Detroit Tigers Top 20 Prospects: No. 3 Dillon Dingler

Erie SeaWolves catcher Dillon Dingler.
Erie SeaWolves catcher Dillon Dingler. /

Next on our Detroit Tigers Top 20 Prospects ranking: Dillon Dingler

The Detroit Tigers had a widely-applauded draft in 2020; a year in which the selection process was limited to just five rounds and the Detroit Tigers were limited to just six picks. The Tigers would kick off day one with consensus top player Spencer Torkelson, but they also led off day two with the second round that would ultimately land them Dillon Dingler, a catcher out of Ohio State University.

Dingler isn’t the typical backstop profile. He shows legitimate athleticism and spent some of his college career manning centerfield for the Buckeyes. Mom and dad were both college athletes, too, so he has the whole bloodline thing going for him.

Dillon Dingler background

We already touched on it, but Dingler is an OSU product with some injury issues that bumped back his draft stock a smidge. Still, he was selected in the second round by Detroit in 2020. Because of the pandemic season, Dingler didn’t get to make his minor league debut until last season–a year in which he saw three levels and finished his season in Double-A Erie with uber-prospects Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson (more to come on them yet).

Despite his season-ending early due to a finger injury, it was still a breakout debut season. Across 85 games, Dingler slashed .239/.310/.407 with 12 home runs and 46 RBI. His play behind the plate was stellar, too, with diving tags and pop times that had us questioning our stopwatches.

Dillon Dingler strengths

We already spoke about his general athleticism and how he’s able to deploy it into game situations. At the plate, Dingler has shown the ability to take walks and his power is legitimate, posing a threat to all fields not only for extra bases, but home runs too.

His arm shouldn’t be ignored, either. Some of the pop times he posted would put him among the best in the league in our looks last season and he’s unafraid to back-pick runners who are sleeping on their secondary leads. He’s smart behind the dish and his agility back there can mask any shortcomings when it comes to blocking.

Dillon Dingler weaknesses

Offensively, Dingler limped into the end of the season a bit. Could this be due to the advanced competition he faced in Erie? Or simply the gruels and challenges that come with catching for a full season as a professional? Regardless, his .202/.264/.314 line is a stark difference from the .287/.376/.549 line he posted with High-A West Michigan just before the promotion.

If his bat is closer to his Erie showing than his West Michigan showing, his profile likely regresses to more of a backup role at the highest levels.

Our take on Dillon Dingler

Dingler cracked Kiley McDaniel’s recent Top 100 prospect ranking for ESPN+ ($), which would put him higher than the industry consensus. I like to think I’m high on Dingler myself, but he would probably land somewhere in the 100-125 range for me if I was putting together a ranking. I feel Dingler is a realistic everyday regular at the highest levels; a backstop that could be relied on for good defense and some thump for 120-130 games in his prime.

As we alluded to, there is some risk for Dingler to max out as a backup due to some struggles he had offensively toward the end of last season, but thanks to his strong secondary tools at a premium defensive spot, that backup stable is a pretty solid floor for the young backstop.