The Tigers announced they’ve added right-hander Wilmer Flores and catcher Dillon Dingler to the 40-man roster. In corresponding moves, righties Brenan Hanifee and Freddy Pacheco have been designated for assignment. Flores and Dingler would otherwise have been eligible for the Rule 5 draft.
Flores, the younger brother of the Giants veteran infielder of the same name, is a 22-year-old pitcher from Venezuela. He went undrafted in 2020 out of an Arizona junior college. While he entered pro ball without much fanfare, Flores has developed into one of the best prospects in the system. He was a fringe top 100 talent going into 2023. Baseball America ranked him eighth in the Detroit organization midseason.
Listed at 6’4″ and 225 pounds, Flores has prototype size. Scouting reports praise his mid-90s sinker and an offspeed combination of a cutter and curveball. He also has solid control and is regarded as a potential starter. Flores spent the bulk of 2023 at Double-A Erie, pitching to a 3.90 ERA through 90 2/3 innings. He struck out 24.3% of opponents and kept the ball on the ground at a 48.6% clip while walking a slightly elevated 9.5% of batters faced.
Dingler, 25, is a right-handed hitting catcher. The Tigers selected him with the 38th pick in the 2020 draft out of Ohio State. He ranked sixth in the system midseason at Baseball America. The outlet praised his athleticism, arm strength and defensive potential. While there’s a lot of swing-and-miss to his game, he has shown strong plate discipline and some power upside in a 6’3″ frame.
Dingler split this year between three minor league levels, hitting .256/.361/.478 with 16 homers through 89 games. He struck out in nearly 28% of his plate appearances while walking 11% of the time. He’s likely to start next season in Triple-A but could get a big league look at some point in 2024.
Hanifee got a cup of coffee late in the ’23 campaign. The 25-year-old pitched five innings over three relief appearances, allowing three runs. He averaged 93.7 MPH on his sinker in that limited look. Before his call-up, Hanifee worked in a swing role at Triple-A Toledo. The former fourth round draftee turned in a 4.38 ERA in 90 1/3 innings spanning 25 appearances. He kept the ball on the ground at a massive 57.2% clip that could get him some attention in a minor trade or waiver claim in the next week.
Pacheco, a pure reliever, hasn’t throw a pitch in the Detroit organization. The Tigers claimed him off waivers from the Cardinals during Spring Training. He opened the season on the injured list and underwent UCL surgery in early June. It’s likely that recovery will carry into the ’24 campaign. Pacheco has yet to make his MLB debut but turned in strong results in the upper minors with St. Louis in 2022.