What is with the infatuation with these two Tigers prospects?

Feb 23, 2024; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers shortstop Eddys Leonard (51) poses for a photo
Feb 23, 2024; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers shortstop Eddys Leonard (51) poses for a photo / Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

There really hasn't been one singular Detroit Tigers player that has been the darling of spring training this year. In 2021, it was Akil Baddoo. In 2018, it was Niko Goodrum. Last season, it was Parker Meadows. This year, there really hasn't been one of those guys. But there are two Tigers prospects that have received some attention from both fans and media alike.

The first is Ryan Kreidler, a 26-year-old infielder who has hit .165 with a .429 OPS in 91 career MLB plate appearances. He has somehow been able to retain in rooke status for the 2024 season despite making his MLB debut in 2022.

Kreidler had a breakout season in the minors in 2021, and because of that, people just can't quit this guy. I've personally never been impressed by him. He's got some pop in his bat, but he also strikes out a ton. He's basically a right-handed Zach McKinstry. Yes, he's been hurt much of the last two years, but we haven't seen anything from him when he's been healthy to suggest that he can be a quality big leaguer.

Then there's Eddys Leonard. He makes more sense as someone fans and media are drawn to, as he's much more of an unproven commodity when compared to Kreidler. He was acquired from the Dodgers in a small trade right before the trade deadline last season after he was designated for assignment. Since he was acquired, he has impressed quite a bit with the bat.

Leonard hits the ball hard. It feels like he hits a laser every time he comes up to bat. He's hitting .379 with a 1.159 OPS in 31 plate appearances this spring. It's easy to see why people would be excited about him.

Defensively, he doesn't really have a long term home. Like Kreidler, he's a shortstop by trade, but he's been playing other positions as well, spending a lot of time in the outfield this spring. His short and stocky build has reminded some folks of former Tiger Jhonny Peralta.

So Leonard makes sense. I don't understand Kreidler, but people still seem high on him as well. What do these two have in common?

They're both shortstops by trade. Who's the Tigers shortstop? Javier Baez, who Tigers fans want thrown off a cliff (not literally, obviously).

Tigers fan are so over Baez, that they will take anyone with a sliver of a chance to replace him. Even it means someone who will produce similar results at the plate.

I get it. I'm pretty jaded about Javy, too. I hated the signing from the get-go. But we're stuck with him. With how much he's getting paid, he's going to get every opportunity to turn his career around. Fans need to come to terms with that. The sooner they do, the happier they will be.

Kreidler is barely an MLB player. I'm very curious to see what Leonard has to offer, but the Dodgers DFA'd him for a reason. I wouldn't get too excited over either of these players. They likely aren't the saviors many want them to be.