Detroit Tigers manager AJ Hinch’s coaching staff is curious

One manager, one first base coach, one third base coach, one hitting coach, one pitching coach and one bench coach, this how a “normal” baseball coaching staff is supposed to look like. For the Detroit Tigers, manager AJ Hinch he has thrown “normal” aside and put together a coaching staff built to help with the Tigers new organizational direction.

DETROIT, MI – MAY 28: Manager A.J. Hinch #14 of the Detroit Tigers during a game against the Cleveland Guardians at Comerica Park on May 28, 2022, in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

Keith Beauregard; Hitting Coach, Michael Brdar; Hitting Coach, James Rowson; assistant hitting coach. Three hitting coaches! New Tigers president Scott Harris’s vision for the Detroit hitters and pitches is the same, own the strike zone one that AJ Hinch subscribes to as well. Too often in the past the Tigers were a bunch of free swinging few walk taking group of hitters. That is going to come to a halt. Now the focus is owning the strike zone and being more selective at the plate.

While it is currently unknown where two hitting coaches will be during games, due to limited dugout space, one can assume two will be watching from a box or luxury suite. One coach in the thick of things and two coaches watching from above. This can only help Tiger hitters improve at the plate.

BALTIMORE, MD – SEPTEMBER 20: Chris Fetter #52 of the Detroit Tigers walks to the dug out before a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 20, 2022 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Hitting is not the only position AJ Hinch wanted multiple coaches. Pitching now has, Chriss Fetter, Juan Nieves and Robin Lund instructing young pitchers. Again, one can assume Fetter will be in the dugout and both Nieves and Lund will be looking down from above. Once more this can only help as more coaches can spot things one coach may miss.

The organizational switch to owning the strike zone is the right move to make. Scott Harris’s offseason moves, while not spectacular were effective as he got rid of players with a high strikeout rate and few walks and brought in players with good eyes at the plates and who are more selective in what they swing at.

While the Detroit Tigers are retooling once again, this seems to be a very good move for the organization. Scott Harris was instrumental in putting World Series winner’s together for the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers.

A new writing venture

It is happening once again. I have been tasked with covering the Detroit Tigers minor leagues. In being blessed to cover a sport I really enjoy not too mention covering a farm system I know really well, means new challenges. I intend to meet those challenges head on in an attempt to bring you, the fan and the reader closer to the Detroit Tigers organization.

The Lakeland Flying Tigers, Lakeland Fl., known as “Low A,” or sometimes “Single A.” This is close to a developmental league for players drafted who may need to fine tune their game. It is generally a pitching friendly league, as hitters tend to struggle.

The West Michigan WhitecapsGrand Rapids Michigan, known as ‘High A,” this is where more in-depth development takes place. Pitchers no longer have the advantage, hitters have equal billing. Depending on the organization a player can spend two-full seasons at the “High A” level. Simply because players, all players are trying to be more consistent which occurs differently player to player.


Minor League Baseball: Erie SeaWolves Casey Mize (32) in action, pitching vs Bowie Baysox at UPMC Park.
Erie, PA 5/4/2019
CREDIT: Fred Vuich (Photo by Fred Vuich /Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)
(Set Number: X162637 TK1 )

Erie SeawolvesErie PA, Known as “Double A,” this league is starting a player towards the final stages of development. This is advanced baseball at it’s core “Double A’ is designed to end the developmental phase of players. Pitching is really good, hitting is really good.


TOLEDO, OH – JULY 28: Toledo Mud Hens first baseman Spencer Torkelson (20) waits for the play during the second inning of a Triple-A Minor League Baseball regular season game between the Indianapolis Indians and the Toledo Mud Hens on July 28, 2022 at Fifth Third Field in Toledo, Ohio. (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Toledo Mud Hens, Toledo Oh, “Triple A,” Development has for the most part stopped, sure players fine tune things as adjustments are needed. At the “Triple A” level it becomes all about being consistent. No player gets called up unless they show consistency in their game. At times a player does get called up, struggles and is sent back down to “Triple A” to refine and find the consistency they lost. It happened last season to Spencer Torkelson.

