Tigers prospects, Rookie of the Year dark horse dominate Keith Law’s Top 10

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In January, the Detroit Tigers put a number to their faith in Colt Keith — $28.6 million — without ever needing to see him play at the major league level. It made him only the seventh player in baseball history to receive an extension before making an MLB debut, joining the Brewers' Jackson Chourio, also extended this offseason, in that club.

Keith is expected to get the most playing time of any Tiger at second base while occasionally slotting in at DH. He won't be the only Tigers rookie out there; Parker Meadows will be joining him and getting the majority of his playing time in center field.

The Tigers will have three veterans taking up the left side of the field — Mark Canha, Gio Urshela, and Javier Báez — and some in the rotation, but otherwise, Detroit is depending on their young players to come through.

Keith Law of The Athletic seems to think that they will (subscription required). He ranked Keith and Meadows Nos. 5 and 6 on his "Top 20 MLB rookies likely to have the biggest impact in 2024" list, above Chourio, Wyatt Langford, Paul Skenes, and even MLB Pipeline's No. 1 prospect Jackson Holliday.

The Athletic predicts big years ahead for Detroit Tigers rookies Colt Keith and Parker Meadows

Meadows made his MLB debut last year, appearing in 37 games as a center fielder and once as a pinch runner. He hit .232/.331/.368, but Law predicts a baseline .250/.340 in 2024, with 30+ doubles and 15 home runs. This might a little lofty, but Meadows did manage to leg out 27 doubles and hit 19 homers in Triple-A over 113 games last year. He adjusted his swing going into 2022 and has made a few more additional tweaks since then, which could lead to some more productivity at the major league level. He also accumulated 4 outs above average during his appearances on defense last year, and his speed is something to look forward to.

For Keith, Law took his praise a step further and called him a "dark-horse Rookie of the Year bet." He projected Keith's defense would look a little rough, but a .280/.350/.460 batting line could be in the cards. If that is the case, then he should absolutely expect Rookie of the Year votes. The job security represented by his extension will also, hopefully, light a fire under him to meet or exceed expectations and live up to his contract. The Tigers need him to.