Detroit Tigers General Manager Al Avila, reveals his thoughts on two top prospects

There is no two ways around it. Detroit Tigers prospects Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson are going to be imbedded in the middle of the Tigers lineup for years to come. Recently Tigers General Manager Al Avila, has spoken where he intends the two to continue developing. One is a surprise move and one is about where many figured he would play the 2021 season.

Riley Greene, he of a very sweet lefthanded swing appears to be headed to Double-A Erie to play with the Seawolves. Given the fact that the 2020 minor league season was wiped out due to COVID-19, this is an extraordinary move. Greene who was part of the Detroit Tigers taxi squad last season, had a heck of a season/extended training camp.

Greene is just 20 years old and has really climbed the minor leagues faster than anyone in the Tigers front office projected him to. He is a very good gap hitter which will lend itself well in the spacious Comerica Park outfield. Greene also has above average power and is very good defensively.

DETROIT, MI – JULY 04: Major League Baseballs number one draft pick Spencer Torkelson #73 of the Detroit Tigers looks on 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)

As for Spencer Torkelson, he will start the 2021 season in Grand Rapids with the High-A  West Michigan Whitecaps. Torkelson has not played any minor league games as of yet. But he has all the tools to have a good showing in Grand Rapids.

Torkelson is projected to move quickly through the Detroit minor league system. While Riley Greene, has surpassed him as of this moment, there is good reason to believe they both could arrive in Detroit with the Tigers at some point in 2022.

The two prospects are expected and project as middle of the lineup hitters. Both do not chase balls out of the strike zone, both players are gap hitter with power. It should be noted gap hitters who hit to all fields.

DETROIT, MI – AUGUST 11: Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Al Avila on the field prior to the start of the game against the Kansas City Royals at Comerica Park on August 11, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. Kansas City defeated Detroit 10-2. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Riley Green and Spencer Torkelson, are part of a future of Tigers baseball team that should be fun to watch.

Detroit Tigers top prospect Spencer Torkelson is as advertised

Breaking a long standing record at Arizona State that was held by Barry Bonds, put Spencer Torkelson on the map. Drafted this past year No.1 overall by the Detroit Tigers, Torkelson headed to summer camp and was and is working on transitioning from first base to third. Now as part of a group of players at the Tigers instructional league, Torkelson is proving his worth.

This fall at instructional league play for the Detroit Tigers, Spencer Torkelson is batting third in the lineup, fellow Tigers first round draft pick Riley Greene is batting in front of him. Tigers fans should get use to that rather nasty 1-2 punch.

It is easy for young prospects to get lost as they try to advance through the minor leagues. Spencer Torkelson has had a well rounded, mature adjustment to professional baseball. “Torkelson is as advertised,” vice president of player development Dave Littlefield said. “He works the count well. He’s got power. He can hit. We’re trying him out at third base. He’s an athletic guy, great makeup, ballplayer.”

On Monday during a game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Torkelson stepped to the plate and flashed exactly what Littlefield described. Hitting a 375 foot home run, after which  Torkelson said he did not get all of it.

DETROIT, MI – JULY 11: Riley Greene #31 of the Detroit Tigers looks on during the Detroit Tigers Summer Workouts at Comerica Park on July 11, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson have bonded. They have become fast friends. That is important because they project as future All-Stars. They also project to be part of a formidable part of the Tigers batter order for years to come.

Both Torkelson and Greene are described as being very humble, level headed players who love playing the game and want to get better every day. This is the fun part of watching and tracking prospects. To see players growth is encouraging, more so because two of the Tigers organization’s top prospects are on track.

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


Detroit Tigers prospect Riley Greene is turning heads

Embed from Getty Images It is hard to get too excited about prospects. There are too many ‘if’s, and’s or but’s,” with many prospects. The Detroit Tigers who in recent years have bolstered their minor league system, have a prospect that I feel is worth watching. Outfielder, Riley Greene, who so far this spring is turning heads in a good way.

Riley Greene is just 19 years old. Before we get overly excited, Greene will not be in Detroit this season. He will be soon enough. Riley Greene is just getting started. The fifth overall pick in last year’s draft Greene has a bright future ahead of him in Detroit. On top of his supernatural feel for the batting, Greene is beginning to show he is pretty good with the glove. A few scouts said they did not think Riley would be able to play center field in the majors, much less at Comerica Park.

