Pitchers and Catchers have reported to Lakeland, Florida and are ready to to start prepping for the 2018 season. The Tigers invited 22 players to Major League camp this year. In the group there are some interesting names that could possibly have an effect on the 2018 team. They are definitely worth keeping an eye for this rebuilding team.
Alex Faedo, RHP
This was one of the more shocking inclusions in my eyes. Faedo was shut down this summer after his run to the College World Series, so this will be his first professional baseball repping the Old English D. While I don’t expect him to make the big league team at all, seeing how he fares this spring will say a great deal on where he ends up in the Tigers system and how fast of a riser he could be following the path of Kyle Funkhouser in 2017. He is high on my Tigers Top 50, coming in at #3 to start the season. He is a player worth stashing in your dynasty leagues and should be fun to watch this season in the lower part of the Tigers system.
Chance of making the Tigers: 5%
Jake Rogers, C
Rogers, #10 on my Tigers Top 50 to start 2018, was another option I was very excited to see on the list. Rogers was recently rated by MLB.com at the 5th best catching prospect in the Minors and the best defensive catcher, his bat will be the key on how quick he progresses. He finished 2017 strong and showed a better bat then most expected coming out of college. He should get a chance to compete for a spot, but has quite a bit of competition for a spot in James McCann guaranteed a spot, and Derek Norris and John Hicks fighting for the back up spot. He should gain some valuable experience, but look for him to stay in Lakeland or head to Erie.
Chance of making the Tigers: 15%
Paul Voelker, RHP
Voelker is just about a season removed from his suspension for breaking the performance enhancing drug rules. His return late in the season showed good results between AA and AAA. He has the make up for a back end of the rotation spot, but competition is tight. Since he is not on the 40-man roster, he would need to be added and the Tigers currently don’t have an open spot. They have plenty of other options and he should start the year in Toledo.
Chance of making the Tigers: 40%
Kody Eaves, 3B
Eaves is an very interesting option for the Tigers. He had his coming out party in the Arizona Fall League and was quite impressive. He has a little pop in his bat, but plays a position that is currently filled by Jeimer Candelario, another young player who graduated from our Top 50 list. I only see him making the team if there is an injury to Candelario and he could still not make the team because the team could shift Nicholas Castellanos back to 3B. He will need a strong spring and a little luck to make the team, but should be one of the first called up if a corner infield spot needs manning due to injury.
Chance of making the Tigers: 50%
Edwin Espinal, 1B
Espinal was one of the Tigers minor league free agent signings. He had a very strong showing in the Dominican Winter League, hitting .287/.350/.364 with a couple home runs. He had a very strong season in the Pirates organization last year. Being another corner infielder, that plays to his disadvantage for making the team out of spring, as both spots are filled with established starters. His best chance at making the team is if Miguel Cabrera‘s injury history continues, as he could then slot into his 1B spot. Beyond that, there isn’t much room for him on the team and should only be considered if Miggy does go down during the year.
Chance of making the Tigers: 50%
Ronny Rodriguez, 2B
Rodriguez is a very intriguing prospect and someone who did not make the cut on my Tigers Top 50. In retrospect, he does warrant a spot in the conversation. He joined Espinal in the Dominican Winter League and had a strong showing as well, staying consistent with his 2017 numbers in the Indians organization. Since his abilities play all over the infield, he should have a chance to fight for a utility infield position. He could slot in at 2B and SS, so if he has a strong spring he should be in the conversation. He is definitely worth keeping an eye on this spring.
Chance of making the Tigers: 65%
Article featured image of Kody Eaves – courtesy MiLB.com on Twitter