The Detroit Tigers have added five new players to their roster.

The Detroit Tigers have undergone some significant changes this off-season, and today the club’s roster shuffling continued as they added five players to their 40-man roster.

Hardcore baseball fans probably already know this, but these moves were mostly procedural. The Tigers obviously like these players, but they aren’t expected to make a real impact in Detroit this year. They were added to the roster so they can’t be selected in next month’s Rule 5 draft.

Casual fans don’t need to know the specifics of the Rule 5 draft, but click on that link if you’re curious. Essentially, it’s a way for teams to acquire players who might be blocked in another team’s minor-league system. This is how the Tigers acquired Victor Reyes, and Rony Garcia, and Akil Baddoo.

Players taken in the Rule 5 usually don’t provide much value at the MLB level. But that’s because most top prospects are protected from the draft by being added to their team’s 40-man roster. So, let’s learn a bit more about who the Tigers protected today:

Parker Meadows

Pos Age GP HR SB wRC+
OF 23.1 127 20 17 122

The Tigers took Parker Meadows in the 2nd round of the 2018 draft. That was the same year the team selected Casey Mize first overall, and landed Tarik Skubal in the 9th round. Meadows was the 44th overall pick, but his $2.5 million bonus was the 28th largest in the draft class. Pro ball was a struggle for him, and heading into 2022 it appeared he might be a bust.

But Meadows had a huge breakout campaign. He quickly moved from High-A West Michigan to Double-A Erie, and after June 1st he hit .298/.376/.509, with 14 home runs and 10 steals. That was good for a wRC+ of 140, which is a fancy way of saying he was 40% better than the average hitter. Parker Meadows is significantly more athletic than his older brother Austin, and he has a chance to be an above-average defensive center fielder at the MLB level.

Wenceel Perez

Pos Age GP HR SB wRC+
2B 23.1 94 14 18 143

Wenceel Perez is just three days older than Parker Meadows, and he shared a very similar breakout last season. Like Meadows, Perez was once a highly touted prospect whose star had dimmed because of poor performance. And like Meadows, he saw an impressive spike in game power, and good results at the Double-A level.

Unfortunately, Perez’s season was cut short by a nagging back injury. He came up as a shortstop, but he played almost exclusively at second base last year. And that’s probably where Perez fits best, as his arm is a bit light and his hands can be iffy at times. Perez has the physical tools to make it work on the infield, and more than enough speed to handle the outfield. He could be a viable replacement for Willi Castro soon.

Andre Lipcius

Pos Age GP HR SB wRC+
3B/2B 24.5 134 12 13 128

Detroit’s 3rd-round pick in 2019, Lipcius has steadily climbed through the minors thanks to a solid mix of skills and tools. Tigers president Scott Harris wants to dominate the strike zone, and few players in Detroit’s system do that better than Lipcius. He finished second in the system with 88 walks last year, and he did so while striking out 89 times. Lipcius was one of just seven qualified minor-league hitters in 2022 with a walk-to-strikeout ratio of .90 or better, and an Isolated Power of .150 or better.

The main issue with Lipcius is that he’s a bit of a tweener. He has fringe-average game power that is likely to produce a lot more doubles than homers, and his foot speed limits him on defense. He has good, reliable hands and a strong arm, but he likely lacks the range to play up the middle at the highest level. The end result is a ceiling that resembles 2021 Jeimer Candelario.

Reese Olson

RHP 23.3 26 119.2 168/38 4.14

The Tigers acquired Olson from Milwaukee in exchange for Daniel Norris at the 2021 trade deadline. It looks like one of Al Avila’s few trade wins. Olson was one of the most reliable starters for Erie all year, and he set a new SeaWolves record with 168 strikeouts in one season. He owns a starter’s arsenal, with a four-seam fastball, a slider, a changeup, and a curve, and he throws plenty of strikes.

But Olson has a slightly unorthodox, effortful delivery that seems to hinder his command, particularly with his fastball. That led to more hard contact than is ideal, and it suggests a possible future in the bullpen. His changeup is a plus pitch, and his slider flashes plus at times, so he could conceivably carve out a role as solid middle reliever.

Brendan White

RHP 24.0 48 67.1 73/17 2.67

Brendan White is probably the most shocking of the 40-man additions this year. A 26th-round pick in 2019 out of Siena College in upstate New York, he has quietly established himself as one of the better relievers in the system over the past two seasons. He actually spent a portion of 2021 as a starter, but that most mostly out of necessity.

White comes at batters with a fastball in the 92-95 MPH range, but his money pitch is a high-spin slider that routinely registers spin rates in excess of 2,900 RPMs. He was a reliable bullpen option for Erie all season, leading the team with nine saves while posting a stellar .906 WHIP.

Former Detroit Tigers

To make room on the 40-man roster for the new players, the Tigers parted ways with several veterans.

Kyle Funkhouser is the big surprise here, but he missed all of 2022 with an injury. The Tigers know more about his health situation than anyone else, and perhaps they don’t see a path for him to help the team in 2023.

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By Published On: November 15th, 2022Categories: Detroit Tigers, MLB

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