Why I believe Detroit Tigers draft pick Ty Madden may have been the steal of the 2021 MLB Draft

At the University of Texas, Ty Madden was the best pitcher on the Longhorns staff. During his college playing days Madden would take a fastball that sat between 90-92 MPH which was a bit underwhelming and transform it into a pitch that now touches 99 MPH routinely. Widely considers one of the top 5 pitching prospects and MLBPipelines #9 ranked overall prospect, Madden fell into the Detroit Tigers lap at pick #32.

DETROIT – JULY 11: A Tiger statue is seen outside of the Comerica Park entrance before the start of the 2005 Major League Baseball Home Run Derby at Comerica Park on July 11, 2005 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images)

Last year Ohio State catcher Dillion Dingler who was thought to be first round talent fell to the Detroit Tigers in the second round. This year, was even better. Ty Madden who is nearly MLB ready was an absolute gift to the Tigers.

Ty Madden is a four pitch pitcher. Fastball, Slider, Curve and Changeup. His fastball and slider both grade out at 60. While his curveball  grades a 55 with his changeup coming in at 45. Madden uses his fastball to set up what has become a wicked slider to get outs.

The slider is a Detroit Tigers specialty. It is no exaggeration when I say that every pitcher on the Tigers pitching staff and organization wide throws a slider. Which is good when it is thrown correctly it can be a nasty pitch.

Ty Madden could have easily been the Tigers pick at #3, the team opted for high school pitcher Jackson Jobe. It is not often that a pitcher with the talent and stuff of Madden falls so far. But the Detroit Tigers got a steal.

The Detroit Tigers were the only team to walk away from the first round of the 2021 MLB Draft with two prospects ranked in the top 10. This will do nothing but speed up an already lengthy rebuild. The two draft picks look to set the Tigers future starting rotation.

BALTIMORE, MD – MAY 11: A detailed view of a Big League Chew bubble gum bucket in the dugout prior to the game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Los Angeles Angels at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 11, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)

The Detroit Tigers had the second best draft this year as ranked by MLBPipeline. It is not well wishing to think that Ty Madden will be in Detroit perhaps as early as 2023 and cemented in the Tigers starting rotation.

Armed with elite pitching the Detroit Tigers add 6 pitchers to the organization

Scott Pleis, who oversees amateur scouting for the Detroit Tigers does not think so. Al Avila, who is the Tigers General Manager does not think so. A.J. Hinch, who is the Tigers manager does not think so. What is it the three men do not think so? It is that you can ever have too much pitching. The Tigers organization has the top ranked pitching in all of the minor leagues. That did not stop them from adding to the position during the 2021 MLB Draft.

Jackson Jobe, right handed pitcher (RHP), Heritage Hall High School in Oklahoma, Ty Madden, RHP, University of Texas, Dylan Smith, RHP, University of Alabama, Tyler Mattison, RHP, Bryant University, Tanner Kholhepp, RHP, University of Notre Dame, Brant Hurter, left handed pitcher (LHP), University of Notre Dame, Jordan Marks, RHP,  USC Upstate and Garrett Burnhenn, RHP, Ohio State have all been selected by the Detroit Tigers.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – APRIL 29: Casey Mize #12 of the Detroit Tigers pitches in the first inning against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on April 29, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

In last years MLB Draft the Detroit Tigers selected all position players and no pitching. That kind of draft is daring as team generally select a few pitchers for organizational depth as well as in case of injury.

This years however the Tigers got back to drafting pitching. The team added some elite arms to add to an already elite crop of pitching prospects. Some will pan out, some will flame out. That is how it goes when drafting prospects.

With the organizations top two picks (Jackson Jobe and Tyler Madden) it is fair to presume those two will at some point soon join the Tigers starting rotation. Giving the Detroit Tigers what looks to be a very nasty group of starting pitching.

Casey Mize- Front line pitcher projection

Tarik Skubal- Front line pitcher projection

Matt Manning- Front line pitcher projection

Jackson Jobe- Has the makeup to be a Front line pitcher projection

Ty Madden- Front line pitcher projection

DETROIT, MI – AUGUST 13: A detailed view of the baseball glove and hat used by Mikie Mahtook #15 of the Detroit Tigers sitting in the dugout during the game against the Minnesota Twins at Comerica Park on August 13, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. The Twins defeated the Tigers 6-4. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

If it is an arms race the Detroit Tigers organization is in the lead by a long shot. Very soon this team is going to be very fun to watch as the teams future starting rotation is starting is beginning to remind some of the 1990’s Atlanta Braves starting rotation.

