The Detroit Tigers have a few solid catching prospects in the minors but what does the future of the Tigers catchers look like. Take an in-depth look at the current catching situation and where the Tigers may or may not be heading as the rebuild continues.
The Detroit Tigers, in the midst of a rebuild, seem to have the impressive arms heading up to the big leagues soon with the rise of Spencer Turnbull into a big league capable arm and Casey Mize‘s rise to Double-A, but what about catchers. Currently, the Tigers are sitting with two of the organizations top 30 prospects being catchers. With the big league club right now is, youngster Grayson Greiner and veteran John Hicks. The Tigers future could be bright if the prospects pay off, if not it could leave them with a hole to fill as the rebuild continues and eventually draws to an end.
Currently, the Detroit Tigers have some journeyman players at the Triple-A level which allows them some depth at a position that is far weaker than others. Though the Tigers have a lot of prospects, most of those guys come in the form of pitchers, outfielders, and infielders. For context, as mentioned above, the top 30 and top 50 Tigers prospect list only produced two catchers, the rest being pitchers or other position players.
Hicks currently third on the team in average though he has only played in sixteen games. Hicks has posted a .298 average, .355 on-base percentage, .439 slugging percentage. It is safe to say that Hicks has found a way to have some success at the plate on a struggling team, and his versatility to catch, play first base, and just be the designated hitter is good for the Tigers. Greiner, on the other hand, has had some offensive struggles to start out the 2019 season. His season has seen him struggling to hit .200 currently at .195, with a .250 on-base percentage, and .329 slugging percentage.
The important about catching though is defensive ability just as much as it is to be a good hitter, both throwing runners out and pitching framing is crucial to the success of a catcher. Hicks has thrown out 4 runners on 10 total attempts against him while also only allowing 2 passed balls during his 10 games behind the plate this year.
His framing, on the other hand, is struggling; currently, 1.3 runs below the major league average, but for a non-everyday catcher, it is something that can be tolerated by the Detroit Tigers. Greiner, in comparison, has been behind the dish for 22 games this season and has thrown out 7 runners on 22 stealing attempts. His framing runs come in at 0.3 runs below average, so basically, his framing is consistent with the league average.