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LOD’s 2018 Top Prospects: Detroit Tigers – Catchers

During the 2017-2018 offseason, we here at LOD are putting together a different kind of prospect list than you’re used to seeing. As opposed to typical prospect rankings, we are going position by position to give you the names to look out for in the upcoming season. Keep checking back to see if your favorite player makes our 2018 Top Prospect Team. You can view previous team previews by Clicking Here.

For over a decade, the Tigers have had two mainstays at Catcher, Pudge Rodriguez (2005-2008) and Alex Avila (2009-2015, 2017).  In terms of Rodriquez, it would be difficult for any team to replace the Hall of Famer, as he was truly a once in a generation type player.  Alex Avila served the Tigers as a solid defensive Catcher with the occasional ability to provide some pop at the plate. In his 2011, Avila was named to the AL All-Star Team and won a Silver Slugger Award.  While only a lifetime .243 hitter, he looked in 2011 form in 2017 with the Tigers before being traded to the Cubs.

The Tigers have settled on a one year deal with James McCann for the 2018 season, coming off a decent year in 2017.  John Hicks also caught 60 games with Detroit in 2017.  But, both McCann and Hicks are 28 and will likely not be the long term solution the Tigers need.  Here’s a look at several prospects who could serve as the Catchers of the future:

Jake Rogers (#7 Tigers Prospect – MLB, #5 Tigers Prospect – Baseball America)

Age:  22

Acquired:  2017, Justin Verlander trade with Astros / Astros 2016 3rd Round Draft Pick (Tulane)

2017 Stats:  112 Games with .261 BA, .817 OPS, 18 HRs, 70 RBIs (Quad Cities / Buies Creek / Lakeland)

Notes:  Rogers is widely considered the Catcher of the future for the Tigers, as he was for the Astros.  He was seen as perhaps the best defensive player (at any position) in the 2016 Draft, not to mention some power at the plate.  Rogers is projected to be Tigers starting Catcher in Baseball America’s 2021 Tigers roster.  

Sam McMillan  (#16 Tigers Prospect – MLB)

Age:  19

Acquired:  2017, 5th Round Draft Pick (High School)

2017 Stats:  37 Games with .288 BA, .873 OPS, 3 HRs, 25 RBIs (GCL Tigers – Rookie)

Joey Morgan (#19 Tigers Prospect – MLB)

Age: 21

Acquired:  2017, 3rd Round Draft Pick (Washington)

2017 Stats:  34 Games with .250 BA, .650 OPS, 1 HR, 10 RBIs (Connecticut)  

Grayson Greiner  

Age: 25

Acquired:  3rd Round Draft Pick (South Carolina)

2017 Stats:  103 Games with .237 BA, .427 OPS, 14 HRs, 44 RBIs (Erie / Toledo)

Notes:  Greiner was listed as the #22 Tigers Prospect in early 2017 and has received high praise from former Tigers All-Star Catcher and Seawolves Manager Lance Parrish.  

Brian is the Managing Editor at Legends on Deck and Co-Host on Legends On Deck Podcast. He's been writing about baseball at LOD since 2017. He grew up in the Detroit area and is a lifelong Tigers fan. However, he shares some affinity for his son George's favorite team, the Atlanta Braves. Brian also has a particular interest in the amateur side of the game, including high school, college and collegiate summer league baseball. Brian and George also love collecting and selling baseball cards. You can find them selling on eBay (@Kossball) or posting on George's Instagram (@Kossball). Brian lives in Horizon West (Winter Garden), Florida with his wife (Grace), three daughters and George the Card Kid. You can also reach him at

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