Detroit Tigers top 30 Prospects for 2023: #5 Justyn-Henry Malloy
Detroit Tigers top 30 prospects for 2023: No.5 - Justyn-Henry Malloy
As we continue working through the Top 30 prospects in the Detroit Tigers organization, we officially break into the top five players. While we've covered plenty of big names, from former first-rounders to unlikely stars, there are plenty of prospects fighting to make it to the big leagues in Detroit's system.
Getting into the top five prospects in the Detroit Tigers system, it's a newcomer at no.5 on the countdown. Justyn-Henry Malloy was acquired via trade from the Atlanta Braves this offseason, with the Tigers trading Joe Jiménez for Malloy and Jake Higginbotham.
For the Tigers, there's got to be a leap of faith in what Malloy can bring to the table in the big leagues. The 22-year-old prospect is a product of Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech's Division I programs and is a former sixth-round pick from the 2021 MLB Draft.
Malloy is an athletic build who's slated to be a third baseman but could easily play left field and slot into a corner outfield. The point is, he's got the athleticism and the versatility to back it up. The 6-foot-3, 212-pound frame could benefit the Tigers moving forward.
In 2022, Malloy played for High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A within the Braves organization. Malloy logged 71 games at the High-A level, accumulating 320 plate appearances while slashing .304/.409/.479 with 16 doubles and ten home runs.
In Double-A, Malloy logged 54 games where he slashed .268/.403/.421 with 190 at-bats. He had 11 doubles and six home runs at the Double-A level. He earned one final promotion to Triple-A, where he played in just eight games and slashed .280/.424/.440 over 25 at-bats in his Triple-A stint in 2022.
The Tigers are pretty certain that he's going to start the year in Triple-A, and with a gaping hole at third base for the Tigers' offense, a strong Spring could warrant him earning a chance at the big leagues. It will be interesting to see how things pan out and if he can settle into the big leagues.
Let's take a look at Malloy's operation in the box.
The right-handed bat has a lot of moving pieces but appeared to quiet things down slightly as he got into the Arizona Fall League. The front foot says with a rocking and rhythmic toe-tap before the load. The hands rotate circularly around the letters under the shoulder.
It's a bit of a lower handset at times, but as he loads, the leg lifts, and he starts an inward move to the ball with his lower half and front side. The hands shift back and get into a position to hit. By the time his foot gets down, he's able to work a very direct path to the ball to drive it.
Frankly, it's a rhythmic and fluid operation when he's on time, but there is room to disrupt timing with a pitcher keen on doing that. But Malloy's path coming out of the load is solid. He's got a good feel for the barrel, and the ability to drive the ball shows on the stat sheet.
On top of that, Malloy fits the narrative that Scott Harris preached about in his opening presser. Being able to control the strike zone, draw walks and make good swing decisions. Malloy's eye and discipline are desirable and something the Tigers should be excited about as he gets settled in with the organization.
Moving forward, I think Malloy will get a chance to perform at the big-league level; just a matter of time. He has the potential to hit at the next level but also needs to prove it against big-league or Triple-A pitching more consistently.
The Tigers could very well see him slotting in as a regular at third if all goes well. Not to say he's the next big piece of the puzzle by any means, but he could very well be an asset to the big league club down the line. Expect Malloy to get his chances, and I think he's got the potential to be a serviceable big leaguer with some juice in the bat.