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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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.

In the aftermath of the 2020 MLB Draft, the Detroit Tigers put a charge into the rebuild

Embed from Getty Images Al Avila did it! The Detroit Tigers general manager nailed the 2020 MLB Draft. For the first time in years the Tigers did not draft pitching. Pitching is not a organization problem. No the Tigers drafted bats. Hitters, thumpers were the order. In do so Avila has sped the Tigers rebuild up and the future now looks much clearer.

If there is one word to describe the Detroit Tigers 2020 draft class it is “impact.” Sometimes in sports you have to be lucky. Luck was on the Tigers side from the first pick to the last. Talent after talent fell into Detroit’s lap.

The Tigers started the draft as many thought they would by taking the player head and shoulders above every other player in the draft. Spencer Torkelson who should arrive in Motown as early as next season. It gets better.

The Tigers who have struggled to find a catcher then turned their focus to Ohio State product Dillon Dingler. Dingler was  first round talent on many boards (the Tigers got him in round 2), rare athleticism behind the plate with a 70 arm,  his catch and throw is excellent, Dingler has projectile power and he has been constantly coming on with the bat.

The Tigers then nabbed LSU OF Daniel Cabrera.  One talent evaluator felt Cabrera was the best college bat available at that spot, and by a clear margin. While not blessed with super high-end upside, Cabrera is widely viewed as an everyday player and will hit a lot. Not bad value for being a competitive balance round B draft pick.

In the third round Detroit took Trei Cruz. Who plays short stop and can also handle 2B and 3B as well. Cruz can hit and has some pop in his bat. Cruz is a very solid player who has a good feel for hitting, adding more offensive firepower to the Tigers system.

The Tigers got an absolute steal in the fourth round when Arizona State’s (and teammate of Spence Torkelson) Gage Workman fell into Detroit’s lap. Workman plays 3B and was viewed by nearly every scout as first round talent. Workman is a player with both a high offensive and defensive ceiling.

After the four college players Detroit went for a high school player. Colt Keith 3B, Keith can also pitch.

The talk around baseball is the Detroit Tigers won the draft. The team was wise to not draft pitching and there was temping pitching talent in this draft class. But the team went for bats.

While prospects are a gamble. Detroit made smart choices and luck was on their side. Detroit’s rebuild just sped up.

 

 

Day 2 of the 2020 MLB draft provides solid talent for the Detroit Tigers

Embed from Getty Images The Detroit Tigers filled a huge organizational need when they took Arizona State 1B Spencer Torkelson with the first pick in the 2020 MLB draft. Tigers general manager Al Avila can now focus on day two with needs still to fill.

The Detroit Tigers drafted pitchers in the first round throughout four consecutive drafts from 2015 to 2018. The organization has stockpiled some big arms. That may not stop them from adding another with the teams second round draft pick.

If the Tigers do invest in another arm, Mississippi State right handed pitcher JT Ginn could be a name to watch. During his freshman year in 2019, JT made 17 starts and had a strong year, posting a 3.13 ERA while throwing 86.1 innings with 19 walks, just one home run allowed, and he struck out 105 batters. His 1.05 WHIP really stands out.

While COVID-19 shut many things down, it was an injury Ginn sustained that shutdown his 2020 season. The talented pitcher had Tommy John surgery in early March and will  miss any baseball that takes place this year as he rehabs. Ginn still has very good upside.

The Tigers could choose to add another position and play of need in catcher. Ohio State product, Dillon Dingler is a player to watch. Dingler is a big, solid defensive catcher who gets good marks for his arm and athleticism. Dillion’s bat is the question.

The question Detroit would have is hitting .244/.332/.369 as a freshman, to an  improved to .291/.392/.424 as a sophomore, and was off to a .340/.404/.760 start in 13 games this year before things were called enough to take him high in round two? There are scouts who believe Dingler is a late bloomer and can hit at the MLB level.

One more player who could interest the rebuilding Tigers is LSU-OF Daniel Cabrera. During Cabrera’s sophomore season in 2019, the outfielder had a slash line of .284/.359/.516 with 12 home runs and 50 RBIs. He was tied for the team lead in home runs and third in RBIs. However he will need to clean up the 54 strikeouts.

Many believe he will cut down on the strikeouts and scouts agree, Cabrera is equipped to hit for average and power. He has a smooth left handed swing and does not try to do too much at the plate, letting his bat speed and the loft in his stroke create natural pop.

There could be other names the Tigers are looking at. For a team looking to speed the rebuild up. The Detroit Tigers could do worse than one of the three names mentioned.

With the first pick in the MLB draft the Detroit Tigers have one option

Embed from Getty Images As players and owners try to hammer out a new collective bargin agreement and we wait for the delayed 2020 MLB season to start whatever it looks like, the 2020 MLB draft takes center stage tonight with the first round. The Detroit Tigers still bound by a rebuild have the first pick. There is one clear-cut player Tigers general manager Al Avila needs to add to the organization.

Arizona State 1B- Spencer Torkelson who is on a tier by himself. The Detroit  Tigers are said to have been zeroed in on Torkelson since the the start of this year’s draft process, it is no wonder after Spencer launched 48 home runs and showed an extremely advanced approach during his first two years at Arizona State.

By adding Torkelson’s power bat to a pitching rich farm system would go a long way for the Detroit Tigers the ongoing rebuild. The Tigers taking Torkelson is close to a slam dunk at this point.

Spencer Torkelson’s scouting numbers are impressive. With 60-HIT, 65-POWER, 50- ARM, 50- FIELD with a 40- RUN for an overall grade of 60.  Torkelson draws fair comparisons to Andrew Vaughn, the University Cal standout 1B who was the No. 3 pick in the 2019 Draft.

Torkelson has scouts drooling with the way he is able to drive the ball from foul pole to foul pole and Tork (a nickname his teammates gave him) uses the middle of the field when he is at his best. Spencer is able to hit the ball out to all fields, with tremendous  power to his pull side.

With a a 16.6% strikeout rate, on the surface does not seem bad. It actually is pretty high. And while because of COVID-19 Tork only had 82 plate appearances in the 2020 season, Spencer Torkelson struck out in 18.3% of his trips to the plate.

For all his power and ability to hit to all fields, the swing-and-miss is a bit of a concern, something the Detroit Tigers will need to help him clean up. That said Spencer Torkelson has to much upside to overlook. The fact he is above average in the field makes this an easy pick for the rebuilding Tigers.

Torkelson should not take much prep work in the minor leagues, that will help speed things up in Motown.