Tigers select RHP Mason Englert in the Rule 5 draft

Bless You Boys

With the fifth pick in the Rule 5 draft after the Kansas City Royals declined to clear a spot on their 40-man roster, the Detroit Tigers have selected RHP Mason Englert. The right-hander was drafted out of high school by the Texas Rangers in the fourth round of the 2018 amateur draft, but early injuries slowed his development, and he didn’t advance quickly enough to be protected on their 40-man roster.

In the minor league portion of the draft, the Tigers selected former Houston Astros prospect, right-handed reliever Layne Henderson. They did lose outfielder Dane Myers in the minor league phase to the Miami Marlins, but no players were selected from the Tigers in the major league portion.

Englert makes a good deal of sense. Drafted as a prep pitcher, the now 23-year-old underwent Tommy John surgery and didn’t make his regular pro debut until 2021, three years after he was drafted. Already a project, Englert’s delayed career ate up several years of protection from Rule 5 eligibility, and he only reached the Double-A level late in the 2022 minor league season. He has a deep enough arsenal to start and could move quickly into a depth starter role. FanGraphs listed him as the Rangers 22nd best prospect in their mid-season farm system rankings.

Listed at six-foot, four inches and weighing 206 pounds, Englert may have a bit of projection left, though his fastball already tops out at 95 mph. He leads with a tailing sinker and a slider with pretty good sweep. Look for the Tigers to try and accentuate the horizontal action on that pitch. Englert has a pretty good developing changeup and curveball in his back pocket. Considering his lack of experience, he has pretty good command of his four pitch mix from a simple, compact delivery and a low three-quarters arm slot.

Englert finished the season strong, posting a 1.82 ERA in four starts in August before jumping to Double-A to finish the year. Considering he’ll have to be on the roster all year in order for the Tigers to keep him without making a deal with the Rangers, there must be some confidence in his ability to progress as a starting pitcher, even if the Tigers use more as a swingman type at first, as they did with Rony Garcia after taking him in the Rule 5.

You’re only going to get so much out of the Rule 5 draft, but Englert is a legit starting prospect whose career was delayed by the UCL surgery. Seems like a quality selection for the Tigers.

Layne Henderson is a pure relief project who reached the Triple-A level with the Astros late this season. They drafted him in the 30th round out of Division II Azusa Pacific University back in 2018. He’s posted good strikeout rates around 30 percent over the past two years, though his walk rates are typically on the high side. Commanding the fastball, like so many Rule 5 pitching projects, will be the key to any future success.

The six-foot, four-inch right-hander has an upright delivery and throws from a high arm slot. In 53 13 innings of relief work across the Double-A and Triple-A levels in 2022, Henderson struck out 68 batters with 24 walks. Henderson has a solid pair of breaking balls that can each flash above average. Now 26, he was thought to provide a little insurance for the Astros bullpen this season, but as you’d expected, that’s a hard group to crack. Hopefully the strong finish to his season as he moved to Triple-A bodes well for future development.

As for Dane Myers, he had an interesting tour in the Tigers farm system during a very turbulent period in its history. Drafted out of Rice as a two-way player in the sixth round of the 2017 draft, the Tigers made the quick decision to convert him full-time to pitching. While he was a decent sixth starter type prospect as a pitcher, things really never clicked in a big way, and in 2021, after Kenny Graham took over as director of player development, it was decided to turn him into a hitter full-time.

His performance in 2021 wasn’t notable, but he did come on stronger in 2022. Myers mashed 25 home runs with Double-A Erie, and stole 20 bases as well. The Tigers had him playing corner outfield, and with his arm strength, a future as a right fielder still isn’t completely out of the question. He has played first base as well. The Marlins will be betting that some of the early mistakes with him from the Tigers’ player development may obscure a little more of the talent we saw blossom this season. He’s unlikely to ever be more than depth as his plate discipline never really improved along the way.

Articles You May Like

Blue Jays 9, Tigers 1: The bullpen woes continue
Royals 8, Tigers 3: Bullpen implosion theater
Tigers Notes: Maeda, Manning, Hopkins, Garko
Upcoming series will tell us if Detroit Tigers are for real, plus Jack Flaherty’s success and a t…
Series Preview: Detroit Tigers move on to second leg of road trip at Kansas City Royals

Leave a Reply

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