Detroit Tigers Minor League Report: Triple-A trio debuts in Toledo

Ryan Kreidler of the Erie SeaWolves reacts after scoring against the Akron RubberDucks on May 13, 2021 at UPMC Park in Erie.P5seawolves051321
Ryan Kreidler of the Erie SeaWolves reacts after scoring against the Akron RubberDucks on May 13, 2021 at UPMC Park in Erie.P5seawolves051321 /

Riley Greene, Spencer Torkelson, and Ryan Kreidler made their debut last night for the Toledo Mud Hens. Their impact was felt in more ways than one for Detroit Tigers fans.

Riley Greene (Number 1 on the MCB Prospect Board), Spencer Torkelson (number 2), and Ryan Kreidler (number 17) all had an impact on the Detroit Tigers Triple-A affiliate Toledo Mud Hens last night.

Torkelson got the first run of the game scored for the Mud Hens as he would drive in Daz Cameron on a sacrifice fly to center. Greene had an RBI single in the 2nd inning to drive in Kriedler, who reached on a walk. Then Kreidler would make history at his next at-bat in the 4th inning as his 16th home run of the season would break a modern record for most home runs by a Tigers shortstop in the minor leagues. The previous record-holder was Emerito Lopez, who had 15 in 1970 for Toledo. 

Lost in the excitement of these three bats coming to Toledo was Kody Clemens, who made some loud contact and chipped in with three hits and Isaac Paredes was making some athletic plays at 3rd base. With the win, Toledo stays in first place in the Triple-A East division.

The Detroit Tigers farm system is making progress but…

Earlier in the week, Baseball America announced the Tigers ($) possess the sixth-best farm system in the league based on the strength of Torkelson, Greene, Matt Manning, and Jackson Jobe.  Even this tidbit from stats man Austin Drake of Bally Sports Detroit stands out.

To be listed ahead of Tampa Bay is a tip of the cap to what the Detroit Tigers player development has done and it should be worth something but as rankings go, looking at the system objectively, there is a bit of a drop off in terms of pitching depth and even batting depth below Triple-A now.

The Erie SeaWolves have lost 50 home runs with Greene, Josh Lester, and Kreidler now up in Toledo, and if you include Torkelson’s 14, that is 64. While John Valente, Kerry Carpenter, and Andre Lipcius are solid players, Erie may struggle to score runs.  The arrival of Reese Olson will help the pitching staff that has lost Paul Richan due to injury and Joey Wentz has pitched better as of late.

Yes, it is understandable that when players are called up, that the rest of the teams in the system may be thrown a bit off course but while it is okay to be excited about the amount of progress the Tigers system has been making (Kreidler is one of the first shortstop draftees heading to be impactful for the first time in a good 20-30 years), the depth of the Detroit Tigers system still needs to show added improvement in order to keep the winning ways rolling.

Perspective is key when it comes to evaluating and looking at the upside of the system but the batting averages in West Michigan and Lakeland should also remind you that the Detroit Tigers still have some ways to go to get the depth that can pay off in trades and in 40-man roster placement.