Detroit Tigers prospect Dillon Dingler is 17th on the Top 30 list.
The Detroit Tigers have much to look forward to in their farm system. I'm trying to be optimistic here. But it feels like some of the players who have been around are either carving out their futures or fluttering out, and the new wave of talent has the upside to be excited about.
One of the Detroit Tigers' prospects who has been with the organization for some time now is Dillon Dingler. He was a 2020 MLB Draft pick, being the team's second-rounder, opening up day two of the draft after the Tigers took Spencer Torkelson first overall.
Dingler, the former Ohio State Buckeyes prospect, was a catcher/outfielder in his collegiate days with a ton to like about him. He was an uber-athletic backstop, hence being able to play centerfield as well. However, Dingler battled some adversity in the Tigers' organization on his road to Detroit in the form of injuries.
He's still got some work to do, but 2024 could be a big season for him, especially with a lack of depth behind the dish in the big leagues. Sorry, Jake Rogers, but a breakout year in 2023 is not enough for me to stamp him as our backstop for years to come. But we're here to talk about Dingler, so let's get down to it.
Frame/Body & Hitting
Dingler is a 6-foot-3, 210-pound frame who has put on some more mass during his time with the Tigers. He may have committed to his job behind the dish, but he still has the athleticism in the frame; it's just a more sturdy build than when he was drafted. But that's okay; he's improved things and has a chance to keep doing so as he advances through the system.
His defense has its upside, which we'll get to, but the bat is what carries the profile; it's supposed to, at least. Dingler has to keep showing upside with the bat throughout levels of the Tigers organization, but we'll talk about that later as well. For now, let's talk about stance and swing mechanics.
Dingler's a right-handed hitter with a slightly open stance with his feet spread and hands up high, his weight favoring the back leg. As he loads up, it's a bigger leg lift, closing up with some coil, and his hands stay deeper before he makes his move to work through contact.
The swing path is good, and he has a feel for the barrel, staying connected in the swing and working through contact well. Dingler's got upside with the stick, but he can swing over the top of pitches or just make poor choices with the bat sometimes, which is the knock on him.
Overall, he's able to produce lift and has a pretty clean stroke. He's short to it and long through it, which translates to success. Ask your local Twitter-hitting gurus what they think, but it's a recipe for success. Dingler has upside and can impact the ball well, but he has to keep proving this along the way.
The "knock" on Detroit Tigers prospect Dillon Dingler:
Dingler can swing it, but his numbers in Triple-A in 2023 could have been better. After earning his first look at Triple-A ball with the Toledo Mud Hens, he played in 26 games where he slashed .202/.266/.384 with 11 extra-base hits and just eight walks to 34 punchouts.
This comes after he played most of the year with Double-A Erie after a short stint in Single-A Lakeland while returning to the field after rehabbing from injury. In 51 games with the SeaWolves, he slashed .253/.372/.462 with 20 extra-base hits and 41 runs driven in. He walked 27 times and struck out 63 times.
The point here is that the extra-base hits are there, and he can drive the ball well, but he expands the zone too often. Poor swing decisions and a lack of discipline are the knock on Dingler. Those punchout numbers need to come down, and in 2024, he can hope to do this as he'll get another chance to prove himself at the Triple-A level, most likely.
To keep things short and sweet with Dingler's abilities behind the dish, they have gotten better. They were shaky in terms of receiving and ability to manage games, but he has been able to improve on that quite well. Dingler has excelled with his throwing since he was drafted, and that's never been an issue.
There's arm strength and the ability to cut down opposing runners on stolen base attempts. The athleticism helps with his blocking, and the receiving has gotten better. Frankly, his abilities behind the dish have improved a ton. He can manage a staff and handle a game much better than he could in the past. Once again, the upside for him is there.
For a player who's been around Detroit's organization for several years, battled some injuries, and has a chance to take the next step. In 2024, cutting down the punchouts and cementing himself as the next man up behind the plate would be a victory. He still has plenty of upside with the Tigers organization.
Even if he's on the backend of the top 20 prospects in our Top 30 list, he has a chance to impact this Tigers team down the line. It's up to Dingler, and in 2024, he has to show improvements at the plate; that's the next step for him to move closer to the big leagues.