see this team take shape.” The Tigers have some serious young talent. That will soon enough take center stage at Comerica Park as one unit.

Still the key is to remember these guys are prospects timing is critical in their development that will play a large factor in when they are called up.  For the first time in a while, there is real hope for the Detroit Tigers future. A future that is looking better and brighter that is a reason for Tigers fans to cautiously celebrate.

The Detroit Tigers have signed all of the newest draft picks

Embed from Getty Images The Detroit Tigers added to the organizations prospect pool by signing all 2020 draftees. It is nice to get the players signed and begin workouts for the 2020, 60 game season.

The Detroit Tigers won the 2020 draft by a landslide a couple weeks ago. The Tigers got the draft going by selecting Arizona State 1B Spencer Torkelson. Torkelson was widely viewed as the best player in the draft.

The Detroit Tigers announced the Torkelson signing late Tuesday afternoon.  Torkelson’s signing bonus was $8,416,300, according to MLB.com’s Jim Callis, which counts as the largest signing bonus under the current draft format. The slot value for the No. 1 overall pick is $8,415,300 — Torkelson signed for $1,000 more.

Torkelson took to social media to confirm the deal. A picture of Spencer Torkelson in a Tigers uniform holding a bat was captioned with “It’s official… Go Tigers.”

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It’s official… Go @tigers

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The Detroit Tigers are set to open training camp 2.0 in Toledo at the home of the organizations Triple A affiliate Toledo Mud Hens. Unless something unforetold happens Torkelson will not be in the mix for a roster spot in Detroit this summer.

Instead, having Torkelson in the player pool will allow him to spend the season working out with other inactive players at the Tigers at Fifth Third Field in Toledo.

On the evening of the 2020 MLB draft he Detroit Tigers announced Torkelson as a third baseman. Getting the future Tiger signed on time was wise as Detroit works on getting Torkelson acclimated to third base following three seasons as Arizona State’s first baseman.

Scouts have praised Spencer Torkelson as being one of the most polished hitters they have  seen in the draft for quite some time, showing plus-plus power and excellent plate discipline.

The future looks a bit brighter these days in Detroit.

The Detroit Tigers must resist temptation

Embed from Getty Images Casey Mize, Matt Manning, Tarik Skubal, Isaac Paredes and other Detroit Tigers top prospects have had the luxury of having time in the minor leagues in order to be fully developed before making their way to Detroit. With the nationally praised 2020 MLB draft class the Tigers just brought in, the new prospects must be afforded the same developmental time.

The Detroit Tigers drafted five big bats a week ago. Bats that will pay off in a big way, down the line. That is the key. No matter the players ranking and playing grades, there must be a developmental time frame.

Many baseball experts are saying first overall draft pick Spencer Torkelson could very well make his way to Comerica Park as early as next summer. While that could certainly happen, Torkelson needs time in pro ball first. All the good ones do, or at least the bulk of them do.

The still rebuilding Detroit Tigers must resist the temptation to bring players up until they are fully ready. Some will excel and be called up sooner than others. While others may falter and need more seasoning before getting their shot in the show.

While there is currently turmoil in MLB between owners and players that leaves the already shortened season in jeopardy, that should not impact the Tigers. Whenever baseball starts back up, new prospects will need to be assigned to minor league teams and levels.

That said I feel it is pretty realistic that none of the Tigers prized prospects will see MLB action until 2022. The reason I feel good about that as a sort of timeline is two factors.

  1. The aforementioned strife between owners and players. Meaning either a players strike or lockout until a deal can be reached.
  2. COVID-19, by 2022 there should be a vaccine allowing players and fans to play and enjoy the national past time  again.                                                                                                                                                              There is now a light at the end of the rebuild tunnel in Detroit. Just a short time more and the Tigers will contend for postseason play once again. Until then development must take center stage.

The Detroit Tigers farm system climbs in the latest rankings

Embed from Getty Images As the 2020 MLB draft came and went, baseball experts are weighing in and have proclaimed the Detroit Tigers won this years draft. What does it mean for the Tigers farm system? It means it is on the rise. MLB Pipeline, has the Tigers prospect pool rated #5. While Bleacher Report has Detroit #6. That is where the others have the Tigers #5 or #6.

The Detroit Tigers have had a leg up on pitching. Casey Mize, Matt Manning and Tarik Skubal are the biggest reason for optimism in Detroit. Once that group of pitchers arrives at the major league level, alongside Matthew Boyd and high floor prospect Alex Faedo in the starting rotation, the Tigers could quickly climb back toward relevance.

(P) Casey Mize, (3B) Spencer Torkelson (2020 draft pick),  (P)Matt Manning,  (OF) Riley Greene and (P) Tarik Skubal are tier 1 rated prospects. These are the players Detroit general manager Al Avila will build around.

Tire 2 prospects include, (3B/SS)  Isaac Paredes, (P) Alex Faedo, (SS) Willi Castro, (OF) Daz Cameron and pitcher Franklin Perez. With the Detroit Tigers being the winner of this years draft, there will be new names to add to the tier’s.

Detroit took all hitters in this years draft. They really had no other choice. The Tigers farm system is overloaded with top pitching prospects. There were plenty of arms in this years draft. What was a pleasant surprise was the fact big time hitters continued to fall into Detroit’s lap during the draft.

Detroit Tigers GM Avila said “we wanted to add a pitcher, but we simply could not turn away the premium hitters that kept coming our way.” (C) Dillon Dingler ,(OF)  Danny Cabrera, (SS) Trei Cruz, (3B) Gage Workman and (3B) Colt Keith provide a class of draftees many (4) of which have a high hit ceiling.

The Tigers do not only appear to be pitching heavy (which has evened out a bit because of this draft.) But the organization appears crowded at third base. That does not concern me as some of the players can play other positions like outfield.

The Detroit Tigers took a big step forward and a nice climb up the prospect rankings. Giving Detroit a brighter future.