Detroit Tigers: What Will Detroit Need Out of the 2020 MLB Draft

Now that we know the 2020 MLB Draft will be five rounds, let’s take a look at what the Tigers plus and minuses are for the current state of the minor league system. This will be a two-part series with part two covering the pitchers, catchers, and outfielders in the system.

Baseball is unique in the sense that you do not draft for the positional need for the organization. You pick the best player available. The Detroit Tigers have a surplus of pitching prospects across the system but what else does this system have that is a strength? Let’s examine what the Tigers currently have, based on the Fangraphs depth chart and what players were drafted by the team with those players in bold front. We will also put where they are currently in the system as the 2020 MLB draft is on June 10th.

First Base:

With Spencer Torkelson projected to be the top pick in this year’s draft, let’s first start at first base.

  • Frank Schwindel (signed as a FA from Kansas City, drafted 18th round in 2013) Projected team: Toledo.
  • Josh Lester (drafted in the 13th round in the 2015 draft)  Projected team: Toledo
  • Kennys Vargas (signed as a free agent, originally signed by Minnesota in 2009) Projected team: Toledo
  • Nick Ames (drafted in the 15th round in the 2018 draft) Projected Team: Lakeland
  • Reynaldo Rivera (drafted in the 2nd round in the 2017 draft) Projected team: Lakeland
  • Jake Holton (drafted in the 10th round in the 2019 draft) Projected team: West Michigan

Rivera has played both corner spots in the outfield in his time in the minors and Lester has played a few games at third base. It will be interesting to see where they will put Rivera when he comes off his suspension. Both Schwindel and Vargas have played in the majors and both are not considered prospects, just organization depth. Ames got off to a good start at West Michigan before getting the call up to Lakeland in 2019.

Second Base: 

  • Kody Clemens (drafted in the 2nd round in the 2018 draft) Projected team: Erie
  • Jack Kenley (drafted in the 8th round in the 2019 draft) Projected team: Lakeland
  • Jose King (acquired in the JD Martinez trade in July 2017) Projected team: West Michigan

Kenley and King can both play shortstop. King did see some time at third base last year in between stops at West Michigan and Norwich. All three bat left-handed, which is a plus when it comes to the dimensions at Comerica Park. Clemens only spent 13 games in Erie but shows the most potential when it comes to power as James Chipman of the TigersMinorLeagueReport.com discussed on his write up for Clemens last year.

Shortstop:

  • Willi Castro (trade from Cleveland for Leonys Martín in July 2018) Projected Team: Toledo
  • Sergio Alcantara (acquired in the JD Martinez trade in July 2017) Projected Team: Toledo
  • Cole Peterson (drafted in the 13th round in the 2017 draft) Projected team: Erie
  • Wenceel Perez (international free agent signing in 2016) Projected team: West Michigan
  • Ryan Kreidler (drafted in the 4th round in the 2019 draft) Projected team: West Michigan
  • Adinso Reyes (international free agent signing in 2018) Projected team: West Michigan

Along with Chris Brown of the TigersMinorLeagueReport.com, I have been out to see Perez the past few seasons at West Michigan. If there was a season this year, I think if he would have gotten off to a good start, he would have been down in Lakeland in no time. While he lacks power, he has shown a good approach at the plate and was heating up towards the end of the season.

Willi Castro should be on the Tigers roster if and when the season starts this year. I would consider him “graduated” from prospect status.

Chris Brown also spoke about Kreidler’s plate approach that changed that resulted in a great season at UCLA. For Cole Peterson, he has one of the best arms in the system, has been a beast with his glove and his speed was on full display when he got his first hit at the Triple-A level last year when we were out to see the Mud Hens play. Many others like Kenon Carter of the Tigers Minor League Tracker and Emily Waldon of the Atheltic are also high on Peterson.

Third Base:

  • Issac Paredes (acquired in the Justin Wilson & Avila deal in July 2017)  Projected Team: Toledo
  • Brian Schales (Rule 5 pick Triple-A phase in 2019)  Projected Team: Toledo
  • Daniel Pinero (drafted 9th round in 2016)  Projected Team: Toledo
  • Nick Quintana (drafted in the 2nd round in 2019) Projected Team: West Michigan
  • Andre Lipicus (drafted in the 3rd round in 2019) Projected Team: West Michigan or Lakeland

Watching Lipicus last year at West Michigan, according to draft reports, they said he was a below-average runner but after he laced a double in the gap, I thought his speed was better than suggested. He also has changed his swing follow-through since college as shown here.

Our own Jay Markle captures his swing here at a game at West Michigan. Notice the follow through difference?

He showed his versatility, getting time at shortstop and second base. In the time I was out there with Chris Brown, we saw him play a solid short.

6′ 5 Daniel Pinero got time all over in the infield in the Tigers system and was a non-roster invitee in spring training so the third base is one of the multiple positions he could end up playing for the Tigers.

Again, if and when the season starts this year, don’t be surprised if we see Issac Parades in a Tigers uniform. With Jeimer Candelario and Dawiel Lugo not standing out in spring training to take over third base, we could see Parades at third before the end of the season.

Conclusion:

Willi Castro had a couple of coffee with the Tigers last season and he and Issac Parades are both on the 40-man roster so it is just a matter of time before we will see them in Detroit. Cole Peterson’s glove and arm helped him rise quickly through the minors. If he can continue to improve at the plate, he could be a solid role player for Detroit.

As far as Wenceel Perez, we will have to see how he adjusts when he gets to Lakeland and for Kody Clemens, as I have heard often before, you have to see how the first full season in Double-A goes. Patience is definitely needed. Of the players I mention, here’s how it stacks out on players drafted by the Tigers in the system from the positions listed in the article and the round they were drafted in below:

  1. 2015: Lester 13th
  2. 2016: Pinero 9th
  3. 2017: Rivera 2nd, Peterson, 13th
  4. 2018: Clemens 2nd, Ames 18th,
  5. 2019: Quintana 2nd, Lipicus 3rd, Kreidler 4th, Holton 10th.

As you can see here, the organization depth has come in the later parts of the draft. The hope is, the payoff from these recent draft classes from the standpoint of infield talent will come to fruition.  Coming up on part 2, catchers, pitchers and outfielders.

 

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