It will be fun watching this group grow together and win together.

Day one of the 2021 MLB Draft the Detroit Tigers select two pitchers

Relax Detroit Tigers fans the sky is not falling, Al Avila is not that bad at his job. Detroit Tigers fans and media all shocked that the organization did not select a short stop (SS) in the first round of the MLB Draft can all exhale now. The Detroit Tigers were among the day 1 winners. The two pitchers selected will bolster an already good crop of pitching prospects for the Tigers.

LAKELAND, FL – FEBRUARY 17: A detailed view of baseballs and equipment bag sitting on the field during the Detroit Tigers spring training workout day at the TigerTown complex on February 17, 2014 in Lakeland, Florida. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

With the first of the team two first round draft pick the team selected pitcher, Jackson Jobe. Jobe is a rare high school (prep) pitcher selected in the top 10 of the annual draft. The reason is clear, Jobe has a wipeout slider and grades at or near the top of pitching arms in this years draft class. Blessed with a quick arm and solid improvement in his secondary pitches the 18 year old was simply too good for the Tigers to pass up.

Is there risk with drafting Jobe? Sure, but isn’t any draft pick a risk? The upside is as I said far too good to pass up. Jobe’s  athletic delivery that translates into strikes justifies the risk.

Next because the Detroit Tigers are in rebuild mode and did not make the playoffs last season they were awarded a second first round draft pick (competitive balance pick) at #32 where the organization dipped once again into the pitching prospect ranks.

This time it was pitcher Ty Madden who heard his name called. Where to start with Madden? Much like last years draft when the team had catcher Dillion Dingler fall into their lap, Madden who was widely considered at top 10 draft pick and is ranked #9. MLBPipeline had Madden ranked as the third best college pitcher. Madden fell into the Tigers lap at #32.

Ty Madden, bring a lot to the future of the Detroit Tigers pitching with a 99 MPH fastball, a sinker that sits at 90 MPH and a biting 80 MPH slider. Madden could work his way into the Tigers starting rotation in time.

BALTIMORE, MD – AUGUST 02: A bucket with baseballs on the field before a baseball game between Baltimore Orioles and the Tampa Bay Rays on August 2, 2020 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Short stop or not the Detroit Tigers were a better organization after the first round of the draft. With big name short stops set to hit the free agent market after the conclusion of the season the Tigers could bring one of those in to fill a need.

Detroit Tigers prospect Dillon Dingler is off to a solid start

When it comes to Detroit Tigers prospect watching all eyes are on the top dog, Spencer Torkelson. But, at the start of the 2021 minor league season it is 2020’s second round draft pick and #5 ranked prospect Dillon Dingler who has put on a show. Giving the Tigers a promising prospect at the catcher position. In my opinion Dingler is a player who could shoot through the Tigers minor league system.

Scoring the first run of the season for the West Michigan Whitecaps stemming from his first professional home run while picking a runner off at second base, Detroit Tigers catching prospect Dillion Dingler made a rather big first impression.

DETROIT, MI – JULY 04: Dillon Dingler #79 of the Detroit Tigers looks on while waiting to bat during the Detroit Tigers Summer Workouts at Comerica Park on July 4, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Dingler was drafted out of Ohio State and now plays in Michigan, teammates and fans let him know. In a fun loving way. Playing both centerfield and catcher for the Buckeyes showcased Dingler’s  athleticism. Now he is catching full-time.

Dillion Dingler would go onto hit another home run and collect a total of 5 hits. Widely viewed as a first round draft pick, Dingler fell to the first pick in the second round where the Detroit Tigers selected him. Catching and catching prospects has been a thorn in the side of the Tigers organization for a while.

With no minor league season last season Dingler was placed at the Tigers Summer Camp with big league players. The Tigers next moved the young catcher to the alternate training site in Toledo, and allowed him to start catching advanced pitchers all summer.

DETROIT, MI – JULY 18: Dillon Dingler #79 of the Detroit Tigers looks on during the Detroit Tigers Summer Workouts at Comerica Park on July 18, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

While it is only a small sample size, it appears the Detroit Tigers may finally have their catcher of the future. In fact MLB scouts were drooling over Dingler’s potential pre-draft.

