Detroit Tigers: Watch out for this prospect in spring training

Tigers infielder Colt Keith runs to the next drill during spring training on Monday, Feb. 20, 2023,
Tigers infielder Colt Keith runs to the next drill during spring training on Monday, Feb. 20, 2023, / Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Detroit Tigers have one prospect already turning heads in spring training

The Detroit Tigers didn't invite a ton of prospects to spring training. They have a lot of young, fringe players that need to get a look on the major league team before they can take a good, long look at some of their prospects. But one prospect is already making a lasting impression.

That prospect would be none other than 21-year-old Colt Keith. Keith, our pick for the No. 1 prospect in the Detroit Tigers farm system, has already been turning some heads in camp, and they haven't even played any games yet.

Earlier this afternoon, Keith had a couple of nice at-bats during live batting practice against Matt Manning, per several Detroit Tigers beat writers. Cody Stavenhagen of The Athletic noted that Keith took Manning deep the first AB off a hanging breaking ball, then Evan Petzold of The Detroit Free Press posted this video of him hitting a line drive to right field in the second AB.

Keith is ths youngest player in big league camp, but you wouldn't be able to tell by this at-bat. He clearly has a very mature approach at the plate. Even against big league pitching, he's able to stay patient and wait for his pitch. Obviusly live BP is a lot different than an actual game, but this is still really promising stuff from Keith.

This does begin to beg the question: can Colt Keith crack the big league roster with a strong spring? It's certainly possible. He hasn't played above High-A, but neither had Akil Baddoo, and he made it with a whale of a spring in 2021.

Keith also played in the Arizona Fall League, where there is some fierce competition. All he did was rake, slashing .344/.463/.541 with three home runs in 80 plate appearances, including this 459-foot blast.

The big question mark with him has been his defense. Can he stick at third base long term? In a recent interview with Woodward Tigers, he said he dropped some weight this offseason in order to become a little more agile. He also worked a lot on his defense.

With all of that being said, A.J. Hinch has already told him that he will not make the Opening Day roster, per Petzold. It makes sense, and it's probably smart in terms of development. But it sure would have been fun to see him make the team out of spring.

However, there is still a chance that we could see Keith in the majors at some point this season. He's probably going to start the season in Double-A. If he continues to mash in the minors, he just might force the issue. At the very least, a cup of coffee in September is not out of the question.

Even though Keith won't head north with the Tigers next month, fans should still keep their eyes on him. He's the best prospect in the Tigers system right now, and he might be closer to the big leagues than you think.

4 players who won't be on the Detroit Tigers roster by the end of 2023. dark. Next