These 5 prospects stood out in Tigers’ Minor League minicamp

Detroit Tigers

LAKELAND, Fla. — Parker Meadows went back to the center-field fence and made a leaping attempt, his glove stretched over, but he couldn’t reach Jacob Robson’s ninth-inning drive to straightaway center. It was the second of back-to-back ninth-inning home runs Thursday — Andre Lipcius hit the other — and the rain that was falling made it a walk-off, though the final scrimmage of the Tigers’ Minor League minicamp was well in hand already. And the rain picked up enough that many players and coaches went trotting off across the practice fields and into the clubhouse.

Ryan Kreidler hit a three-run homer an inning earlier off Chavez Fernander. Kreidler had seen Fernander enough in this camp to essentially guess what he would throw, which says a lot about how long this three-week camp has seemed and the talent in it.

“Last week he threw me fastball first pitch,” Kreidler said of Fernander, “so I thought maybe slider [this time].”

With more than 60 players, the minicamp was small only in title, and it grouped advanced prospects with much younger talent.

With Thursday’s scrimmage essentially closing the minicamp, now comes an intersection. While most of the younger players will join the full Minor League camp, which begins shortly, a handful of advanced prospects are expected to be part of Major League camp and compete for spots in Detroit, either on the Opening Day roster or as in-season call-ups.

As the transition begins, here are five players beyond the top names who made an impression in minicamp:

1. Cristian Santana, SS
Forget that Santana has yet to play a regular-season game in the United States. Detroit’s record-setting international signing from last year with a $2.95 million bonus, ranked No. 9 on MLB Pipeline’s Tigers prospect list, Santana showed he’s worthy of the hype with a quick bat, advanced plate approach, ample athleticism and potentially stellar defense. He ranged all over the field in Thursday’s scrimmage with a backhanded stop on Lipcius, a diving play to nearly retire Spencer Torkelson and a ranging play on a pop-up behind second base. He also drew a walk on sidearmer Tanner Kohlhepp.

“I told you guys last week he’s a special player,” Kreidler said. “It’s been really, really fun to watch him work. He’s a very confident person. I think people are excited about him for good reason. He’s got what a lot of people like to see in a shortstop. He’s super talented, and he’s got a good head on his shoulders.”

Santana said he felt he has performed well and shown the result of his hard work over the last few years.

“There’s much more to come,” Santana said through a translator Thursday.

2. Beau Brieske, RHP
The Tigers’ 27th-round pick from the 2019 Draft proved, if there were lingering questions, that his Tigers Minor League Pitcher of the Year honor last season was no fluke. The 23-year-old Brieske pitched like someone much more mature, mixing pitches and hitting spots without lighting up radar guns while showing the work he put in on his secondary pitches. Then he struck out five Phillies Minor Leaguers in two innings Tuesday in Clearwater.

“I faced Beau in a few live at-bats on the side, and he’s got some really good stuff,” outfielder Daniel Cabrera said. “He just has so many different ways to get you out. He’s got the fastball he can throw at the top of the zone, bottom of the zone. He has a plus changeup, really good slider that’s hard, sharp.”

Brieske ended last season at Double-A Erie. But he could well end up knocking on Detroit’s door from Triple-A Toledo sooner rather than later if he can build on this momentum.

3. Parker Meadows, OF
A rough 2021 season at High-A West Michigan left Meadows with something to prove. The work he put in with a hitting coach seems to have paid off with a more consistent approach and a chance at more consistent contact, allowing his athleticism to go to work on offense. If the 22-year-old can take those improvements into the regular season, he has a chance to progress up the system and reach Double-A.

“I’m seeing pitches well,” Meadows said last week. “I’m getting my foot down. My timing is where I want to be right now, and I want to keep it there.”

4. Eric De La Rosa, OF
Yes, he sent his bat flying onto a nearby field trying to swing at a pitch from Kohlhepp. But the Tigers’ seventh-round pick from 2018 backed up his breakout 2021 season and showed glimpses of the athleticism that prompted Detroit to draft him that early out of tiny Grossmont College in El Cajon, Calif. He homered and singled Tuesday against the Phillies, hit tough pitching throughout live batting practice — even going opposite field for a single off a nasty curveball from Keider Montero — and made more solid contact for a hit in Thursday’s scrimmage.

“It’s a lot of hard work, coming from the season that I had last year, just proving to the Tigers: I am a guy. I am a dude,” De La Rosa said last week. “So it’s just a lot of hard work paying off.”

5. Keider Montero, RHP
Montero has something to prove after a rough 2021 season at West Michigan, but he showed in minicamp that the high-spin curveball plays. If he can polish up his other offerings and command the fastball, he has a bounceback season in the works.

Articles You May Like

Tigers promote Ryan Garko and Georgia Giblin
Pennsylvania Lottery Online Plays
Royals 8, Tigers 3: Bullpen implosion theater
Royals 8, Tigers 3: A Royally awful afternoon
Has Jack Flaherty rekindled his pitching dominance?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *