5 Detroit Tigers prospects who have raised their profiles

The Erie SeaWolves and Akron RubberDucks get ready to play May 13, 2021 at UPMC Park in Erie.P1seawolves051321
The Erie SeaWolves and Akron RubberDucks get ready to play May 13, 2021 at UPMC Park in Erie.P1seawolves051321 /
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Detroit Tigers
John Valente of the Erie SeaWolves is shown Aug. 12 at UPMC Park before a game against the Altoona Curve.P3seawolves081221 /

Detroit Tigers infielder prospect John Valente

The right-handed hitting Valente was drafted in the 21st round out of St John’s in 2018 and all he has done at every level is hit. While he may be considered “aged out” in terms of prospect status as he just turned 26, with the lost year of 2020, Valente at every level has hit.

Freep columnist Jeff Seidel did a story about him back in June ($) and when Chris and I spoke to the voice of the Erie SeaWolves Greg Gange on our Tigers podcast, he said Valente was one of the most consistent hitters in Erie. “Johnny 300” was among the team leaders in batting average with a slash line of .301/.363/.445 with a walk rate of 7.6% and a K rate of 13.5%.

Prior to his injury that has kept him sidelined since August 18th, he had a hot month of August, going 14-for-40 (.350). He showed some pretty steady defense as well.

Because of his age, he may not appear on any prospect lists but he is Rule 5 eligible in 2021. He has produced at each stop and has performed better than anyone could have predicted for a 21st round draft pick.

Infielder Yariel Gonzalez

Detroit Tigers
Erie SeaWolves batter Yariel Gonzalez fouls off a Harrisburg Senators pitch on Sept. 1, 2021, at UPMC Park in Erie. A few pitches later, he hit a two-run single in the nine-run fifth inning.P2seawolves090121 /

I wrote about Gonzalez, who falls into “organizational player”  because he has not been mentioned in prospect circles, between Erie and Toledo, put up solid numbers this season. The swing changes from his time in St.Louis’s system to here showed more drive on his swing follow-through.

He may not be in the system in 2022 but overall, I feel he has risen his profile a bit this season based on his numbers and increase in his .ISO. 

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