The Detroit Tigers announced Friday the rosters for the alternate training site in Toledo, Ohio, and minor-league spring training in Lakeland, Florida. These locations will feature some of the team’s top prospects, including infielder Spencer Torkelson, outfielder Riley Greene and right-hander Matt Manning.
The alternate training camp at Fifth Third Field will be utilized through April because the Triple-A season doesn’t start until May 4. At that time, players at spring training in Lakeland will break for their minor-league teams.
Manning seems destined for Triple-A Toledo, with Greene at Double-A Erie and Torkelson at High-A West Michigan. Manning is expected to make his MLB debut midway through the 2021 season if he performs well in the minors.
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The 23-year-old, drafted No. 9 overall in 2016, is being kept in Lakeland to build up his innings after getting shut down last year with a right forearm strain. He didn’t pitch more than two innings per outing in spring training. Torkelson and Greene are joining him in Lakeland for minors camp.
At the alternate training site, the Tigers will closely watch the developments of infielders Isaac Paredes and Renato Nunez. They’re both expected to play in the majors this season, assuming Paredes finds consistency at the plate and Nunez improves defensively at first base. Catcher Jake Rogers can get back to Comerica Park with competitive at-bats with Toledo.
The field staff running the alternate camp combines the efforts of Tom Prince, Dan Hubbs, Mike Hessman, CJ Wamsley, Gary Cathcart, Mike Alvarez and Rafael Gil.
Utility infielder Zack Short is starting in Toledo and could make his MLB debut this year. Manager AJ Hinch said Short is “one injury away from being an option for us” to call up to the big leagues. He can play second base, shortstop and third base. Pitchers Alex Lange and Logan Shore could be called up, too, general manager Al Avila said.
Second baseman Kody Clemens, who picked up the first baseman’s glove in spring training, is traveling to Toledo. Hinch was impressed with his “high baseball IQ” in camp and thinks he could rise faster than the initial expectations. “He can absolutely do it,” Hinch said about first base. “To me, it’s our obligation to open avenues for guys to make the big leagues.”
Because the Tigers have a logjam in the outfield, considering the offseason additions of Robbie Grossman, Nomar Mazara and Akil Baddoo (Rule 5 draft pick), it’s unclear if outfielder Daz Cameron — received in the 2017 Justin Verlander trade — will return to the majors after a brief stint in 2020. He sustained an elbow injury in Puerto Rico this winter but is back to full health.
“We like him on the corner outfield,” Hinch said about Cameron. “(But) he’s got history as a center fielder. We know probably the best center fielder down there is Derek Hill, but that doesn’t mean Derek Hill doesn’t need to be in left field or right field on occasions. The multiple position focus is going to be for virtually everybody at the alt site.”
Hinch promised Hill, the No. 23 overall pick in 2014, playing time in the majors this season. “The adjustments he’s made at the plate have been noted. His defense has been excellent,” Hinch said. “I told him he’s going to play for us, just not out of the chute.”
Here’s the 2021 alternate training site roster, with MLB Pipeline’s top 30 prospect rankings:
Pitchers (16): Nolan Blackwood, Beau Burrows (No. 28), Drew Carlton, Ethan DeCaster, Miguel Del Pozo, Jason Foley, Kyle Funkhouser, Drew Hutchison, Joe Jimenez, Ian Krol, Alex Lange, Andrew Moore, Wladimir Pinto, Erasmo Ramirez, Robbie Ross, Logan Shore.
Catchers (3): Dustin Garneau, Eric Haase, Jake Rogers.
Infielders (7): Kody Clemens (No. 18), Renato Nunez, Isaac Paredes (No. 6), Danny Pinero, Brady Policelli, Aderlin Rodriguez, Zack Short (No. 26).
Outfielders (4): Daz Cameron (No. 11), Derek Hill, Jacob Robson, Danny Woodrow.
Back in Lakeland, the Tigers are set to train 142 players. Left-hander Joey Wentz will continue his rehabilitation from Tommy John surgery. He is making steady progress and could make his MLB debut this year, Avila said.
