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Detroit Tigers: West Michigan Infield Projections (6)
- Luis Carpio – A native of Venezuela, Carpio signed with the New York Mets when he was just 16, and he spent the next eight years in their system. He was viewed as a legitimate prospect early in his career, but he was always more of a grinder than a toolshed, and he’s a career .246/.327/.344 hitter. He’s a solid defender though, and we have him as Erie’s opening-day second baseman, though he can slide to shortstop or third base if needed.
- Jake Holton – As a 10th-round first baseman with fringe-average raw power, Jake Holton has never been viewed as a priority prospect, but he may have raised some eyebrows with his performance last year. He posted an .836 OPS in 45 games at Low-A Lakeland, but then he jumped up to West Michigan for 30 games and raised his OPS 90 points while cutting his strikeout rate by 4%.
- Andre Lipcius – Andre Lipcius slipped into the back of our top 20 prospects list because he offers a solid mix of defense, hitting ability, and patience. He quickly hit his way out of West Michigan last year and he was passable for 94 games in Erie (90 wRC+). He may very well get pushed to Toledo out of necessity (lots of potential Mud Hens infielders are on the Detroit Tigers 40-man roster), but we think he fits best as the starting third baseman in Erie.
- Andrew Navigato – Navigato seemed like a glove-first infielder when the Tigers drafted him in the 20th round in 2019, but he proved surprisingly solid with the bat last year, posting a .741 OPS while climbing three levels and playing four different positions. He’s one of a handful of super utility types who could start at just about any level in 2022.
- John Valente – Another of those super utility types, John Valente falls out of bed and hits .300. He batted .352 over four years in college, and he owns a career .314 batting average in three minor-league seasons. He spent 66 games in Erie last year, batting .301/.363/.445 while playing five positions, and we think he may return to the SeaWolves again this year.
- Gage Workman – Few Detroit Tigers prospects can match Gage Workman’s raw power, and he also happens to be an average runner with a chance to be an above-average defender on the left side of the infield. The big question mark with Workman is his hit tool — his .237/.302/.440 line and 34% strikeout rate in High-A West Michigan don’t exactly scream promotion, but he seemed to make some strong adjustments down the stretch. He struggled to a .522 OPS and 40% strikeout rate over his first 23 games with the Whitecaps, but then hit .266/.344/.513 and dropped his K-rate by 10% over his final 45 contests. Erie will be a challenge for him, but we think Workman is their opening-day shortstop.