Detroit Tigers prospect Justyn-Henry Malloy has a high ceiling.
The Detroit Tigers may not have been the busiest during Winter Meetings. But they capped things off with a busy night on Wednesday. Besides the Winter Meetings where the Tigers opted to bring in a right-handed starter during the MLB portion of the Rule 5 Draft and a right-handed reliever during the minor league portion of it.
On top of that, the Detroit Tigers pulled the trigger on a Joe Jiménez trade with the Atlanta Braves. In return, they got third base/outfielder Justyn-Henry Malloy and left-handed reliever Jake Higginbotham.
The initial thoughts on the Tigers' return seemed a bit puzzling. But the Tigers did a good job getting something for Jiménez with value. The Braves fanbase seemed to be livid. It was justified by some as a casualty of war, being someone the Braves had to part ways with to keep competing.
Malloy may not be on the 40-man, buying the Tigers some time for him to get to Detroit. After all, he is slated to make his Tigers organization debut with the Toledo Mud Hens in 2023. He has a chance to play third base or spend time in the outfield for the Tigers organization, boding well for the long run.
When it comes to the reason Malloy was a target of Scott Harris and company, he fits the build entirely. Harris has his three fundamental pillars of Tigers baseball, and Malloy is the type of player who fits pillar number three.
Malloy is known for his ability to control the strike zone. Between getting pitches to hit, doing damage, and laying off chase pitches, he can have success. He has things to work on, but one thing Malloy can do is put good swings on pitches and collect barrels.
Let's take a look into the Detroit Tigers new prospect.
Below are some clips of Malloy going deep courtesy of our friends over at Tigers Minor League Report. The 22-year-old has some pop in his bat. He advanced through three levels of the minors in 2022, totaling 133 games played. He slashed .289/.408/.454 with 28 doubles and 17 home runs with 81 RBI.
Malloy swings it from the right side and has a knack for producing line drives and being able to get on plane with pitches to work them all over the field. There is room to improve with in-zone whiffs and the ability to control the outer half of the plate with more intent. Malloy can learn all these things in due time with the Tigers organization.
Breaking things down a bit further, Malloy is a right-handed bat with a 6-foot-2, 212-pound frame. He starts with a lot of hand movement and a bit of a toe tap. The hands stay closer to the letters, with his bat waggle ongoing before he gets set.
As he gets set, he uses a leg lift and coils easily seen in the lower half. The hands get deeper and into a position to hit. He gets the hands to the zone quickly and has a compact stroke with respect to his hands and swing path.
The hands are quick and adjust well as needed. e has a two-handed finish with some strength showing as he uncoils and rotates through contact. The upside with the swing is there; it's piecing things together with his approach and intent at the plate.
As previously mentioned, Malloy controls the zone well, with a good feel for the strike zone. He is able to drive the ball to all fields; if he can find success in Triple-A in 2023 and stick, he's going to get his chance to better his approach and intent at the plate.
On top of all of this, Malloy was likened to Curtis Granderson in terms of his personality. According to a Tweet from David Laurila, there's a chance the Tigers are bringing an all-time personality to the organization. Laurila linked a Fangraphs Audio piece that Malloy did, likening him to a Tigers fan-favorite of the past.
The point is the ceiling is quite high. The Tigers got a great prospect in return for Jiménez. He has time to develop and has tools that should make him an intriguing player to watch. I'd like to see him go on a tear next Spring with Toledo and really show some improvement in making the most of his at-bats and showing more intent in the batters' box.