With Scott Harris replacing Al Avila as head of Tigers baseball operations, the organization is sure to make changes in the ways it develops players. Far too often and for far too long, talented prospects have failed to meet expectations when called up to Detroit.
Despite the change at the top of the organization, the Tigers’ revamped player development group from last season remains intact. While the Tigers don’t boast the same farm riches they once did, players like Parker Meadows, Colt Keith and Izaac Pacheco all flashed promise for stretches this season.
While Meadows and Keith both starred in the Arizona Fall League, Pacheco—the club’s 2021 second-round pick out of Friendswood (Texas) High—may have the greatest upside of that trio.
Pacheco hit .254/.331/.408 with 11 home runs in 106 games, spending all but 18 games with Low-A Lakeland. The 19-year-old third baseman managed his strikeout rate—22% across both levels—while showcasing exit velocity numbers on par with MLB average.
It’s this combination of above-average contact skills and plus power that drive Pacheco’s profile. The Florida State League is notoriously pitcher-friendly, and the lefthanded hitter stood out in that context by ranking first among qualified 19-year-olds with a .757 OPS.
Still, Pacheco is prone to aggressive tendencies. He expands the zone more than is ideal, but it’s not uncommon for a young player in his first taste of full-season ball to chase at a higher rate than his peers.
Pacheco hit just .183 in 60 at-bats for High-A West Michigan to close the season—though he did homer three times—but his performance was dragged down by poor luck on balls in play. His .182 BABIP will regress toward the mean when he returns to the Midwest League in 2023.
As things look up for the Tigers organization as a whole, Pacheco could be a potential positive for 2023 bubbling under the surface.