Detroit Tigers News

Detroit Tigers: Adding Players to the Alternate Training Site

LAKELAND, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Kody Clemens #93 of the Detroit Tigers fields during Spring Training workouts at the TigerTown Facility on February 19, 2020 in Lakeland, Florida. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
LAKELAND, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Kody Clemens #93 of the Detroit Tigers fields during Spring Training workouts at the TigerTown Facility on February 19, 2020 in Lakeland, Florida. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
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Here’s who the Tigers should add to their alternate training site. 

Baseball America broke some interesting alternate training site news on Friday:

Major League Baseball’s original plan for 2020 was to have teams carry standard 26-man rosters, with a 3-man taxi squad traveling on road trips. That meant 31-34 players would be available to practice and participate in quasi-games at the alternate training site.

But Covid-19 threw a pair of large, Marlins- and Cardinals-shaped wrenches into the works, and teams are now finishing the season with a 28-man active roster and 5-man taxi squads. That leaves 27 players at alternate training sites during road games, and that’s just not enough for players to get the consistent game reps they need to prepare and develop.

Adding 15 more bodies to the alternate training site makes a lot of sense.

We took a stab at predicting the Detroit Tigers’ 60-man Summer Camp roster back in June, so let’s put on our prognostication culottes (our guessing pants are at the cleaners) and come up with the 15 new names.

We don’t know the health or fitness of the Tigers minor leaguers who’ve been left to wander the wilderness during this unique season, so we’re assuming everyone is healthy and in the best shape of his life.

The trick is balancing the need to develop prospects while making workable rosters that keep players in their natural positions. The best way for us to project the rosters is to split the alternate training site squad into two teams. Let’s call them Team Mize and Team Manning.

Starting Pitchers (Additions in Bold)

Why These Three?

Richan, Rodriguez, and Shore aren’t particularly exciting, but they come with a bit of prospect pedigree – the Detroit Tigers acquired all three in trades – and in a normal year they would have been pitching in Double-A or Triple-A. That puts them on par with the talent they’ll be facing, and it keeps them moving toward a potential big-league future.

Also Considered for the Alternate Training Site

Not many other names, honestly. The Tigers have a handful of interesting arms like Carlos Guzman, Wilkel Hernandez, Keider Montero, and Hugh Smith, but none of them pitched above Low-A ball in 2019.

Relief Pitchers (Additions in Bold)

Why These Four?

This one was actually somewhat easy, despite a large number of options. Zack Hess was briefly part of the 60-man squad during Summer Camp, so he heads back into the mix. And the other three saw multiple appearances in spring training. Baez and Moreno have both been on the Tigers’ 40-man roster before, and Pinto is young and throws hard.

Also Considered for the Alternate Training Site

This is where health in readiness could come into play. Any of the above four pitchers could be chosen, but so could Austin Bergner, Drew Carlton, Ethan DeCaster, Angel De Jesus, Jason Foley, Max Green, Zac Houston, Jared Tobey, or Will Vest.

Infielders (Additions in Bold)

Why These Four?

The Detroit Tigers have added an awful lot of infielders in the last two drafts, and there’s just no way to include them all. Given his draft pedigree and the scarcity of true second basemen in the system, Kody Clemens seemed like an obvious choice to join. Andre Lipcius provides positional flexibility, and Nick Quintana and Gage Workman are both high draft picks we assume the Tigers would like to see in action.

Also Considered for the Alternate Training Site
There was no shortage of options here. Trei Cruz, Colt Keith, and Ryan Kreidler are all recent draft picks with a case to join the alternate training site, while catchers like Cooper Johnson and Sam McMillan would help handle the expanded pitching staff. A defensive whiz like Cole Peterson could probably play anywhere on the diamond, and Wenceel Perez was considered a top-ten prospect in the system as recently as last year.

Outfielders (Additions in Bold)

Why These Four?
They represent a decent mix of readiness and developmental priorities. The Tigers would likely love to get a look at Daniel Cabrera, their 3rd pick in the draft this year, while Bryant Packard was one of the more promising hitters they drafted in 2019. Those two are best suited for the outfield corners, while Jose Azocar and Jake Robson can handle all three outfield positions and have plenty of experience above A-Ball.

Also Considered for the Alternate Training Site
Daniel Woodrow would be a justifiable choice too, given his versatility and experience, but his lack of power limits his chances at an MLB future. Brock Deatherage has impressive physical tools and could have been in Double-A this season, but he would likely be overwhelmed by the competition here. Ulrich Bojarski has big power, but he’s raw as a hitter, and Parker Meadows is probably the highest priority prospect of this bunch, but he’s simply not ready to face this level of competition.

Conclusion
So that’s our best guess for who would join the alternate training site rosters should the Detroit Tigers get the chance to add 15 more players. Which players would you choose? And which of the two teams do you think is better?

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