Detroit Tigers Top 20 Prospects: No. 6 Ryan Kreidler

Erie SeaWolves batter Ryan Kreidler hits the ball.
Erie SeaWolves batter Ryan Kreidler hits the ball. /

Our Detroit Tigers prospect rankings roll on with our sixth-best prospect in the system, Ryan Kreidler

At Motor City Bengals, we’re counting down our best prospects in the Detroit Tigers system. Our seventh-ranked prospect was Joey Wentz, which you can find here. That brings us to one of the more polarizing players in the entire system: Ryan Kreidler.

A segment of the fanbase felt Kreidler, 24, deserved a shot at the starting shortstop position. Of course, this debate came before the Tigers agreed with Javier Baez. Nevertheless, Kreidler will enter spring training blocked from a starting spot on the left side of the infield, and will instead hope to secure a bench role on the major league club.

Ryan Kreidler Background

Entering the 2020 season, many felt Kreidler was maybe a sneaky-solid piece the Detroit Tigers had dug up in the fourth round of the 2019 MLB Draft. Kreidler doesn’t boast the typical shortstop build at 6’4″ and 208 lbs, but that didn’t deter Detroit.

Despite the sentiment Kreidler was destined for an eventual move to third base, he started his career in 2019 by playing all 57 games at shortstop, posting a .972 fielding percentage to finish out his 2019 season with Connecticut.

After the 2020 lost year, Kreidler took on what many felt was an aggressive assignment at Double-A Erie, considering he spent no time at Low-A Lakeland or High-A West Michigan. The challenge proved prudent for the organization, as Kreidler would put up a .257/.325/.429 line with 15 doubles and 15 home runs across 88 games for the SeaWolves, which earned him an eventual promotion alongside teammates Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson (more on them later in this ranking).

Kreidler only hit more in Toledo; a .304/.407/.519 line for the Mud Hens with 7 home runs in 44 games. Interestingly, Kreidler cut down his strikeout rate during his short stay in Ohio as well.

Following the season, Kreidler has now positioned himself as a consensus top-10 prospect in the Detroit Tigers system, with many arguing he is ready for the top tier of competition in 2022.

Ryan Kreidler Strengths

As we mentioned, Kreidler is an anomaly in that he has improved offensively as he has progressed through the minors. I didn’t care for Kreidler at shortstop as early as last spring, but I felt he improved there by the end of the season to possibly stick at shortstop.

Kreidler works counts well and is unafraid to get deep and foul off tough pitches to remain in the box. His approach gives him the ability to walk but also exposes him to some swing and miss.

Ryan Kreidler Weaknesses

Kreidler remains a fine defender with an above-average arm. But even if the whole shortstop thing works out, his defense alone won’t earn him any playing time at the spot, especially in today’s game where shortstops are expected to not only hit, but also be a power source in the lineup.

In addition, it will be fascinating to see if his patient approach will translate at the highest levels. Although Kreidler walks a fair amount, his strikeout totals are about as high as an organization can tolerate before lowering the role, considering the rest of the profile. If Kreidler’s approach leads to more swings and misses at the highest levels, where stuff is crisper and pitchers are pounding the zone more often, it almost certainly will not justify an everyday role in the big leagues.

Our Take on Ryan Kreidler

Kreidler was one of the players I have seen most in the system, just by coincidence. The power is legit and will play, and it’s a fairly compact swing. He rarely overswings, which old-school baseball guys will love.

Kreidler provides limited upside but also a limited risk, making his floor pretty high compared to others. There is an everyday shortstop upside for Kreidler; but more likely, I see a power infield utility bat long-term. I can’t stand player comparisons, but in terms of production, think of someone like Gio Urshela.