Greene made a statement on Sunday when he hauled in a line drive on the warning track in right field, then tipped his cap to the pitcher. “Wow, Riley Greene!” said one TV commentator on the opposing team’s broadcast.  “That was pretty,” said the other.

Riley Greene possesses one of the purest swings in baseball. He is also very athletic and adds a great deal of excitement to the Detroit Tigers prospect pool. Looking ahead, Green is probably two plus years from playing at Comerica Park. A mid season call up in 2022 is probably when Green will arrive in the big leagues. Sure, Riley Greene can close the gap between now and then, but these things take time and development is key.

At this moment Riley Greene is ranked the Detroit Tigers No. 3 prospect. There is little doubt when Matt Manning and or Casey Mize arrive in Detroit at some point this season Green will be No. 1.

Detroit Tigers top pick Riley Greene compaired to Ken Griffey Jr.

Embed from Getty Images He is just 18 years old. Yet, one of the Detroit Tigers most prized prospects is being compared to a Hall of Fame player. Starting his professional baseball career at the instructional Connecticut Tigers, Riley Greene lasted just 24 games. Because he was simply too good for the league.

Riley Greene has been promoted to Grand Rapids to the West Michigan Whitecaps. In his first game with the Whitecaps, Greene doubled, had an inside-the-park home run and 3 R.B.I.’s. He was not done. As of Saturday Greene is hitting .306

Coming out of high school scouts reported Greene did not have the speed to play center field. Yet the same night he debuted Riley Greene chased down a hit in the gap, splayed out for an amazing diving catch.

Scouts have changed their tune. Riley Greene is the total package. One scout said “It has been a small sample size, but the polish to his game is more than I expected.” Greene’s play and speed has pushed another Detroit Tigers top prospect (Parker Meadows) to right field.

One long time MLB general manager said “Riley Greene is a generational player. You can see the skill set and it compares to Ken Griffey Jr. Same smooth swing, makes consistent contact with the ball and can run down anything in the out field.”

It is one thing for fans of a team to compare players, it is another thing all together when a long time well respected general manager makes the comparison.

It is still early in the process, but the Detroit Tigers appear to have the next face-of-the-franchise player. Before the Tigers 2019 first round draft pick ever played a game, he was tabbed to arrive in Detroit in 2023. Given his current trajectory Tiger and baseball fans will not have to wait that long. I think 2021 is a more realistic time frame.

The Detroit Tigers select Riley Greene in the first round of the 2019 MLB draft

Embed from Getty Images In a minor league pipeline with the top rated pitching, the Detroit Tigers needed to add bats in this years MLB draft. Because this is the worst draft in 27 years for pitching the Tigers scouts got to work. They drafted Riley Greene, out of Hagerty (Florida) High School.

While drafting any player in any sport is a bit of a crap-shoot. There is high risk, high reward to picking players who are just fresh from completing High School. Yet, that is what the Detroit Tigers did last night.

Riley Greene, is a left-handed hitter. He has perhaps the most beautiful swing that I have seen from a lefty in a long time. Greene does not reach for pitches he has a firm grasp of the strike zone. Another great attribute Riley Green has, is he does not pull his head off the ball when swinging.

Detroit scouts believe Greene will fill out to 6′ 3″. Detroit has a long history of liking big (6′ 3″ and above) outfielders. Riley Greene is both athletic and versatile enough to be able to handle all three outfield positions. He grades as a 50 tools in the field. That is a fancy grade for Greene is above average in the field.

No we get to the hitting. Riley Greene was the best prep hitter in this years draft. But in the big picture. Greene was one of the top 4 hitters in the entire draft. Right now Riley grades at 60 contact and 60 power. Every baseball scout said when Greene is fully developed he will be 70 tools in both offensive categories. That is the max.

The one drawback is his lack of speed. Greene will not steal a lot of bases. With his bat it will not matter. He will hit above .300 and have 20+ homeruns.

The fact he was still on the board when Detroit picked made Tigers general manager Al Avila’s decision easy. The Detroit Tigers got the big bat that will balance their batting lineup post rebuild.