Q&A: Patience, smarts paying off for Lipcius

Detroit Tigers

Andre Lipcius, a third-round pick by the Tigers in the 2019 MLB Draft, is currently knocking on Detroit’s door after ending last season playing third base for Triple-A Toledo as the club’s No. 23 prospect, per MLB Pipeline.

He’s also the example of the kind of hitter the Tigers are looking to develop. One of the most patient batters in the system, Lipcius walked almost as many times (86) as he struck out (89) last year between Toledo and Double-A Erie. He’s also a former nuclear engineering major at the University of Tennessee, where he played first base, third base and shortstop during his college career.

Now in Major League camp for the first time this spring as a 40-man roster add, he chatted with MLB.com last week about what he brings to the table.

MLB.com: We’ve all heard about your nuclear engineering study. Would you say it has helped you along the way in baseball, whether with analytics or something else?

Lipcius: I think a lot of baseball, and a lot of engineering, is problem-solving. So I think that’s where it kind of helps me, understanding different scenarios on the baseball field or in the batter’s box, being able to analyze and come up with a plan of attack or a solution. I think that’s the best way to describe how that’s helped me. But analytically, sometimes I can be an overthinker. It just depends on the situation.

MLB.com: Does it help you stay calm in clutch situations?

Lipcius: Yeah. Being able to formulate a plan and having a plan of attack, I think, helps me just bring down that major adrenaline of being in big situations.

MLB.com: When you moved from Double-A to Triple-A, what difference did you see in the pitching? What was the biggest adjustment you made to have success right away?

Lipcius: I think just having a plan. You saw guys that were commanding the zone, and you were able to take an approach and stick to it because they were going to throw it to spots. [I] had a lot of fun being there, too. That helped with the mental. Tried to stay positive the whole time I was there. Had a good group of guys around me in Triple-A, so that helped.

MLB.com: How did the power translate from Double-A to Triple-A? While the home run rate dropped, the doubles rate picked up to the point where you had a higher slugging percentage (.453 to .426). Was there a difference in approach, or was that just how things played out?

Lipcius: Kind of just how things played out. I hit balls not as much in the air as I would’ve liked to, but the power was there, exit velocity was there, all that kind of stuff. It was just not the ball flying out. Hopefully going forward, that translates to homers.

MLB.com: The balance of patience versus aggressiveness at the plate, for you, how much depends on the situation and how much depends on how pitchers are attacking you?

Lipcius: There’s definitely situations that can change mindsets going into the box. But overall, that’s something I’m actually working on this year, maybe getting a little more aggressive in the spots that I can, to see if that produces more power numbers or hard contact or whatever it may be. But the patience is always there, and the eye is always there. We’ll see what happens this year.

MLB.com: Does it depend, too, on certain types of pitches as well, velocity versus breaking stuff?

Lipcius: You never really know how a guy’s going to come at you. I think it’s more count-based and situation-based that you can kind of take more shots than others.

MLB.com: Did you come into camp feeling like you have to prove anything? Or are you just trying to play your game?

Lipcius: I’m just trying to be myself, get to know everybody and show them what I’ve got. I’m just here to be myself, and we’ll see what happens.

MLB.com: Are you more comfortable at third base or second?

Lipcius: If I’m on the field, that’s where I’m comfortable.

MLB.com: Good answer. It does seem like at third, you’ve kind of settled in.

Lipcius: I mean, it just depends where they need me. I’ve played more second base at Triple-A, but I played more third base in Double-A.

MLB.com: Seems like, not just with you but with a lot of position players, when they get to Triple-A there’s a lot more moving around positions.

Lipcius: Yeah, because I think that’s what the big leagues is geared toward: Can you play multiple positions at a high level?

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