With plus defense and plus bat, along with plus power, Dillon Dingler  should not have made it out of the first round. The Detroit Tigers are both happy and fortunate he did. Soon Tiger fans will also be happy he did.

Rule 5 draft pick Akil Baddoo is turning heads for the Detroit Tigers

He was left unprotected by the Minnesota Twins. As a Rule 5 draft pick the Detroit Tigers claimed Akil Baddoo. The 22 year old outfielder has started the 2021 MLB season with a bang. He is already quickly becoming a fan favorite at Comerica Park and to Tigers fans everywhere. In three games played Baddoo has energized the Tigers.

Akil Baddoo has done something in the modern age of baseball that has never been done. He hit a home run in his first at-bat, the next game he hit a grand slam, then a walk-off single. This is not supposed to happen to a player who was given up on.

BRADENTON, FLORIDA – MARCH 02: Akil Baddoo #60 of the Detroit Tigers rounds the bases on a two run rbi double from teammate Willi Castro #9 (not pictured) during the third inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates during a spring training game at LECOM Park on March 02, 2021 in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

Baddoo is a fast outfielder who also possesses quick hands which helps him to generate bat speed with power. However, the Twins organization was waiting for Baddoo to put it all together.

As stated the Twins left him unprotected and the Detroit Tigers scouting department  quickly did their homework and decided to take a shot. So far it is a shot that has hit the mark.

While Baddoo does struggle against left-handed pitching, two seasons ago (no minor league season last year due to COVID-19) Baddo had a strikeout rate of 24 percent, which is on the high end. So far both in spring training and now during the early stages of the season Baddoo has been more aggressive early in the count, which has lead to better success.

Akil Baddoo was the Minnesota Twins #10 ranked prospect. It is not often a team gives up on a top 10 prospect but that is what the Twins did. While time will tell if Baddoo can continue the pace he has started off on and live up to his scouting report, the Tigers and Baddoo are enjoying his early success.

DETROIT, MI – APRIL 4: Akil Baddoo #60 of the Detroit Tigers rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run against the Cleveland Indians during the third inning at Comerica Park on April 4, 2021, in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

For a rebuilding team, Akil Baddoo has made the Tigers fun to watch through five games played.

After three games it is clear, the Detroit Tigers starting pitching looks like the strength of the team

The Detroit Tigers won two of three games from the Cleveland Indians. Sure it was only three games, but there is reason for optimism. The Tigers got 16 innings from their starting pitching. In those 16 innings the Tigers starters gave up just three earned runs. At that clip, the Tigers will win a lot of series.

Three games does not make or break a season. It is however, a look at the trajectory the Detroit Tigers are on. Facing a talented Cleveland Indians lineup, Tiger pitchers got to work.

LAKELAND, FLORIDA – MARCH 12: Julio Teheran #50 of the Detroit Tigers delivers a pitch in the first inning against the New York Yankees during a spring training game on March 12, 2021 at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Opening day Detroit pitcher Matthew Boyd got the start. Going 5.2 innings Boyd gave up 3 hits and had 2 strike outs. Boyd looked good as he threw all of his pitches and painted the corners. This is good news for Boyd who has endured two seasons of struggles.

Game 2 of the series saw the Detroit Tigers turn to Julio Teheran. Teheran went 5.0 innings giving up 4 hits, 1 run, 1 earned run with 3 strike outs. Not a bad start, again much like Matthew Boyd, Julio Teheran threw his pitches and hit the zone. He did a good job for the most part keeping Indian batters off-balance.

In Sunday’s loss, the Tigers turned to rookie left handed pitcher Tarik Skubal. Skubal is one of the Tigers organization top pitching prospects and a top 25 MLB prospect. Skubal had a strong outing. Going 5.1 innings, Skubal gave up 4 hits, 2 runs, 2 earned runs with 4 strike outs.

DETROIT, MI – AUGUST 29: Rookie pitcher Tarik Skubal #42 of the Detroit Tigers delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the third inning of game two of a doubleheader at Comerica Park on August 29, 2020, in Detroit, Michigan. Skubal recorded his first major league win in the Tigers 4-2 victory over the Twins. All players are wearing #42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day. The day honoring Jackie Robinson, traditionally held on April 15, was rescheduled for August 28 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to Friday’s postponed game, Robinson will be honored during today’s game. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

Tarik Skubal had a tough first inning and then reached back and showed how mentally tough he is. So often with young pitchers when they go through a tough inning things tend to unravel. After a tough first inning Skubal maintained his composure.

