Prospects Keith, Malloy among 22 non-roster players invited to Tigers camp

Detroit News

Detroit — The Tigers on Monday released a list of 22 non-roster players who have been invited to big-league camp, including a smaller-than-usual group of prospects, featuring third baseman Colt Keith (ranked No. 6 by MLB Pipeline), third baseman and outfielder Justyn-Henry Malloy (No. 7) and catcher Dillon Dingler (No. 11).

Neither 2021 first-round pick Jackson Jobe (right-handed pitcher) nor 2022 first-round pick Jace Jung (infield) was invited. Those two and other minor-leaguers will likely see plenty of action as late-game substitutes throughout the Grapefruit League season.

Here’s the full list:

Pitchers (10): Right-handers Elvis Alvarado, Kervin Castro, Angel De Jesus, Miguel Diaz, Brenan Hanifee and Trey Wingenter. Left-handers Miguel Del Pozo, Zach Logue, Chasen Shreve and Adam Wolf.

Position players (12): Catchers: Dingler, Mario Feliciano, Andrew Knapp, Michael Papierski, Julio Rodriguez; Infielders: Cesar Hernandez, Brendon Davis, Andy Ibañez, Jermaine Palacios, Keith, Malloy; Outfielder: Jonathan Davis.

Among the players to watch from this group:

Alvarado: He pitched himself onto the Tigers’ radar last season, climbing three levels to finish at Double-A Erie. His fastball can hit 100 mph and his command was much improved. He struck out 63 with 18 walks in 49 innings last year, posting a 2.72 ERA. He will be coming into camp after throwing seven scoreless innings in the Dominican Winter League.

Logue and Shreve: With Andrew Chafin still a free agent and Gregory Soto traded to Philadelphia, the Tigers are down to one lefty reliever on the 40-man roster: Tyler Alexander.

Logue, entering his age-27 season, has been a starter throughout his professional career and made 10 starts for Oakland last year. He will likely be stretched out to start but could transition to the bullpen if the opportunity arises.

Shreve, 32, a veteran of nine seasons, is looking to bounce back from one of the roughest years of his career, lasting just 25 games with the Mets. Before that, though, he had a strong 2021 campaign with the Pirates.

Wingenter: Intriguing pickup here. He was throwing upper-90s heat and racking up double-digit strikeout-per-nine marks in all levels of the minors and made his debut with the Padres in 2019. But, he had Tommy John surgery in 2020 and has thrown just eight competitive innings since — with the Padres’ rookie-ball team in 2021 and five innings in the Dominican this winter. He will be 29 on April 15.

Hernandez: He’s entering his age 33-season and coming off one of the least-productive seasons of his career, playing for the Nationals. Playing primarily second base, he won a Gold Glove in 2020, but has been worth a minus-21 defensive runs saved since. After hitting 21 homers in 2021, he hit one last year and had one of the meekest hard-hit rates in baseball (29.7%).

Still, the Tigers will give him a long look as either one of the utility players or part of a platoon at third base.

Malloy: The Tigers are extremely high on the hitting profile of this soon-to-be 23-year-old, whom they got from the Braves for Joe Jimenez. Climbing three levels to Triple-A last year, Malloy slashed .289/.408/.454 with a .862 OPS and 17 home runs.

He took that up another notch in the Arizona Fall League, .306/.438/.444 in 89 plate appearances. He was moved to left field by the Braves but should get most of his reps at third base this spring.

He’s a longshot at best to win a spot out of spring training, but if he stays on his current trajectory, he could be debuting for the Tigers before the All-Star break.

Jonathan Davis: He’s never hit much in parts of five big-league seasons (.185 career batting average with Blue Jays, Yankees and Brewers), but the speedy 30-year-old is a plus defensive outfielder, especially in center field. The Tigers presently only have three outfield-only outfielders on their roster (not counting prospect Parker Meadows).

Davis would offer a useful security blanket in Triple-A in case of an injury.

The first workout for pitchers and catchers is scheduled for Feb. 15. The first full-squad workout is set for Feb. 20.

Twitter: @cmccosky

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