The Detroit Tigers got the ball rolling on their 2022 trade deadline season by moving veteran outfielder Robbie Grossman to the Atlanta Braves. In exchange, the Tigers got left-handed pitcher Kris Anglin. The youngster is more than many would have anticipated the team would get in return.
The jokes were rolling in as the news broke that the Detroit Tigers were going to get a firm handshake or a bucket of baseballs in return for Grossman. The veteran outfielder has struggled; there’s no doubt about that. But he’ll head to Atlanta and serve as added depth for the Braves looking to go back-to-back.
Back in the Motor City, the Tigers are getting a new arm to add to the system. While he’s not going to jump off the page at you or even make the Top-30 lists, there is upside. He’s a low-risk, high-reward prospect who the Tigers should be excited about.
Getting anything more than “cash considerations” or “Player to be named later” for Grossman was a victory. Anyone upset about the Grossman deal should really be thinking about what kind of value was there.
That being said, let’s dive into Detroit Tigers prospect Kris Anglin.
Anglin is about to celebrate his 21st birthday, so he’s still young. The Braves drafted him out of Howard College in Texas in the 16th round of the 2021 MLB Amateur Draft. He’s a California native who was a high-profile arm, whose senior year was in 2020, meaning the pandemic derailed his Spring.
It could be something to remember, justifying why he may have been a 16th rounder instead of working higher up the draft boards. Either way, he was with the Braves organization, pitching in 12 games with Single-A Augusta GreenJackets, where he managed a 5.93 ERA, and a 1.55 WHIP over 30.1 innings pitched.
Anglin punched out 36 opposing hitters, walked 19 hitters, and surrendered six big flies. Now, he’s heading to the Tigers organization, where I would venture he gets sent to Lakeland to get worked in with the Flying Tigers. But, the simple stats do not show much. Upon looking at those, there may not be a ton to be excited about. However, there’s more to it than the simple metrics.
Before I talk through what Anglin’s make-up is on the mound, I got to shout out to Trevor Hooth for getting some video of Anglin up on Twitter almost instantly after he was acquired. It certainly made my job easier to click through his account and see some clips of Anglin.
Anglin stands 5-foot-11, 175 pounds. He’s got a slow and deliberate motion working into his delivery. He generally works the middle of the rubber from the wind-up, gets the hands down to the waist, and then uses a big leg kick to work into his motion.
He closes off the front side well and gets good hip tilt to drive down the mound; using his body well at his size will only serve to be beneficial. With a smaller frame, the mobility was pretty impressive. He stays connected through his delivery with excellent hip-shoulder separation.
He works through delivery from a three-quarters arm slot, and from a smaller frame, it allows him to work up in the zone and not get his pitches onto a plane that allows the opposition to drive them well. His trunk tilt gets this arm slot up from what would probably be a low-three-quarters or sidearm slot if he was upright in the trunk as he throws.
His attack angle looks to be in a position that allows him to succeed working up in the zone. (Though I’m going off the film, not actual metrics for his vertical attack angle.)
My guess is that the Tigers see a good developmental piece in the mechanics, and they can work to refine it. I do not like the way his glove works up until the leg lift, dropping it to the belt. In some old high-school video I saw, he would keep the glove chest high or even higher by the shoulders, I thought it worked better with the hip tilt he gets, but that’s just my armchair-GM opinion.
Let’s move into Kris Anglin’s arsenal.
The left-handed pitcher has a 4-pitch mix that’s really more of a 3-pitch arsenal. His fastball plays well up in the zone and is not going to overpower anyone. He’s a starting pitcher, or at least is not a flamethrowing closer. He comes in, works to his strengths, and has success that way, rather than trying to throw 100 mph and blow it by guys.
For someone who sits upper-80s from the left side, he does just fine at missing barrels and living up in the zone, creating challenging reads and inducing swings and misses from hitters. The fastball definitely gets some ride to it, especially getting out of the hand from a three-quarters slot.
This is something that perplexed me as to his slider being the second-best offering of his two breaking balls. He spins a slider with a tight break to it. It’s got a lot less depth or tilt to it than it does sweep. He throws this pitch to both righties and lefties.
It’s a pitch he can start over the plate, working away from lefties and start outside and catch the plate or backfoot it for righties. To me, it’s a pitch that Fetter will like. It needs work to be more than a frisbee, side-to-side breaking pitch, but hopefully, the Tigers Player Development staff can get working on this.
He’s got a curveball with a 12-6 break to it. He gets over the top of this pitch to create that tumble. It can be a little 1-to-7 at times, but I accredit that to his arm slot and getting around the ball more than over it at times. But it’s a pitch he can use to sequence well.
His changeup has good depth. After all, he is a left-handed pitcher. He’s going to use that changeup to work east-west, inside-0utside, and get right-handers to swing through it. It’s another pitch that needs to be refined, but he’s shown the ability to get fade on it when working away.
That’s his arsenal. There’s room to improve it, and the Tigers are going to hope to accomplish this.
Final thoughts on Detroit Tigers’ latest acquisition, Kris Anglin.
The Detroit Tigers gave up Robbie Grossman on the other end of this deal. He was a great clubhouse guy for Detroit but struggled a ton in 2022 on the field. Getting something for nothing was a victory. Anglin is someone the team believes has a chance to be something long-term.
Tigers pitching coach Chris Fetter had recruited Anglin while he was a pitching coach with the University of Michigan. There’s familiarity with Anglin from that side of things. If Fetter thinks there’s a chance he can make something out of Anglin, it could be a high-reward outcome.
— Evan Petzold (@EvanPetzold) August 2, 2022
The Tigers got a prospect with upside for a player who was expendable for the 2022 season. Anglin is not headed for a Cy Young award or even going to crack the Top-30 list on the next update. But, there’s reason to buy stock in Anglin for the long haul.
Tarik Skubal was a ninth-round pick who has turned out to be a solid big leaguer. It’s not to say Anglin will do the same, but I like the projectability here. A 21-year-old left-handed pitcher with a chance to refine the pitch mix and move up the organization’s ranks? I’ll drink that kool-aid.