Detroit Tigers fans will be excited on plans for Torkelson and Greene

ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 17: A.J. Hinch #14 of the Detroit Tigers looks on during the third inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on September 17, 2021 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 17: A.J. Hinch #14 of the Detroit Tigers looks on during the third inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on September 17, 2021 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Tigers manager AJ Hinch appeared on Ben Verlander’s Flippin’ Bats podcast where he shared insights on the organization’s best prospects

Even fans who offer attention to interviews casually have come to realize that Detroit Tigers manager AJ Hinch is a fantastic listen. Hinch is frank and often offers insights that many managers do not divulge; particularly, he gives his approach and thought process behind many of the decisions he makes throughout the season.

Additionally, Hinch has purposely limited the media’s access to his coaching staff; so often the perspective of Chris Fetter or Chip Hale is delivered second-hand via Hinch.

Hinch appeared on Fox Sports analyst Ben Verlander’s podcast, Flippin’ Bats, recently, where he shared some excellent nuggets regarding the club next season. I had written about how I felt Riley Greene should break camp with the club in 2022 recently, and Avila recently mentioned that he would get a legitimate shot to make the team as well, but Hinch confirmed this fact and more during the interview.

When asked about the similarities between the Houston Astros and the Detroit Tigers in their respective rebuilds, Hinch had this to say:

"“Some of those (young) guys are starting to hit the big leagues now and some are going to come, more than likely early next year when you talk about Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene.”"

So, then, assuming health, it sounds as if Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene could both be on the fast-track to the majors next season. Some would call this a given, but both prospects have limited time at the Triple-A level and it would be tough to argue the organization playing things slow. Greene will be a 21-year-old all of 2022 and Torkelson hit just .238 across his 40-game Toledo stint (although his .881 OPS better communicates his patience and power).

Torkelson and Greene will be enough to put butts in the Comerica Park seats, but it was his follow up to this quote that may have fans even more excited:

"“The key thing we did in Houston and we’re hopeful to do in Detroit is surround that young core with some guys that now how to win and it wasn’t until Yuli Guerriel came around and his history in the international market playing for Cuba all those years. You go get a Michael Brantley, you go get a Justin Verlander, you go get a Gerritt Cole.We made a lot of acquisitions in Houston that really supplemented that young core group. We’re gonna try and do that now.”"

These are the quotes that continue to get fans geeked about the offseason and subsequent 2022 year. Seems they are past the stage of filling holes with veteran minor league signings. Not only do they intend to supplement with their high-end talent from the minor leagues, but Hinch, Illitch, and others within the organization continue to leave bread crumbs about the organization being players near the top of the free-agent market this winter.

It is important to remember the timelines, though. Gurriel made his MLB debut in 2016, Justin Verlander was acquired at the trade deadline in 2017, Gerrit Cole was acquired before the 2018 season, and Michael Brantley was signed for the 2019 year. So, then, Detroit Tigers GM Al Avila’s infamous ‘drunken sailor’ spending metaphor is likely more about the club not tackling every need in one offseason and less about the club being cheap.

Later in the podcast, Verlander brings up Greene and Torkelson again and asked about the organization’s plans for them. Hinch again delivers a consistent message around their blue-chip guys:

"“They are hard on themselves. They wanted to make a big impression in their first big league camp and they made impressions they didn’t even know they made yet….they’re real players and real contributors. We need to surround them with guys where they don’t have to be the dudes right out of the gate.”"

Again, Hinch drives home the idea that Torkelson and Greene are not enough, and having more veteran talent surrounding them will ease some of their self-imposed pressure to perform. Interesting that, even when being asked about prospects, Hinch goes back to acquiring established talent.

Of course, having Greene and Torkelson on the big league club in short order will be exciting and one or both may go on to become superstars. Thankfully, though, they are not being viewed as the only upgrades or ‘saviors’ for a team with dire needs outside of bats, if postseason baseball is truly the goal. For Hinch, it undoubtedly is.

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