Detroit Tigers prospect news: WBC breakout learns stateside assignment

He struck out three very big names in the WBC last year. Now he'll get a chance to take the next step for the Tigers in Lakeland.
Mar 13, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Nicaragua relief pitcher Duque Hebbert (62) delivers a pitch
Mar 13, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Nicaragua relief pitcher Duque Hebbert (62) delivers a pitch / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Duque Hebbert turned heads with his performance in the 2023 World Baseball Classic. The then 21-year-old Nicaraguan right-hander truck out Juan Soto, Julio Rodríguez and Rafael Devers of the powerful Dominican Republic team while a Tigers scout was in attendance.

It apparently wasn't a very long conversatiion with Luis Molina, the Central American scout for the Tigers. Hebbert's signing was announced by the Nicaraguan team shortly after the game, per ESPN's Alden Gonzalez.

After spending time in the Nicaraguan Winter League and the Dominican Summer League, the now 22-year-old earned his first full-season assignment. He will be joining to Low-A Lakeland Flying Tigers in the Florida State League.

Here's a look at just what made him a breakout at the WBC:

Duque Hebbert is an intriguing prospect for the Detroit Tigers

With the Tigers' DSL team last season, Hebbert posted a 4.58 ERA with eight starts and two games finished in 14 total appearances. He struck out 41 and walked just six in 37-1/3 innings. That 6.83 strikeou-to-walk ratio is pretty impressive looking.

According to the ESPN article, Hebbert had only been pitching about a year and a half at the time of his signing. He struggled at the plate as an outfielder before making the change to pitching.

"Hebbert, who also gave up a double to the hot-hitting Machado in his lone inning of work, used mostly low-90s sinkers, mid-80s changeups and low-90s sliders to strike out three of the best hitters in the world," Gonzalez wrote. "Team Nicaragua manager Sandor Guido called it 'extraordinary.'"

It will be interesting to see how Hebbert's stuff translates to his first stateside assignment.

He'll be joining Max Clark as one of the biggest names with the Flying Tigers. Clark was drafted third overall in the 2023 draft and currently ranks as the team's top prospect at MLB Pipeline. He recently made some news for keeping the receipts of his doubters on his cleats.

Infield prospect Kevin McGonigle also calls Lakeland his home after being drafted in 2023. He currently ranks as the team's No. 6 prospect at MLB Pipeline.

Hebbert is currently not ranked.