Detroit Tigers top 30 prospects for 2024: #7 Justyn-Henry Malloy

Marching down through the top 10 on our countdown, it's Justyn-Henry Malloy who slots in at seventh overall on the Motor City Bengals countdown of Detroit Tigers prospects.2761

Detroit Tigers outfielder Justyn-Henry Malloy practices during spring training at TigerTown in Lakeland, Fla.
Detroit Tigers outfielder Justyn-Henry Malloy practices during spring training at TigerTown in Lakeland, Fla. / Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

If there's a prospect who had a ton of helium in 2023, it was Justyn-Henry Malloy. He may have been a new face with the Detroit Tigers organization, but he was able to get his feet under him and show flashes of what could be with the Tigers and Malloy.

However, Malloy has much more to offer than shows at the surface, and he's looking to come out in 2024 and prove it. While he got a surprise visit from his mother at Detroit Tigers Spring Training in Lakeland, Fla., he still has a lot of work ahead of him, and this could be a big season for the Tigers prospect.

I'm skeptical about Malloy's upside after 2023, but he did show flashes of what could be. There was some inconsistency that worried me. This also comes after being a bit high on Malloy coming into things, expecting him to be able to churn out quality at-bats and rise to the big leagues.

That being said, in the least joking way possible, I was the high guy and the low guy, so I'm trying to find a middle ground on Malloy. Let's talk about what the former Georgia Tech third baseman could be for this team moving forward and why he clocks in at seventh on our countdown.

Detroit Tigers prospect Justyn-Henry Malloy has a lot to play for.

Frame & Stance

Malloy is a 6-foot-1, 212-pound frame with strength throughout a more lean and athletic build. There's some thickness in the lower half, but the frame looks the part with some athleticism. He's got some muscle throughout, which certainly translates into the batter's box.

He's a right-handed hitter who has a more even base, bent knees, and slightly open feet in his stance. The hands are set around the letters, a bit lower, and there's some bat waggle to the operation. But when it's go-time, he's short and direct to contact.

There's some whip to the hands and tension that he creates to barrel up the ball and do damage. There are makings of a solid operation here, with traits to like. He's shown this throughout the minors since coming to Detroit from Atlanta's farm system.

Stats & Approach

In 2023, Malloy spent the whole summer playing for the Toledo Mud Hens at the Triple-A level. Malloy played in 135 games where he slashed .277/.417/.474 with 25 doubles, a triple, and 23 home runs with 83 runs driven in. He walked 110 times and struck out 152 times on the campaign over 611 plate appearances.

He's passive in the box more than anything. He's more likely to take a strike than chase one. But the passivity has been a problem, and the strikeouts being around 150 in Triple-A could stand to be improved. This could be improved with a slightly less passive approach.

Overall, Malloy's got some juice and there's strength to impact all over the field. He's got some power upside working pull-side specifically, and the 20+ bombs in Triple-A is exciting. It will be interesting to see what happens when he gets to the big leagues, as Malloy's ZiPS projection for 2024 is quite bullish.

Defensive Outlook

Malloy has Scott Harris-favorite written all over him. Not only is he slugging his way through the minors and spitting on bad pitches to find ways on base, but he's versatile as a defender. The issue is that it's not really by choice. Sure, Malloy can play third base and the outfield, but finding a spot for him is a bit tough.

He's unlikely to have the ability to stick at third, and even in the outfield, the defense could be better. His offense is the calling card here and will carry the profile, but he could be moved around the field, and, in turn, versatility will undoubtedly help the profile.

Plus, on top of all this, Malloy is only taking reps in left and right field at Spring Training. He's looking to lock down a spot with Detroit as a corner outfielder, and from the sounds of it, manager A.J. Hinch is on the same page.

Justyn-Henry Malloy's future with the Detroit Tigers

It will be interesting to see what happens this spring. Coming into Spring Training, it felt like Malloy was going to come to camp and look to win a big-league job. But, on the flip side, Colt Keith signed his six-year extension and is likely to snag up a roster spot heading into 2024.

Malloy has a chance, though. He will have to prove himself defensively in the outfield as a left-fielder or provide depth at third base, but Malloy will look to head north with the Tigers' organization. For me, Malloy's likely a platoon bat for the Tigers to rely on.

He has upside for Detroit but has to find ways to tap into it once he gets to the big leagues and finally makes his debut.