Detroit Tigers: Intersquad games provide us with a look into the future

July 17th, 2020 in Tigers By Bob Heyrman

Derek Hill and Riley Greene provide Detroit Tigers fans a glimpse of what may be in the near future.

A pair of young outfielders made spectacular catches in the field over the last week.  First, it was Derek Hill making a ridiculous grab in center field.  Hill tracked down a line-drive ball completing an over the shoulder catch as he was mid-sprint towards the center field fence.  To complete the out, Hill was forced to ‘double catch’ the baseball as he somersaulted the ball popped out of his glove, but Hill managed to re-catch the ball with his bare hand.  A remarkable catch for the Detroit Tigers centerfield prospect.

Now, only if Derek Hill could find a way to hit, we’d be in business.  Last night during a Tigers scrimmage, Hill drove a Dario Agrazal pitch into the left-center gap as he galloped around the bases with ease, cruising into third with a triple.  It was very nice to see because Hill has struggled mightily with the bat, but his fielding ability shouldn’t be a concern what so ever moving forward.

It was great to see Hill find some success with the bat, but Agtazal was struggling last night, placing his pitches on a tee for the Tigers’ hitters to mash all over the ballpark.  After the triple, Hill didn’t return to the field to play defense as he grimaced at third after gathering himself.  He’s been battling a sore knee, and the defensive replacement hopefully was more of a precautionary decision than anything serious.

Riley Greene, the fifth overall pick in the 2019 MLB draft, has quickly returned to his Spring Training form during these Summer Comerica Park workouts.  Greene made a miraculous catch in left field, scaling the wall, and executing a perfectly timed leap to pull-back what was supposed to be a home run off of the bat of newly signed free-agent first baseman C.J. Cron.

Both Greene and Hill are former first-round picks, both giving us a glimpse of what the future may hold.  It’s refreshing to see a group of athletic players on the Detroit Tigers.  The Tigers during their 2006-2016 ten-year run were such a station-to-station ball club.

I, for one, can’t wait to see a Tigers lineup in the years to come, that can go ‘first-to-third’ with ease.  I’m excited to see a lineup that can generate a run with their athletic ability, being able to run on the bases is such a benefit.  It allows a manager to put runners in motion,  which also puts additional pressure on opposing pitchers.  Not that the Tigers are anywhere near contending yet, but it’s so important to be able to generate a run in the playoffs, especially as the bats cool off with the cold Detroit fall weather.  Oh, and not to mention an outfield that can swiftly track balls down in the gap.

Both players are expected to be on the 2020 Detroit Tigers taxi squad this season as the organization continues to manage their young players’ service time.