Baseball season is about to start again with the arrival of spring training. The Detroit Tigers are hoping that in 2024, the young players they have been working so hard to develop will help lead them to their first division title in ten years. With the exception of a few seasoned players, the Tigers are a youthful club, but they may take advantage of a poor AL Central, and if some of their young players improve, they may finally make a run at the postseason.

Catcher is one position where the Tigers haven’t improved this off-season as much as I had anticipated. When spring training begins in February, the Tigers’ catchers will face a lot of new pitchers since Scott Harris prioritized depth at the starting position this off-season. In 2024, Detroit didn’t put any effort into improving their batting order. They dealt with the Brewers early on to get Mark Canha. The only player on the roster that we anticipate seeing in 2024 is the one who wasn’t a member of the organization.

The Detroit Tiger to Keep a Close Eye on in Spring Training | Yardbarker

Jake Rodgers had a tremendous season coming back from severe elbow surgery that had him sidelined since 2021. The Tigers seem to have at last discovered a catcher who can reliably make an impact on the squad. That’s something the Tigers haven’t been able to say since James McCann left. The Tigers tried a number of swings and misses to replace McCann when he left. Both internal replacements, Austin Romine and Tucker Barnhart, and free-agent misses, John Hicks and Grayson Greiner, came up short. Then a hometown hero appeared, giving Tigers supporters optimism that he would be the starting catcher they had been waiting for.

Native of nMichiga, Eric Haase caught two no-hitters for the Tigers and had two excellent seasons at bat in 2021 and 2022. Sadly, Haase’s offensive shortcomings at the bat during the previous season proved to be insurmountable, and the Tigers made the decision to release him back in August, midway through the 2023 campaign.

Who will start at number two for Detroit at catcher now that Jake Rodgers appears to be the main object of the team’s search? It goes without saying that every MLB team would prefer to have two reliable catchers on their roster. It’s a difficult position to play, and given the workload involved in being a catcher, you won’t see many players playing there on a regular basis. It will be interesting to monitor to see who moves up to catcher in the depth chart throughout spring training. One particular catcher jumps out as a potential star that the Tigers may need in 2024.

The struggle of Dillon Dingler to make the roster during spring training

Dillon Dingler was selected by the Detroit Tigers in the second round of the 2020 MLB Draft. Dingler was a baseball player at Jackson High School in Massillon, Ohio. After three seasons as an Ohio State player, Dingler was drafted. During his undergraduate career, Dingler hit.276/.367/.443, totaling 37 extra-base hits, 12 home runs, and 50 RBIs. The largest obstacle Dingler has had in his quest to make it to the main levels has been dealing with ailments. If he stays healthy and has a fantastic spring training campaign, he should have high hopes of making the MLB squad in 2024—possibly even the opening day roster. Dingler worked his way up through the Tigers farm system. He has performed for West Michigan, Erie, Toledo, and Lakeland. Dingler has hit 244/.335/.434 with 104 extra-base hits, 42 home runs, and 162 RBIs in his minor league career.

If Dingler makes the Opening Day roster, he must beat veteran catcher Carson Kelly for the second spot on the depth chart at the catching position. Kelly was brought in after Haase was let go in August. In 18 games with the Tigers, Kelly slashed 173/.271./269 with just three extra-base hits, one long ball, and seven RBIs. Obviously, it’s not very exciting numbers. The front office and coaching staff are undoubtedly hoping that the best option to play behind Rodgers presents itself in spring training. If he can have a great spring camp, Dingler could be that option for Detroit. The 25-year-old prospect is one of the players you should keep a very close eye on in spring training.

 

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