Detroit Tigers: Riley Greene and Bobby Witt preview AL Central future

Riley Greene congratulates Spencer Torkelson. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Riley Greene congratulates Spencer Torkelson. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Tigers
Toledo Mud Hens Christin Stewart (20) has company in right field as people watch from behind the screens on Nationwide Boulevard during the AAA minor league baseball game at Huntington Park in Columbus on Tuesday, June 15, 2021.Columbus Clippers Vs Toledo Mudhens /

Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene are fairing well in Omaha 

The two clubs have predictably split the first four games of the seven-game set. Each of the budding stars has had a moment or two to shine.

Greene and Torkelson have both reached base in all four games with both having a three-RBI game. Torkelson’s highlight a 2 dinger effort in Game 1 of Wednesday’s doubleheader.

Witt had a three-hit game with three ribbies, Melendez knocked a dinger off Toledo’s Will Vest the adding 2-hit game on Thursday as well. Pratto has reached base in all four games to boot.

Detroit prospect Ryan Kreidler, possibly the Tigers’ future shortstop, has also been productive at the plate in the series. Kreidler has had a very positive transition from Erie to Toledo.

Isaac Paredes and Daz Cameron have also chipped in offensively and they may have a return ticket to Motown at some point. Both might suffer from “prospect fatigue” in the eyes of some but they still have a legitimate shot at a big-league career.

Three great weekend games remain for the future stars of the AL Central to clash.

The Show is next 

The Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals have both been in rebuild mode for several seasons and both probably see this wave of young players bubbling up on Triple-A as the signal to start putting winning ball clubs on the field again.

The two teams have pitching taking root at the MLB level thanks to the 2018 MLB Draft.

Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal are starting in Detroit’s rotation and showing enough to be counted on moving forward. Mize was the number one overall pick in ‘18. He had a rocky debut in ‘20 but has settled in to look pretty reliable in ‘21 with an ERA bouncing around between 3.5 and 4.00.

Skubal has been the surprise 9th round selection that has blossomed into a possible ace. He’s allowed 30 homers which is where he’ll need improvement. But he’s been throwing a lot of strikes and has been dominant for long stretches through the late summer.

Meanwhile, in Kansas City, the Royals 2018 draft efforts have yielded the improbable occurrence of currently seeing their Top 4 picks already in the KC rotation. Brady Singer, Jackson Kowar, Kris Bubic, and Daniel Lynch are all taking starts in the big leagues. All of them have had ups and downs you normally find with youngsters much like the tandem in Detroit.

But the talent is evident. Lynch especially looks like the #2 starter in the making. Kowar showcased electric stuff just the other night in his return to the majors with six solid innings allowing 0 ER against the Guardians. Bubic has the steady reliable stuff giving him the look of workhorse #3/#4 starter. Like Skubal, getting the home runs allowed under control will be his next step. Singer has shown flashes but has had rough moments. The guess here is to expect a step forward in ‘22.

Coming Attractions

The AL Central currently looks like it will be dominated by the Chicago White Sox given the youth and scary talent inhabiting their daily lineup. No doubt, they are good and should remain so for some time.

The Twins and Guardians both have reasons to believe they can compete again as well. The Twins need to bounce back from this “everything went sideways” year they’ve had. They have the talent to compete. Cleveland just needs to fulfill the idea they might spend a bit more and keep cranking out quality pitching from thin air.

However, KC and Detroit have the youthful talent already in the majors and the bevy of big bats knocking on the doorstep in Triple-A. One just gets the sense that this Omaha Showdown between the Mudhens and Storm Chasers is a harbinger of future AL Central duels with much bigger things at stake. The Chisox will have a big say in matters but the Tigers and Royals are going to relieve some of the wars they fought in 2013 and 2014 very soon. 2022 could be the start of big things once again in Detroit and Kansas City.