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Tigers Get A Glimpse Of The Future At Instructs

When Kenny Graham initially accepted the role of farm director for the Tigers, neither he nor the organization had any idea what was to come in 2020.

Even before the pandemic wiped away the minor league season, Graham first had to get familiar with his new organization's prospects.

With such a limited opportunity to watch the Tigers' minor league players in person, Graham took full advantage of instructional league in October to finally get to know the players he will focus on helping to develop.

He didn’t need much time to understand the buzz surrounding outfielder Riley Greene and third baseman Spencer Torkelson, Detroit's first-round picks in 2019 and 2020.

“Seeing (Spencer and Riley) so much on a daily basis at the alternate site was great,” Graham said. “Seeing Spencer just coming from college and then Riley, who just had barely a year in and already able to face big league pitchers, is impressive . . .

“I think that was important for them to process some stuff at their own pace with each other. You could walk through the clubhouse at the alternate side and you'd see them talking to some of the older guys and just picking their brain."

The Tigers chose Torkelson first overall out of Arizona State this year and Greene fifth overall out of high school in Oviedo, Fla., in 2019.

Keeping a close eye on both Greene and Torkelson at instructional league, Graham had his sights set forward, ready to build off the excitement of a developing farm system. For Graham and his staff, a return to the field was rewarding enough.

“It's been a lot of help for the players and staff quite frankly,” Graham said. “They were just so excited to be on the field and playing baseball, because as much as this is a job for us it is still baseball.”


— The Tigers are sending a handful of minor league players to participate in winter leagues around the world. Among them is 26-year-old outfielder Cam Gibson, the club's 2015 fifth-rounder from Michigan State who will be bound for the Australian Baseball League. Gibson spent the 2019 season with Double-A Erie.

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