So there you have it. As spring training is underway and the Detroit Tigers are looking at all the organizations players, minor league rosters are unknown, that will become more clear as spring training goes on.

For all content on the Detroit Tigers prospects please head to Inside the Diamonds as I bring you the latest on Tiger prospects. I will continue to bring Detroit Tigers content right here.

The Detroit Tigers and Philadelphia Phillies make a 5 player swap

New Detroit Tigers president, Scott Harris promised to take calculated risks in rebuilding the Tigers roster. Saturday afternoon, Harris made good on his promise as the Detroit Tigers sent two-time All Star relief pitcher Gregory Soto and utility player Cody Clemens to the Philadelphia Phillies for Nick Maton, Donny Sands and Matt Vierling.

This is a trade that helps both Philadelphia and Detroit. The Phillies looking to improve their bullpen did so by trading for closer and All Star pitcher Gregory Soto, giving up utility players in the trade the Phillies also received Cody Clemens to aid the loss of a role player.

HOUSTON, TEXAS – OCTOBER 05: Nick Maton #29 of the Philadelphia Phillies singles in the eighth inning against Phil Maton #88 of the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on October 05, 2022 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

So what did the Detroit Tigers get in this trade that can help them in 2023? The answer is a lot. Nick Maton, brings  infield and outfield versatility appearing in 86 games for the Phillies it was clear that he had become one of the team utility players. Again, Maton’s versatility is a big asset as the Tigers can insert him in just about anywhere on the field.

C- Donny Sands, seems to be more of a throw in and will not be counted on very much if at all at the MLB level. That is okay as it strengthens the Tigers overall minor league system.

OF- Matt Vierling is the real get in the trade for Detroit. Vierling is a player who has breakout potential which is why he was Detroit’s prime target in the deal. With a Phillies team that was stacked with outfielders, Vierling has been waiting for a legitimate opportunity to play everyday. Scouts believe Vierling has the potential to develop into a solid hitter not too mention he can play all three OF positions.

BALTIMORE, MD – SEPTEMBER 20: Gregory Soto #65 of the Detroit Tigers pitches during a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 20, 2022 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

The loss of Soto was big for a Tigers team looking to improve their bullpen. However, there is a bigger picture. This is another rebuild for the Tigers and they needed and need to cash in players for prospects and players who are on the verge of breakout seasons.

The Detroit Tigers rebuild has failed, where does the team go now

Averaging 66.4 wins per year since he took over as general manger, has Al Avila on the hot seat. Detroit Tigers fans have taken their social media #FireAvila posts and turned it into an actual event. The fans held a fire Avila night at Comerica Park. So what has happened? Why has the Tigers rebuild failed? That is a lot to unpack. Let’s get started.

DETROIT, MI – AUGUST 4: Al Avila makes a point during a news conference at Comerica Park after he was promoted to executive vice president of baseball operations and general manager on August 4, 2015 in Detroit, Michigan. Avila replaces Dave Dombrowski who was the Tigers’ general manager since 2002. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

To say that Al Avila has made some questionable trades is being kind. Remember when former pitching ace Justin Verlander was traded to the Huston Astros? The return for the future Hall of Fame pitcher was Franklin Perez, Daz Cameron and Jake Rogers. None of those players are regulars on the Tigers roster. Former Tigers slugger J. D. Martinez was shipped to the Arizona Dimandbacks for  Dawel Lugo, Jose King and Sergio Alcantara none of whom area still in the Tigers system.

Do not get me wrong, Avila has made other trades just as lackluster as those. It gets worse. The Tigers have really faired no better drafting players, at least impactful players. Avila’s first round draft picks have been a mixed bag and not in a good way.

The Detroit Tigers rebuild was said to be over and it was time to add players and climb the standings. The Tigers have the second worst record in MLB and sit dead last in the AL Central. The team has been a disaster, the errors and players underperforming  nightly has lead to a near empty ballpark.

