Detroit Tigers Top 30 Prospects for 2023: #15 Peyton Graham

Oklahoma's Peyton Graham (20) runs home after hitting a home run in the fourth inning of a Bedlam-filled matchup between the Sooners and Cowboys.
Oklahoma's Peyton Graham (20) runs home after hitting a home run in the fourth inning of a Bedlam-filled matchup between the Sooners and Cowboys. / BRYAN TERRY/THE OKLAHOMAN via Imagn

Detroit Tigers Top 30 prospects for 2023: No.15 - Peyton Graham

The Detroit Tigers invested in college bats last summer during the 2022 MLB Draft. One of the more exciting collegiate bats they brought in was shortstop/third baseman Peyton Graham from the Oklahoma Sooners program.

The Detroit Tigers also grabbed shortstop Danny Serretti out of UNC this summer, but Graham projects to have a better future as things stand. Graham comes in at no. 15 on the Motor City Bengals Top 30 list heading into 2023.

Graham was selected in the second round, and the 22-year-old is a toolsy addition to the Tigers farm system. He's listed as a shortstop, third baseman, and outfielder on his Baseball-Reference page, but he made 66 starts at shortstop for the Sooners in 2022.

With his athletic frame, listed at 6-foot-3, 185-pounds, he could very well slot into an outfield position if needed. But with the current state of the organization, he's the best fit to keep working through the organization as a shortstop, as is the plan.

Graham played in 67 games with the Sooners in 2022, where he slashed .335/.417/.640 with 17 doubles, four triples, and 20 home runs with 71 RBI. He drew 28 walks while striking out just 69 times over 326 plate appearances.

He also found some playing time in Single-A with the Lakeland Flying Tigers in 2022, getting his feet wet with affiliate ball. He played in 27 games where he logged 100 at-bats even. Graham slashed .270/.345/.370 with seven extra-base hits and 13 RBI. The punchouts were a bit high at 29, but he's in a great position going into the 2023 season.

He's easily in position to be the sleeper pick of the Tigers' 2022 MLB Draft class. As mentioned, the desirable frame is a key here. He's going to get with a big league strength and conditioning coach and continue to shape his build for the left side of the infield. At 22 years old, the frame will not change much, but it's still desirable.

Graham's defense looks the part at short. He has soft hands and a clean funnel into his throws, something he'll continue to polish as he moves through the organization. My only worry is that the Tigers have Javier Báez, so having an up-and-coming shortstop is not likely to oust Báez, which is why fans are seeing Ryan Kreidler play more third than shortstop. But, the versatility Graham has shown could pay off down the line.

Let's talk hitting. The feet start slightly open with a bat waggle up high and the back elbow up. His hands are at shoulder level with the weight back and a bend in the back knee. As he loads up, the weight gets deep in the stance as the hands move back as well, and the barrel gets a slight wrap to it.

He's got a quick inward toe-tap trigger to get on time. He clears the front side and opens up the hips well; the hands do the work often if you watch his swings. He's quick to the ball with a direct path. Once the hands move back in the load, it's a direct move to the ball with the barrel. Something that should bode well for his success through the minors.

He's got some juice in that wiry frame with strength at impact. There's speed out of the box and on the bases, making him a truly toolsy player. The Tigers may have lucked into one with Graham. He's got to show he can adjust in his first full season in the organization, but I like his odds.

He's a player that could very well climb the Top-30 list by the end of the year with a good performance. He projects as a big-league hitter for sure; the question is where he will play. He's versatile and projects as a shortstop, but there's a chance that positional logjams move him around.

Either way, Tigers fans should have Graham on their list of prospects to keep an eye on in 2023.

Next. No. 16 - Dylan Smith. dark