Detroit Tigers: 2nd Round Pick Dillon Dingler Could be the Catcher of the Future

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - JUNE 06: Catcher's glove is seen at Kiwoom Heroes dugout ahead of the KBO League game between LG Twins and Kiwoom Heroes at the Gocheok Sky Dome on June 06, 2020 in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - JUNE 06: Catcher's glove is seen at Kiwoom Heroes dugout ahead of the KBO League game between LG Twins and Kiwoom Heroes at the Gocheok Sky Dome on June 06, 2020 in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Tigers MLB Draft Recap: Dillon Dingler’s impact bat could make him the catcher of the future

The Detroit Tigers drafted one of the most dynamic catchers in the draft class in the second round of this year’s draft. Dillon Dingler, drafted out of Ohio State, started his collegiate career as a center fielder before moving behind the dish. A 6’3” and 210 pounds catcher, he is known for his powerful bat and plus defense. It was a surprise that Dingler was available after day one of the draft but Detroit made sure to draft their second impact bat of the night after taking Spencer Torkelson with the first pick. Dingler is one of the most athletic prospects of the draft this year and was primed for a big junior year being named as a Baseball America Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year.

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As a catcher, he has a well-above-average arm and projects to be a plus defender. He threw out 21 base stealers in college and projects to improve as his accuracy improves with more experience at the position. Detroit has plenty of defense-first catching prospects already in their minor league system. Though, what made Dingler their second-round pick is his bat. He was batting .340 when this season was cut short. Over the last five games of the season, he went 10-21 including all five of his home runs.

Last season, Dingler suffered a hand injury in the season opener that put him on the shelf for the season’s first month. He broke the hamate bone in his wrist. Injuries to the hamate bone have the tendency to reduce a players’ power for about a full season. It’s no surprise then that Dingler only hit three home runs that season.

Even without his over the fence power, Dingler’s hit tool was evident in his entire sophomore season. At one point he had a 32 game on-base streak and he finished the season ranked sixth among all Division I catchers with a .760 slugging percentage.

The centerfielder turned catcher can still run like an outfielder. During last falls scout day for Ohio State, Dingler ran a sub 6.6 60-yard dash. According to Baseball America’s rating system Dingler would be near the bottom end of a 70 grade on the 20-80 scale.  That is elite speed for any position but almost unheard of for a catcher. Byron Buxton ran a 6.6 before he was drafted and Mike Trout runs a bit faster with a 6.5. Let that sink in. His speed is comparable to Byron Buxton and Mike Trout, two of the fastest outfielders in the game. And Dingler is a catcher.

Dingler’s speed hasn’t translated him into a threat on the basepaths yet. He had just 10 stolen bases while at Ohio State. But with that kind of raw speed, it is easy to envision him stealing double-digit bags annually. He could possibly lose a step the longer he stays behind the plate. But if he can maintain his plus speed into his Major League career, the Detroit Tigers may have just drafted the second ever 20-20 catcher. Iván (Pudge) Rodríguez became the first to do so in 1999, the same year he won the MVP award.

Dingler was named Ohio State’s captain for the 2019 and 2020 seasons. Everything suggests that he is a team leader with the work ethic and willingness to improve his game. Those traits could lead him to be the face of a future young Tiger’s team. Now that his hand has healed and the power has returned, the sky is the limit for Dillon Dingler. The Detroit Tigers selected a potential All-Star caliber player with a day two draft day steal.

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