DETROIT, MI – APRIL 19: Detroit Red Wings Governor, President, and CEO Christopher Illitch addresses members of the media during a press conference to introduce Steve Yzerman as the new Executive Vice President and General Manager responsible for all hockey operations and to announce the promotion of Ken Holland to Senior Vice President on April 19, 2019, at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

So where does the team go? First and foremost the ball is in Detroit Tigers owner Christopher Illitch’s corner. He holds Al Avila’s fate. Should he choose to go in a different direction, then perhaps he should allow manager AJ Hinch to help with any GM search.

Hinch is very bright baseball man and would be helpful bringing in a GM who could right the ship. Illitch needs to take a good long look and see that it simply is not working. The Illitch owned Detroit Red Wings are trending up in their rebuild, as are the Lions and Pistons while the Tigers have never really gotten off the ground.

I suspect no move will be made until the season concludes. Tiger fans let me hear your thoughts on this. Leave a comment and let it all out.


So who is leading the Detroit sports team rebuilds

It is still on going. The Detroit Pistons, still rebuilding. The Detroit Tigers, still rebuilding. The Detroit Lions, still rebuilding. The Detroit Red Wings, still rebuilding. It seems like forever all four major sports team in the city of Detroit, Michigan have been rebuilding. While it is a process and rebuilds do take a while it looks like one of the teams is very close to being competitive again. So which team is it? Let’s dive in.

ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 19: A general detail view of a Detroit Tigers hat and glove during a game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Detroit Tigers in the first inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 19, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

The Detroit Tigers have had a disastrous season thus far. The Tigers were said to have been ready to end the long rebuild and start taking steps to being a playoff team once again. It looks like the team is still a ways away.

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – OCTOBER 30: The Detroit Pistons logo is pictured on the court before the game against the Orlando Magic at Little Caesars Arena on October 30, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

The Detroit Pistons have begun to put a nice core of players in place. For the Pistons there is still work to be done. I suspect the Pistons will start to take steps towards the playoffs in another season.

LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 08: Detail view of the Detroit Lions logo seen at the Super Bowl Experience on February 08, 2022, at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Detroit Lions have done a solid job of bringing in solid young players and the team should improve. Not playoff improve mind you, but in terms of taking another step forward and developing the young player.

PHILADELPHIA, PA – FEBRUARY 16: A view of the logo of the Detroit Red Wings on a player’s jersey during an NHL game against the Philadelphia Flyers on February 16, 2019 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

That brings us to the team that I feel is just about done with the long rebuild they have been in. The Detroit Red Wings, with no #1 overall draft picks in the three soon to be four years Steve Yzerman has been GM he has done a masterful job at finding outstanding young talent and developing it.

What Yzerman has done has almost flown under the radar. He has steadily improved the Red Wings pipeline and given some real hope. The Red Wings team he has been working on is going to be a nasty team. The defense is going to be one if not the best in the NHL. Forwards have improved and Yzerman has all sorts of salary cap space to work with this summer.

In about four years the Detroit Red Wings will be serious Stanley Cup Champion contenders. In about three years the Red Wings will be a playoff team that makes some noise.

So there you have it. Drop a comment and let me know your thoughts.

2022 Detroit Tigers season preview

The Detroit Tigers have emerged from a long, painful at times rebuild. The team looks like it will be a contending group soon. Not this season. Do not let that dampen your view of the 2022 Detroit Tigers. They are close to being a very good team one more step needs to be taken, the development of top prospects at the major league level. This is why this season will both be fun and interesting to watch.

LAKELAND, FL – MARCH 16: Tucker Barnhart #15 of the Detroit Tigers poses for a photo during the Detroit Tigers Photo Day at Joker Marchant Stadium on Wednesday, March 16, 2022 in Lakeland, Florida. (Photo by Preston Mack/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Detroit Tigers owner, Christopher Illitch said when the time was right he would spend money again on the Tigers. This offseason Illitch put his money where his mouth is and spent. Pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez, all-star catcher Tucker Barnhart, closer Andrew Chafin and all-star short stop Javier Baez were all signed as free agents. A nice group!