Detroit Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said he wants all pitchers to attack the strike zone. Three games played three starting pitchers followed through with what Hinch wants. This is a positive. Hinch is setting the expectations for all Detroit Tigers pitchers. No matter if the are in Detroit or the minor leagues.

This can do nothing but help the organization moving forward.

The Detroit Tigers do not have a closer, not yet anyways

Detroit Tigers manager A.J. Hinch has not named a closer to start the 2021 season. In part because that vital role is still in the process of identifying the right pitcher. What does it mean for the Tigers moving forward? That question remains to be answered. What does it mean right now? Not much.

The Detroit Tigers opened the 2021 MLB season at home vs the Cleveland Indians. The Tigers beat the Indians 3-2. As the game moved into the latter innings, hard throwing Gregory Soto (left handed pitcher) entered the game. So Soto is the closer right? Wrong.

DETROIT, MI – APRIL 01: Manager A.J. Hinch #14 of the Detroit Tigers looks on during player introductions prior to the Opening Day game against the Cleveland Indians at Comerica Park on April 1, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the Indians 3-2. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

It needs to be stated, manager A.J. Hinch who is a very analytically driven manager really does not care about saves. Hinch cares about wins. He has a very good feel for who should be in the game and when. In Thursday’s season’s opener Hinch called on Soto.

More to the point, A.J. Hinch does not believe that a closer needs to or should only face three batter. But rather whoever is called on should and better be able to get six to nine batters out. This is a new era of Detroit Tigers baseball. A much more modern game.

Although Hinch went with Gregory Soto in game one and has not named a closer, the Tigers manager does fully intend to name a closer at some point during the season. My personal takeaway is that Hinch is going to make the relief pitchers earn the position.

Because Hinch has a good feel and is analytically driven it is not outside the realm of possibility that Hinch goes with two closers. That is closer to where today’s MLB game is.

DETROIT, MI – AUGUST 27: A detailed view of the baseball hat and glove of Miguel Cabrera #24 of the Detroit Tigers sitting in the dugout prior to the game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Comerica Park on August 27, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. The Angels defeated the Tigers 3-2. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

In fact, it should not surprise anyone if Hinch uses pitchers anywhere at any time. Meaning, Soto who closed game one could come in in the sixth inning game two. It all depends on the situation and where Hinch thinks a pitcher’s strength can best be utilized.

As the Tigers now have a more modern thinking manager and excellent pitching prospects it can do nothing but help the organization.



The Detroit Tigers rebuild presses onward, but 2021 offers some telling goals

In the last four seasons the Detroit Tigers are 198-345 with a .364 winning percentage. The Tigers have finished in last place three of the four seasons. The 2021 MLB season which kicks off today, finds the Tigers in no better position to escape the bottom or near bottom again. But it is not all bad. The Tigers hired A.J. Hinch to be manager and a team does not make a move like that unless they feel they are close to being competitive.

This season for the Detroit Tigers is all about results. Not wins and losses (sorry Tiger fans.) It is about getting young players to take the next step. Getting young pitchers Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal involved from the start are signs the Tigers are ready to take the next step.

LAKELAND, FL – FEBRUARY 25: A.J. Hinch #14 of the Detroit Tigers poses during Photo Day at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium on Thursday, February 25, 2021 at in Lakeland, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

In order for the Detroit Tigers to get results as well as begin to have success the pitching must be established. The Tigers have plenty of top pitching prospects, which is good and all, but those players must begin to established themselves in order for the team to feel comfortable about adding free agents at seasons end.

Winning brings credibility, that is so true. It is getting to the winning that can be tricky. That is where World Series winning manager A.J. Hinch comes into play. Since being named manager Hinch has been consistent is saying he and his coaching staff want and need to breed a winning culture.

Hinch has set the World Series as the goal. Even though the Tigers will not compete for a championship this season. The current roster simply is not playoff worthy. That is why Hinch was brought in for the long term.

LAKELAND, FL – FEBRUARY 17: Matt Manning #83 of the Detroit Tigers pitches during Spring Training workouts at the TigerTown Facility on February 17, 2020 in Lakeland, Florida. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

But, a successful 2021 season means that players are attending to every detail. That young pitchers begin to emerge and live up to draft and scouting reports.

