The 2022 season has been a tough one for the Detroit Tigers but there has been some bright spots down in the farm system. After doing some research, I’m here to tell you five players who are having strong 2022 minor-league seasons for the Detroit Tigers.
5. Josh Crouch, 23-year-old catcher, West Michigan Whitecaps
Crouch is the No. 30 ranked prospect in the Detroit Tigers organization according to MLB Pipeline as the 23-year-old was the 11th round pick of the Detroit Tigers in the 2021 MLB draft. 2022 had been a strong year for Crouch in Lakeland, where he posted an .836 OPS in limited at-bats. Now in West Michigan, Crouch has posted an .846 OPS in 276 at-bats. Crouch has 32 walks and just 45 strikeouts—an impressive feat, especially for a catcher. While Crouch may not be the starting catcher for the Tigers in a couple years, he certainly has performed well in 2022 and could be the backup to Dillon Dingler in the future ,or if he continues to hit, maybe he could very well position himself to be the starting catcher in Detroit one day.
4. Wenceel Perez, 22-year-old second baseman, Erie Seawolves
Perez was signed on July 2, 2016, by Detroit Tigers and the 22-year-old switch-hitter has had a breakout year for the Erie Seawolves in 2022. After posting an .893 OPS in 206 at bats in West Michigan, Perez was called up to Erie and has performed even better. Perez has posted a .914 OPS in150 at-bats, hitting five homeruns and slugging .540. Perez will likely be a second basemen in the major leagues and while his defense may not be the best, he is showing that he can be at least a utility player at the MLB level with a player comparison of Ramon Santiago coming to mind.
3. Colt Keith, 21-year-old third basemen, West Michigan Whitecaps
Colt Keith is the No. 6 ranked prospect for the Detroit Tigers and the fifth-round pick from the 2020 MLB Draft is proving to be a steal so far in his early MiLB career. The left-handed hitting third baseman has spent his entire season in West Michigan, posting a .914 while slugging nine homeruns. Unfortunately, he suffered a freak shoulder injury while sliding into second base and will miss the rest of the season. The hope is that he’ll be ready for the Arizona Fall League. Keith is just 21 years old, and his ETA is 2024. While the Tigers have some time with the third basemen, they are hoping he can be the future of their infield and so far, the results have been promising in his early career.
2. Ty Madden, 22-year-old RHP, Erie Seawolves
Ty Madden, the Tigers’ fourth ranked prospect could be the steal of the 2021 MLB draft for the Tigers. Selected 32nd overall, the 22-year-old had a strong season in 2022 for West Michigan, posting a 3.10 ERA in 87 innings pitched and holding batters to just a .212 average. In16 innings at AA, Madden has pitched to a 2.81 ERA, striking out 20 batters. Madden is still a few years away from the MLB, but as a pitcher who fell in the 2021 MLB draft, he’s looking like a middle of the rotation pitcher in the future and for the Detroit Tigers, a team that brought pitchers like Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal through the organization quickly, we could see Madden sooner rather than later.
1. Wilmer Flores, 21-year-old RHP, Erie Seawolves
Not that Wilmer Flores, surprisingly. I don’t think many Tigers fans even heard of Wilmer Flores until this season, but now he is the third ranked prospect in the Detroit Tigers organization and has had an unbelievable year in 2022. In Double-A, Flores has posted a 2.19 ERA in 65 innings pitched, striking out 74 batters with a WHIP at 1.02. He was dominant earlier in the season at West Michigan, striking out 35 batters in 19 innings pitched. MLB Pipeline has given Flores a 60-grade for his fastball and his curveball a 60 as well. The 21-year-old has an ETA of 2023, and while the lack of a third pitch remains a concern for Flores, his high spin-rate curveball and his high velocity fastball should carve him a path to the Detroit Tigers starting rotation one day.