After a freshman campaign that didn’t see him do much on defense, Dingler broke out at the plate as a sophomore, hitting .291/.392/.424 despite breaking his hamate bone (a small bone in the wrist) over the offseason. Some scouts believe that he has more power in the tank than he demonstrated in 2019, and he was on his way to proving them right in 2020. He came out of the gate guns blazing, and hit .340/.404/.760 over the course of 13 games before the season was shut down for obvious safety precautions.
The Buckeyes converted Dingler from playing center field to catching, and he has taken to life behind the plate really well. He is a potentially plus receiver and he does a great job controlling the run game, and MLB Pipeline notes that his arm strength is “well above-average” and his “accuracy continues to get better as he gains experience.” He’s also overflowing with intangibles and was named a team captain in all three years at OSU, one of only two players in team history to claim that honor.
By drafting Dingler, Detroit is gambling that they can help him realize his offensive potential. Despite his quality work behind the plate, the inevitable rise of electronic ball/strike recognition software will soon make framing a dead art. That means he will have to hit for power more consistently than he has in the past.
“As he’s gotten stronger... he’s got above average to sometimes plus to the pull side raw power,” said Perfect Game’s Brian Sakowski in the video above. “You’re talking about a catcher who’s gonna be an impact defender and potentially impact offensive upside all along with athleticism and aptitude for the game and leadership skills.”
If the Tigers are able to unlock a second gear in Dingler’s offense, they will have an everyday catcher on their hands. He was a projected first rounder based on that potential, and he is going to be widely considered an excellent bargain at this selection once the dust settles on Day Two.
The Tigers’ next selection will come in at 62nd overall.