As we surpass the thirty game mark of the Minor League season, it’s time to take a look at prospect risers in the American League Central, headlined by Detroit Tigers catcher Dillon Dingler
The Minor League season has now been in progress for over a month. In the Detroit Tigers and the AL Central as a whole, we have seen the beginnings of prospect breakouts and downfalls alike. The lack of a 2020 minor league season means that we haven’t gotten eyes on many of these prospects for over a full calendar year.
While there has clearly been some rust amongst minor leaguers, as evidenced by unusually high strikeout and walk rates, a whole month of new data points allow us which players may have elevated their game in a variety of ways during the shutdown. We have seen several examples of pitchers adding fastball velocity or hitters refining their approach on their way to a career-high walk rate during the lost season.
In the AL Central specifically, there are five players who have caught my eye as potential prospect risers as the season progresses:
Dillon Dingler, C DET
Dillon Dingler has done everything right in his first few months in the Detroit Tigers system. A second-round selection in the 2020 MLB Draft, Dingler came with the reputation as a player with fairly average tools across the board. So far, he has shown that there may be some more upside once you pull back the curtain.
Dingler is extremely athletic for a backstop. Of course, many Detroit Tigers fans have heard about his role as the starting center fielder for Ohio State during his sophomore season. His blend of size and athleticism bode well for his defensive future behind the plate.
Dingler has certainly scorched A+ pitching to start the year, registering a .986 OPS and eight home runs across 113 plate appearances, but that’s not unheard of for a 22-year-old player in A+ ball coming off of three seasons in the Big Ten. What’s most encouraging is his swing looks great and he has displayed easy power to all fields. Detroit Tigers GM Avila said Friday that Dingler is due for a promotion soon, where his bat will be tested more. Dingler has firmly cemented himself among the top ten catcher prospects in baseball with top-five upside if he continues his performance in a more aggressive assignment.