The Detroit Tigers are in rebuilding mode. “Future Friday” is a segment where we examine the prospects in Detroit and their future impact in the Motor City.
The Detroit Tigers sold off a lot of veteran talent over the past year in exchange for prospects.
While it can be hard for fans to see All-Stars like J.D. Martinez, Justin Upton and Alex Avila dealt, (not to mention franchise icon Justin Verlander), the return can be an exciting batch of prospects who will become the next stars in Detroit.
‘Future Fridays,’ is a weekly column where we pick a prospect, old or new, and delve into their expected impact on the team. We want to help Tiger fans identify the upcoming wave of prospects as they move into rebuilding mode.
Today’s Future Friday article was inspired once again by Twitter, as we polled our followers to ask which outfield prospect they wanted to hear about. Here are the results:
The Tigers saw Max Scherzer depart via free agency in 2015, only bringing in a competitive balance pick in the upcoming draft. That selection ended up being Stewart, a big left-handed power hitter out of the University of Tennessee.
Stewart has already proven that the power is very real and will translate to the professional ranks. He blasted 30 home runs in 2016 between High-A and Double-A. He followed that up with another 28 in 2017, all with Double-A Erie.
In addition to strong power numbers, Stewart has shown a strong ability to draw a walk. He posted a 16.7% walk-rate at High-A in 2016 and a 10.1% rate in Double-A last year. The Tigers #7 ranked prospect is starting to look the part of a three true outcomes player. He posts strong walk and home run totals, buoyed by high strikeout totals as well.
The most prominent three true outcomes player is Adam Dunn, who blasted 462 home runs but also finished third all-time in strikeouts. Other examples include Jack Cust, Russell Branyan, former Tiger Rob Deer and recently inducted Hall of Famer Jim Thome.
With such a wide variety of success among three true outcome players, the Tigers will hope Stewart is more like Adam Dunn, and less like former Tigers prospect Steven Moya.
If Stewart can reach the offensive production of Adam Dunn, that would be a tremendous bonus for the Tigers. Unfortunately, he appears likely to reach the defensive production of Adam Dunn, which is not a good thing. Stewart is already being labeled a designated hitter prospect, as scouts have called his defense below average across the board.
The Tigers hope he can play an adequate left field, even as MLB pipeline states that “he has limited speed and a below-average arm”.
The 24-year-old Stewart will almost certainly start the 2018 season in Triple-A. He is very likely to make his big league debut sometime during the season. With Victor Martinez in his final season of his contract, a roster spot should be open for Stewart in 2019. Miguel Cabrera will likely slide over to DH, but Stewart could find himself as Detroit’s regular left fielder as soon as this season, if he continues to mash.