Detroit Tigers No. 3 Prospect – Dillon Dingler – C
Dillon Dingler’s impressive tools and outstanding start to the 2020 college season earned him some first-round grades, but a lack of high-level experience left him on the board for the Tigers at the top of the 2nd round, and Detroit pounced on the Ohio State backstop with the 38th overall pick. For a few months it looked as though the Tigers nabbed an absolute steal, as Dingler played exceptionally well on both sides of the ball. FanGraphs slid him into their top-100 prospects, and he earned a promotion to Double-A Erie after just 32 games with the West Michigan Whitecaps. He initially seemed unbothered by the step up in competition, hitting .317/.375/.575 in his first 11 games with the SeaWolves. But then his offense absolutely collapsed, and he batted just .170/.231/.245 over his final 39 games in Erie.
Dingler is an aggressive hitter, but when he was on he made consistent hard contact to all fields. He showed plus power to the pull side, with enough juice to go out to center and right, and he’s an above-average athlete who will turn in fringe-average run times to first base. He’s outstanding behind the plate, with athletic actions, a soft glove, and a strong, accurate arm that he loves to use. He can still work on some of the finer aspects of the position, but he has all the tools to be a plus defender at the big-league level. It’s hard to ignore that second-half slide, but Dingler generally looked exhausted by the middle of July, and a broken hand cost him most of August. We don’t think he’s nearly as bad as he performed in the 2nd half of the year, but even if he doesn’t approach what he did in the first half, there’s still a strong chance he becomes a big-league regular on the strength of his defense alone. And if the bat comes back around, the Tigers could have an All-Star on their hands.