The Detroit Tigers have two top 10 prospects on the move
While yesterday was the trade deadline, the news didn’t stop there for the Detroit Tigers. Shortly after their 5-3 win over the Minnesota Twins, they announced that four minor league prospects were being promoted.
The promotions were as follows: SS Izaac Pacheco (No. 6 Tigers prospect according to MLB Pipeline) goes from Low-A Lakeland to High-A West Michigan, RHP Ty Madden (No. 4) goes from High-A West Michigan to Double-A Erie, RHP Austin Bergner (No. 25) goes from Double-A Erie to Triple-A Toledo, and INF Andre Lipcius (No. 20) goes from Double-A Erie to Triple-A Toledo.
Pacheco was the team’s second-round pick in last year’s draft. He got off to a rough start this season, but has gotten better as the season has gone on. He’s slashed .267/.342/.415 with a .757 OPS in 88 games with the Flying Tigers. He also rocked a solid 118 wRC+. He’s shown the ability to hit to all fields, which is impressive for a 19-year-old.
The one thing that’s dragged Pacheco down so far is his defense, which has been pretty atrocious no matter where he’s played. He had eight errors in just 18 games at shortstop, then the Tigers moved him to third base, where he had 10 errors in 63 games. He’s also DH’d a bit. A move to the outfield at some point is not out of the question.
Ty Madden was the team’s competitive balance-round A pick in last year’s draft. He was a projected top 10 pick that fell all the way to pick 32 due to concerns about his long term viability as a starter. The Tigers swooped in and gave him an overslot $2.5 million signing bonus.
The Tigers have been working with him get him to use his fastball up in the zone more, and so far it’s worked out pretty well. In 19 starts for the Whitecaps, he had a 3.10 ERA with 84 strikeouts in 87 innings pitched. Perhaps most importantly, he walked just 2.69 batters per nine.
He has a tendency to get hit a bit, but that’s bound to happen when you hang around the zone as much as Madden has. His velocity has ticked up a bit as the season has gone on, currently sitting 93-95 while topping out at 97 most of the time. He hit 99 mph on the radar gun in a start last month.
Bergner was the Tigers 9th round pick in the 2019 draft. He got off to a rough start in pro ball with some ugly numbers in rookie and A-ball. But he figured something out during the time he missed in 2020 due to the pandemic, because he was much improved in High-A last season. He had 2.90 ERA with a K/9 of 11.6.
He’s been great in Double-A this season with a 2.38 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 90.2 innings pitched. One of the more interesting and impressive things about him is that he strands baserunners at a 87.3% clip. When runners reach base against him, they usually don’t come around to score.
Bergner is 25 years old, so he’s a bit older than some of the competition he’s faced. He also lacks a consistent breaking pitch. He’s been primarily fastball/changeup. He’s been working on a slider and has a slow curveball that he’s mixed in from time to time. That slider will probably determine his role at the next level.
Last but not least, Lipcius was the Tigers third rounder in 2019. What’s always been interesting about him is his plate discipline, but he still struck out a good deal. That has changed in 2022, as he has walked more (61) than he has struck out (56).
He slashed .264/.392/.429 with an .818 OPS with the SeaWolves. He also had a 128 wRC+. He’s always been more of a doubles guy than a homers guy, with 22 doubles and 12 homers last year and 20 doubles and nine homers so far this year.
Defensively, the Tigers have moved him all around the infield. He’s played mostly second and third base, but has also had short stints at first base and shortstop.
Lipcius’ plate discipline has always served him well, and should continue to do so in Triple-A. The 24-year-old has become a prospect that Detroit Tigers fans should keep their eyes on.