As spring training was in it’s final hours Tigers GM, Al Avila made a surprising trade. A big trade at that. Sending a prospect and the organizations competitive balance draft pick to the Tampa Bay Rays for all-star outfielder Austin Meadows. Avila really needs to get and take all the credit for robbing the Rays of Meadows.

So what development needs to take place. #3 ranked MLB prospect Spencer Torkelson made the final roster. #5 ranked MLB prospect Riley Greene would be on the roster but suffered a fractured foot in spring training. Greene will be up when he has healed. Both prospects are going to need to adjust to the big leagues. They will look good at times and will struggle at times. Both are two important bats and gloves in the lineup. Until they have seen every pitcher and situation development must take place. They do not belong in the minor leagues, that would do no one any good.

CLEARWATER, FLORIDA – MARCH 30: Tarik Skubal #29 of the Detroit Tigers delivers a pitch to the Philadelphia Phillies in the first inning during a Grapefruit League spring training game at BayCare Ballpark on March 30, 2022 in Clearwater, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Next pitchers Matt Manning, Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal must take the next step in their development and begin to win more often which is expected, still until the do they are a work in progress.

I am on the side that the Detroit Tigers will have a winning record for the first time since 2016, I’ll even take it a step further and say they will be in the mix for an American League wild card spot much of the season.

These are the final steps! Once young players have figured it out the Tigers will be a force in MLB.

The Detroit Tigers announce top prospect Spencer Torkelson has made the opening day roster

Openings day in Detroit is coming this Friday against the Chicago White Sox. Fans of the Detroit Tigers are use to seeing Miguel Cabrera’s name in the opening day lineup, and for good reason he is a future Hall of Famer. This season will be different, while Cabrera will be in the lineup it will be at DH, first base has been handed over to MLB Pipeline’s #4 ranked prospect Spencer Torkelson.

LAKELAND, FL – MARCH 16: Spencer Torkelson #20 of the Detroit Tigers poses for a photo during the Detroit Tigers Photo Day at Joker Marchant Stadium on Wednesday, March 16, 2022 in Lakeland, Florida. (Photo by Preston Mack/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

In what is being described as a passing of the torch moment, Tigers general manager Al Avila said the organization informed Torkelson at lunch. He was called into manager H.J. Hinch’s office where Avila, Hinch and Cabrera were waiting for him. That is when it happened.

In a clear passing of the torch the longtime Detroit first basemen Cabrera handed Torkelson his first basemen’s glove. Avila said Torkelson became very emotional.

This is a clear signal to fans, media and the rest of the team the long rebuild is coming to and end. So was it a good idea to promote the 2020 MLB’s first overall draft pick?

Spencer Torkelson is hitting .280 *7-for-25* with four doubles, three RBIs, two walks and four strikeouts in 12 games this spring. Last season Tork (as he is known) at three levels of minor league play hit 30 home runs with 91 RBI’s that was after a brutal spring training.

As with any rookie and or top prospects there will be bumps in the road. The Tigers brass understand this. Still it was clear when they drafted him that Torkelson would not need much minor league time.

The only sort of rain on the otherwise bright news that Spencer Torkelson made the opening day roster is that fellow top prospect (#5 in MLB Pipeline’s ranking) Riley Greene fractured his foot and will be sidelined a while.

SCOTTSDALE, AZ – OCTOBER 20: Spencer Torkelson #8 of the Salt River Rafters bats during the game between the Surprise Saguaros and the Salt River Rafters at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Jill Weisleder/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Up until the moment he was injured it to was widely speculated Greene would be joining Torkelson in Detroit opening day. He most certainly will be on the team this season, it is just going to be delayed.

So as the future of the Detroit Tigers begin to filter into Comerica Park, How do you feel about Spencer Torkelson making the opening day lineup? Drop a comment and let us know.

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.