Detroit Tigers Top 20 Prospects: No. 20 Andre Lipcius
We take a look at infielder Andre Lipcius, who ranks 20th on our list of Detroit Tigers prospects.
Last month we unveiled our top 20 prospects in the Detroit Tigers system. You can see the players ranked 11-20 here, the top ten here, and five more prospects who just missed here.
Today we begin to take a closer look at each prospect in that top 20, beginning with Andre Lipcius, a sum-of-his-parts infielder whose mature approach at the plate, versatility, and reliable defense give him a solid chance to reach the big leagues.
Andre Lipcius Background
Andre Lipcius grew up in Williamsburg, Virginia, where his father serves as a Professor of Marine Sciences at The College of William & Mary, and his mother works as a Research Professor at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. Andre and his twin brother Luc both went to the University of Tennessee to play baseball, with Andrew majoring in Nuclear Engineering and Luc choosing Aerospace Engineering.
Lipcius was a three-year starter for the Volunteers, earning All-American honors as a freshman, batting .295 with eight home runs over his first two seasons, and then hitting an impressive .313/.391/.456 in the wood-bat Cape Code League in the summer of 2018. Lipcius played all over the infield for Tennessee, but he settled in at third base in 2019 and hit .308 with 17 home runs. That was enough for the Tigers to draft him in the 3rd round with the 83rd overall pick.
He made a solid pro debut that summer, heading directly to Low-A West Michigan where he batted .273 over 61 games and saw time at second base, shortstop, and third base. COVID-19 kept him from games in 2020, so he spent time working out in his parents’ garage, training in Richmond, and eventually playing in some controlled workouts with the Peninsula Pilots of the Coastal Plain League.
The 2021 season saw Andre Lipcius return to West Michigan, though by then it had changed to Detroit’s High-A affiliate. It took him just 22 games to earn a promotion to Double-A Erie, where he spent the remainder of the season and split his playing time evenly between second and third.
Andre Lipcius Strengths
Andre Lipcius is the definition of a gamer. He’s not the sort of athlete who intimidates opponents when he walks off the bus, and he doesn’t put together awe-inspiring power displays in batting practice. But he consistently puts together professional plate appearances, working counts, taking walks, and spraying line drives all over the field. He has a chance to be an average hitter, and though he doesn’t hit a ton of home runs in games, he has the average raw pop to drive balls over the fence in any direction. Lipcius also displays outstanding instincts on defense, and he gloves just about anything he gets to, with a strong, highly accurate arm that works at both second and third.
Andre Lipcius Weaknesses
The main thing holding down Lipcius’ profile is his poor foot speed. He simply lacks the first-step quickness and range to regularly man shortstop in pro ball, and at times he struggles to get out of the batter’s box, resulting in well below-average home-to-first times. Lipcius has good bat-to-ball skills, but he struggled against premium velocity in 2021, and it’s unlikely he’ll ever hit for the sort of game power needed to be a regular on the infield.
Our Take on Andre Lipcius
Andre Lipcius has quality tools and the right skills to reach the majors one day, but without a true plus tool, it’s hard to imagine him carving out anything more than a utility role. And even that might be hard to reach, given he can’t really be counted on to fill in at shortstop in anything more than an emergency capacity. It’s possible he could make a change to his swing or approach to produce the in-game power needed to stick at third base or second base full time, but such a change would likely come with a disqualifying drop in batting average and on-base percentage.
Andre Lipcius will likely return to Double-A Erie to begin the 2022 season, and he could easily hit his way to Triple-A Toledo by the middle of the year. He’ll be Rule 5 eligible at the end of the season, but barring a run of injuries, it’s hard to see him elbowing his way into an already crowded 40-man infield. We envision Andre Lipcius sticking around Detroit’s upper minors for a few seasons, and perhaps earning an emergency call up or two.