The Detroit Tigers already know which prospects are coming up tomorrow
Since tomorrow is Sept. 1, rosters will expand to 28 players. With the two additional spots, the Detroit Tigers will be recalling first baseman Spencer Torkelson and selecting the contract of infielder Ryan Kreidler. Kreidler will have to be added to the 40-man roster, so the team will need to make a corresponding move before tomorrow’s game.
Both of these moves have been speculated upon for the past week or so. Neither Tork nor Kreidler have made a lot of progress down in Toledo, though in Kreidler’s defense, he has been injured on and off all season.
Let’s start with Torkelson, who was sent down on July 17 after an abysmal start to his big league career. The former No. 1 overall pick hit just .197 with a -1.2 bWAR. In 34 games for the Mud Hens, he’s slashing .228/.347/.394 with five home runs. Not exactly a huge improvement overall, but he has slowly started to improve over the past couple of weeks.
I’m not a swing doctor or hitting instructor, but it looks as though his swing path is a bit shorter. Chris McCosky of The Detroit News reported last week that he’s made a slight adjustment with his stance.
Since neither the Tigers nor the Mud Hens are in a playoff race, the organization determined that they had nothing else left to lose and to see if Tork could continue ironing out the kinks at the big league level.
Kreidler is the Detroit Tigers No. 7 prospect according to MLB Pipeline. He was drafted by the Tigers in the fourth round in 2019. His numbers in Toledo aren’t great. He’s slashing .213/.352/.411 with a .763 OPS and a strikeout rate of 29%. But again, he’s missed time this year with a broken hand and has also dealt with a lingering groin issue. It’s hard to get into a groove when you’re injured on and off again.
Here’s what Pipeline has to say about the 24-year-old:
"“Kreidler’s power emerged after he worked with private hitting instructor Doug Latta to simplify his swing and focus on hitting the ball hard. Kreidler keeps his arms close in his stance, then turns quickly on the ball to generate pull power. His strikeout rate rose with his power, but he had tougher at-bats as the season went on, battling his way into walks. While Kreidler’s 6-foot-4 frame makes him big for a shortstop, smart positioning and sure hands allow him to make routine plays consistently. He has enough arm strength to handle third base.”"
Kreidler didn’t always have the power that he now possesses. He never hit for much power in college, but much like his former (and soon-to-be current) teammate Kerry Carpenter, he found success after working with a personal hitting guru.
One other interesting note from A.J. Hinch’s pregame press conference is that a couple of Toledo’s coaches will be joining the Tigers’ staff for the remainder of the season, including hitting coach Adam Melhuse. The word is he’ll specifically be working with Torkelson and Kreidler in the batting cage, and maybe work with others as well. I don’t mean to speculate, but you have to wonder if this is a pseudo-audition for Melhuse to be the Tigers’ hitting coach next season.