Detroit Tigers Top 30 Prospects for 2023: 30-26
28. Luke Gold
Gold is one of the fresher prospects in the system; a fifth-round pick in 2022 out of Boston College. The righty checks in at 6'0, 220 lbs and has split time evenly between second base and third base in his brief pro career thus far, although he played primarily second in college. In 19 total pro games, Gold hit .200/.321/.231 between rookie ball and Lakeland.
Scouts believe Gold is an offense-first profile, a different type of player the Tigers are traditionally known for. It's contact over power generally, although Gold's 9 home runs across 53 games in 2022 does suggest there is some juice in his bat despite still looking for his first pro homer. Gold struck out just 28 times in 53 games for BC but his strikeout rate did creep up in pro ball (19 strikeouts in 22 games).
The Tigers have built some solid organizational depth at second with Jace Jung and Wenceel Perez--Gold has the potential to join their ranks with a strong first full season.
27. Luis Garcia
Garcia is a former top 100 prospect according to Baseball America (2019) and was a late-season waiver claim by the Tigers after designating RHP Michael Pineda for assignment. Garcia is a middle infielder who split time fairly evenly between second base and shortstop in his time with the Phillies. The switch-hitting Garcia appeared in just four games in the Tigers' organization following the claim--all of which were with the Erie Seawolves.
Garcia will play his entire 2023 season as a 22-year-old and figures to reach Triple-A Toledo with a strong showing in Erie first (he has just 10 Double-A games of experience, total thus far). Garcia has averaged over a strikeout per game in both 2021 and 2022; a stat the organization will surely look to taper. Still, he's taken over 100 walks over the past two seasons, an impressive feat considering his 2022 season was just 59 games.
Garcia could very well end up filling the Dawel Lugo or Willi Castro-type role, but that's a much easier pill to swallow when he was acquired for nothing.
26. Trei Cruz
Cruz is a 2020 third-round selection that has moved around the infield thus far in his pro career, but his development has been far from linear. 2021 included a demotion and a rough batting line: .161/.338/.268 with just two home runs in 63 games. Cruz rebounded a bit, though, and posted strong enough numbers to earn a nod to Double-A toward the end of 2022, followed by a solid .271/.360/.346 line in winter ball.
Despite Cruz playing almost exclusively shortstop and third base, I feel he's ultimately destined for second base due to a lack of arm strength in my viewings. However, there's no harm in making a more premium position work. Given his versatility, it might be challenging to get him his repetitions there depending on the construction of the rest of the roster.
As is the case with many twitchy, young infielders, Cruz's heights depend on his offense. If he can hit, they will find a spot for him in Detroit.