Detroit Tigers promote top prospect Colt Keith from Double-A Erie to Triple-A Toledo

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Tigers have promoted top prospect Colt Keith from Double-A Erie to Triple-A Toledo.

The 21-year-old infielder hit .325 with 14 home runs, 50 RBIs, 25 walks, 63 strikeouts and a .977 on-base-plus-slugging percentage through 59 games at the Double-A level, leading the SeaWolves to clinching a first-half division title and a spot in the Eastern League postseason.

Keith learned he would be promoted Sunday evening.

EVERYTHING ABOUT HIM: Colt Keith thinks like Conor McGregor, plays like Joey Votto, looks like Tigers’ best prospect

In the immediate future, Keith will join Triple-A Toledo for a road series against Triple-A Columbus, beginning Wednesday. The Mud Hens return to Fifth Third Field in Toledo on July 4 for a home series against Triple-A Louisville.

Keith has cemented himself as a key piece of the Tigers’ long-term future.

The left-handed hitter, who plays third base and second base, is the Tigers’ No. 1 prospect and the No. 43 prospect in baseball, according to MLB Pipeline. He came into the spring training unranked by MLB Pipeline and Baseball America.

HIS DOUBLE-A DAYS: Top prospect Colt Keith explains ‘career-changing’ swing adjustment in Double-A Erie

In Double-A Erie, Keith proved he could crush high-velocity fastballs and breaking balls, as well as right-handed and left-handed pitchers. He hit .315 with 11 home runs in 197 plate appearances against righties and .353 with three homers in 79 plate appearances against lefties.

He had a 9.1% walk rate and a 22.8% strikeout rate.

In April, Keith hit .286 with a .822 OPS in 20 games. In May, he hit .374 with a 1.107 OPS in 22 games. In June, he hit .310 with a .992 OPS in 17 games. His performance in May earned him Eastern League Player of the Month.

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Keith missed three games in mid-June because of right arm fatigue, but when he returned to the lineup, he hit a home run in his first plate appearance.

He posted those results in the first three months of the season despite being one of the youngest players in the Eastern League. Once again, he will be one of the youngest players in the International League with the Mud Hens.

Keith faced one pitcher younger than him, Colorado Rockies prospect Case Williams, during his 59 games with Double-A Erie. He stepped into the batter’s box against an older pitcher in 274 of his 276 plate appearances.

Back in November, while playing in the Arizona Fall League, Keith expressed his desire to join the Tigers for his MLB debut at some point in the 2023 season. After raking in Double-A Erie, he has advanced one step closer to accomplishing his goal.

No matter what happens, the best prospect in the Tigers’ organization certainly has the right mindset about his development.

“No matter if I stay in Erie or stay in Toledo,” Keith told the Free Press in June, “I want to focus on defense and proving that I’m the hitter that I think I am and that I can progress into the big leagues.”

Contact Evan Petzold at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.

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