DETROIT — Six of the prospects on the Tigers’ Top 30 list will spend April at Fifth Third Field in Toledo, Ohio, while it serves as the club’s alternate training site for baseball’s opening month.
The list does not include top hitting prospects Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene. They’re preparing to open their seasons next month at Class-A West Michigan and Double-A Erie, respectively, and will spend April at the Tigers’ traditional Minor League Spring Training in Lakeland, Fla. Nor does the alternate site include No. 5 prospect Matt Manning, who is stretching out his innings as a starter and will also stay in Lakeland for Minor League camp.
The alternate site is mainly for players who could be called up right away if the need arises. It was all that Major League teams had for Minor League players last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but was revived for the first month or so of this season once the Triple-A season was delayed by a month.
The Tigers’ alternate site roster includes 30 players. Among the notable prospects:
• 3B/2B Isaac Paredes (No. 6 on Tigers prospect list): The 22 year old nearly made the Tigers’ Opening Day roster, meeting manager A.J. Hinch’s challenge by handling second base with solid defense. However, he couldn’t carry over his sweet swing from winter ball to Spring Training, where he slumped after a promising start. Once he gets his timing back at the plate, he should be back in Detroit.
• OF Daz Cameron (No. 11): An elbow injury from winter ball continued to bother him at the start of Spring Training. He got back in the outfield over the final week and made some stellar plays in center, where the Tigers want to see him during Minor League action. He could be the first outfielder called up, but the Tigers already have five outfielders on their 26-man roster.
• C Jake Rogers (No. 16): Defensively, Rogers could step in behind the plate at Comerica Park now. His offense remains the issue coming off a 3-for-22, 10-strikeout Spring Training. He could be on the taxi squad for road trips in April but needs game action to work on his swing.
• 2B Kody Clemens (No. 18): Adding Clemens to the alt site is a big promotion for the second baseman, who has just 13 Minor League games above Class A ball and isn’t on the 40-man roster yet. He more than held his own in 20 Spring Training games and made an impression on Hinch to move up his timetable.
• SS/IF Zack Short (No. 26): What Sergio Alcantara was for the Tigers last year, Short could be for them this year, a versatile infielder who can play above-average defense at multiple positions and provide occasional pop at the plate. “He’s one injury away from being an option for us,” Hinch said.
• RHP Beau Burrows (No. 28): The former first-round pick is expected to stretch out to around 50 pitches, long enough to make him a spot starter if the Tigers are in a pinch but short enough to remain an option in relief.
• RHP Alex Lange: The former first-round pick pitched his way into the Tigers’ potential in-season relief options with a 97 mph fastball and sharp breaking balls. He’ll likely join the Triple-A Mud Hens bullpen when the season starts.
• RHP Logan Shore: Tigers officials like Shore as a swing pitcher. At age 26, this could be the year he makes his big league debut, three years after coming over from the A’s system in the Mike Fiers trade.
• CF Derek Hill: The former first-round pick remains the best defensive center fielder in the Tigers’ organization. Offensively, he continues to work on his swing, going 5-for-22 with six strikeouts in 15 Spring Training games.
• RHP Jason Foley: The hard-throwing right-hander had a strong Spring Training as an extra player from minicamp, but missed time in COVID protocol due to contact tracing. His upper-90s fastball could play in the big leagues eventually.
Also at the alternate site are veteran first baseman Renato Núñez and left-handed reliever Ian Krol. Núñez accepted an assignment to the Minors after the Tigers decided to mix and match at first base. He could be called up if an injury in Detroit creates an opening. Krol’s comeback continues after a strong Spring Training.
The alt site Tigers will play games against similar squads from other organizations, including at Fifth Third Field on April 8 against the Cubs, April 15-16 against the Reds and April 20-23 against the Pirates. Team workouts April 17-18 will be open to fans. Tickets are available through the Mud Hens.