If that happens then the Detroit Tigers will be closer to the end of a long rebuild.

Heading to Comerica Park for a Detroit Tigers home game, here are the guidelines

553 days. To put it another way, more than 18 months have past since any fans had tickets scanned and entered Comerica Park for a Detroit Tigers home game due to COVID-19. Now to start the 2021 MLB season exactly 8,200 fans will be allowed to attend. Some things will remain while other things will not be allowed, not yet anyway. Let’s take a closer look.

Opening day in Detroit is special. As a child I would routinely come up with a mystery headache or upset stomach on opening day so that my Mom would either call me in to school or pull me out of school. After all everyone knows baseball, opening day baseball in Detroit is better medicine than anything over the counter.

DETROIT, MI – APRIL 17: A detailed view of the Comerica Park Ferris Wheel during the game between the Detroit Tigers and the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park on April 17, 2015 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the White Sox 2-1. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

As Detroit Tigers will have fans in the stands this season, the 8,200 is expected to rise as the season moves along. Some things that fans are accustom to will remain, some will not at this time.

What’s new at Comerica Park? For starters wearing masks, sitting space apart, social distancing throughout the ballpark, cashless payments and filling out gameday wellness surveys. This is where we are at this time. For good reason.

Yet, some “normalcy” is also going to be in effect. Fans can still enjoy getting a hot dog, sausage, peanuts, nachos and, Little Caesars pizza. Detroit Tigers mascot “Paws” will still be around the ball park and up to his usual antics. Word is the Easter Bunny will make an appearance this weekend as well. Oh, and Friday night fireworks after the game? They are still going to take place.

DETROIT, MI – OCTOBER 17: A merry-go-round in the stadium prior to Game Five of the American League Championship Series between the Detroit Tigers and the Boston Red Sox at Comerica Park on October 17, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Unfortunately, kid favorites the carousel, Ferris wheel and face painting will not be open. It is all to ensure families and fans are safe. As noted, MLB expects more fans will be able to attend games as the season moves along.

I plan to attend Detroit Tigers games this season to take in the final stages of the long rebuild. But, mostly because I could not last season. Even though the Tigers will not be very good this season, they will be again very soon.

Detroit Tigers pitcher Casey Mize pitched out of a funk and onto the Tigers roster

It was a rough spring training for one of the Detroit Tigers top prospects, pitcher Casey Mize. Mize was hit hard almost all spring. While Mize was the one throwing the ball he was also doing what his manager and coach’s asked him to do. Work on his release and work on throwing a rising fastball, while on-the-job. The results were not always pretty. But with one final chance to make the opening day roster Mize came through.

I am of the opinion it would have done little to no good to send pitcher Casey Mize to Triple-a Toledo. Sure Mize could have had a few starts with the Mud Hens and perhaps honed his pitches a bit more. However, Mize is better served pitching in Detroit and figuring things out at the major league level.

LAKELAND, FL – FEBRUARY 27: Casey Mize (12) of the Tigers flips the baseball to himself during the Detroit Tigers spring training workout on February 27, 2021 at Tigertown in Lakeland, Florida. (Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

I believe, Detroit Tigers manager A.J. Hinch and pitching coach Chris Fetter wanted to wait until the bitter end before deciding where to place Casey Mize. That is why he was given another opportunity to pitch Thursday night. Most young prospects would feel the pressure and perhaps Mize did, he also threw his best game of the spring.

In four innings of work Thursday night Casey Mize struck out 9 batters. All of his pitched found the strike zone including one that had eluded him well almost all spring, the rising fastball.

A.J. Hinch said in his second to last start there was little doubt Mize could get MLB batters out. But that Mize needed to be more consistent in the strike zone. Thursday night Mize did just that.

LAKELAND, FLORIDA – MARCH 19: Casey Mize #12 of the Detroit Tigers looks on prior to the game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Detroit Tigers during a spring training game at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium on March 19, 2021 in Lakeland, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

In my opinion this is not only the right move for the Tigers organization to make, but also for Mize and pitching coach Chris Fetter. By earning a roster spot A.J. Hinch is in effect saying that he trusts player and coach to make sure development is still moving forward.

Tarik Skubal, another Detroit Tigers top prospects made the starting pitching rotation earlier in the week. Now with Mize earning a spot this can do nothing but help the Tigers ongoing rebuild speed up.