In the internet age, lists are made for content purposes. One of the lists that is common in baseball are prospects lists. MLB Pipeline, FanGraphs, Baseball America, the amount of sites are endless. But there’s one name on the various Detroit Tigers prospects lists that does not get a lot of fanfare. Andre Lipcius. Lipcius has not graced the cover of a magazine nor have some sort of big prospect “push” but one thing is certain. He has been nothing but steady since being drafted in the 3rd round in 2019 out of the University of Tennessee.
The word “under the radar” would be a good way to describe Lipcius. Or for manager A.J. Hinch, a few more words comes to mind.
“He’s a smart hitter,” Tigers manager AJ Hinch said in the Detroit News on Tuesday. He knows how to put together a game plan, he commits to the game plan when he goes up there and he generally executes inside the strike zone. I can see why his track record has been controlling the strike zone and I can see that he’s been a little bit of an underrated prospect.”
When I wrote about him originally back in July for Tigers Minor League Report, there was a mark improvement in his numbers from 2021: Here are the notes that go back since he made his first appearance at West Michigan in 2019.
Lipcius has been a good defender and shown a strong arm with the ability to throw strikes to first base from a variety of arm angles. With those two qualities, I always felt he could be an off the bench utility player. The lack of power always gave me pause, since you need that to be an everyday regular. But looking at the numbers in his second season in Erie, that impression may have changed. He is seeing the ball better, increasing his walk rate by 7.6% while lowering his strikeout rate 7%.
Steady as Andre Lipcius goes
The steady progress from Erie carried over to Toledo, where he hit .300/.405/.489 with an OPS of .894 and an impressive wRC+ of 136 over the last month of the season. He has secured a spot on the 40-man roster, but as far as a spot on the Opening Day roster? There is still a lot of time left in spring training, but his numbers so far (7-for-18 with 3 home runs) have certainly helped his cause.
“He’s a little more versatile and comfortable playing different positions than maybe I thought,” Hinch said. “But he needs a ton more reps at second and first for him to truly be moved around at the big-league level in season.”
The Tigers need a draft win that is not a first-round draft pick. If Lipcius can continue his progress, this would be a win for a development system that needs them.