Right-hander Franklin Perez, included in the Verlander deal, needs to make boost his fastball velocity (at 89-90 mph in big-league camp) and pinpoint his command. Once May comes around, he is going to pitch in live games. Since he was traded to the Tigers, the 23-year-old has only appeared in 27 innings across nine games. Injuries kept him sidelined for most of the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
A few key international signings will be stateside, as well, including outfielders Roberto Campos, Jose De La Cruz and Carlos Pelegrin and infielder Adinso Reyes. Pelegrin, 20, signed with the Tigers in January for $550,000. Campos signed for $2.85 million in July 2019.
Other rising prospects in Lakeland include catcher Dillon Dingler, outfielder Daniel Cabrera and outfielder Parker Meadows. Along with Torkelson, Dingler and Cabrera, the remaining three 2020 draft picks will be in town: shortstop Trei Cruz, third baseman Gage Workman and third baseman Colt Keith.
Here is the 2021 minor-league spring training roster, with prospect rankings:
Pitchers (76): Jose Appleton, Gio Arriera, Brad Bass, Adolfo Bauza, Matt Beattie, Austin Bergner, Michael Bienlien, Beau Brieske, YaYa Chentouf, Josh Coburn, Cale Coshow, Nick Davila, Angel De Jesus, Isrrael De La Cruz, Sandel De La Cruz, Luis De Leon, Jack Dellinger, Daniele Di Monte, Jose Diaz, Rodolfo Fajardo, Wilmer Fenelon, Chavez Fernander, Wilmer Flores, Rony Garcia, Ruben Garcia, Dario Gardea, Max Green, Carlos Guzman, Zack Hess (No. 29), Garrett Hill, Zac Houston, Xavier Javier, Marco Jimenez, Sam Kessler, Carson King, Chance Kirby, AJ Ladwig, Mark Leiter, Billy Escher, Andrew Magno, Matt Manning (No. 5), Brad Markey, Henry Martinez, Chris Mauloni, David McKay, Keider Montero, Gerson Moreno, Williander Moreno, Joe Navilhon, Jack O’Loughlin, Pedro Payano, Wily Peralta, Cleiverth Perez, Franklin Perez (No. 17), Erick Pinales, Ricardo Pinto, Angel Reyes, Paul Richan, Nick Richmond, Elvin Rodriguez, Jesus Rodriguez, Joseph Salazar, Gabe Sequeira, Zac Shepherd, Hugh Smith, Luke Sommerfeld, Locke St. John, Ted Stuka, Bryce Tassin, Jared Tobey, Cristhian Tortosa, Matt Walker, Robbie Welhaf, Joey Wentz (No. 9), Brendan White, Adam Wolf.
Catchers (12): Eliezer Alfonzo, Juan Centeno, Daneurys De La Cruz, Dillon Dingler (No. 7), Cordell Dunn, Cooper Johnson, Cole MacLaren, Sam McMillan, Chris Proctor, Yoandy Rea, Jon Rosoff, Eduardo Valencia.
Infielders (33): Nick Ames, Jeremiah Burks, Cesar Calderon, Trei Cruz (No. 19), Griffin Det, Alvaro Gonzalez, Yariel Gonzalez, Jake Holton, Carlos Irigoyen, Corey Joyce, Colt Keith (No. 20), Jack Kenley, Jimmy Kerr, Jose King, Ryan Kreidler (No. 27), Luis Laurencio, Josh Lester, Andre Lipcius, Pedro Martinez, Dane Myers, Andrew Navigato, Wenceel Perez (No. 23), Cole Peterson, Nick Quintana (No. 30), Adinso Reyes (No. 22), Rey Rivera, Manuel Sequera, AJ Simcox, Spencer Torkelson (No. 1), John Valente, Drew Ward, Gage Workman (No. 14), Cole Zabowski.
Outfielders (21): Ulrich Bojarski, Daniel Cabrera (No. 8), Roberto Campos (No. 13), Kerry Carpenter, Jose De La Cruz (No. 21), Eric De La Rosa, Dayton Dugas, Trevin Esquerra, Cam Gibson, Riley Greene (No. 3), Reece Hampton, Austin Langworthy, Kingston Liniak, Parker Meadows (No. 10), Bryant Packard (No. 25), Carlos Pelegrin, Connor Perry, DJ Poteet, Kona Quiggle, Danny Reyes, Dylan Rosa.