DETROIT -- The Tigers felt like they picked up a first-round talent when Ohio State catcher Dillon Dingler fell to their spot at the start of the second round. On Thursday, the team announced it has agreed to terms with its latest catching prospect, officially adding him to the system.
Dingler agreed to a $1,952,300 bonus, the full value assigned to his slot with the 38th overall pick, according to MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis. He’s the third Tigers selection to agree to terms this week, joining third-round pick Trei Cruz and fifth-round pick Colt Keith, both of whom agreed to just over slot value.
Top overall pick Spencer Torkelson, second-rounder Daniel Cabrera and fourth-rounder Gage Workman have yet to agree to deals.
Dingler joins a Tigers farm system that has strong-armed Jake Rogers at Triple-A Toledo and defensive stalwart Cooper Johnson, a sixth-round pick from last year’s Draft, at Class A West Michigan. Dingler’s switch-hitting bat and athleticism give him a chance to have the highest potential of the group, and the best offensive potential from a Tigers catcher since Alex Avila’s All-Star season in 2011.
After batting .244 as a freshman, Dingler batted .291 with three homers and 19 RBIs as a sophomore, reaching base safely in 32 consecutive games. He was off to a stronger start this spring, homering five times and hitting 10-for-21 in his last five games before his junior season ended early due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I've made tremendous strides from my freshman year,” Dingler said last week. “One of my main focuses was being on time and trying to replicate the same swing over and over again.”
Dingler spent a good chunk of his freshman season at Ohio State in center field and moves well for his 6-foot-3, 210-pound frame. He ran the 60-yard dash in under 6.6 seconds during the Buckeyes’ scout day last fall.
One throw from behind the plate, however, shows the skills that made him a coveted backstop. MLB Pipeline compares him to Oakland A’s youngster Sean Murphy, who also starred in college in Ohio at Wright State. Dingler also provides leadership, having captained the Buckeyes the past two seasons.
“When you see an athlete on the field, it's usually a good thing,” scouting director Scott Pleis said. “In his case, an athlete behind the plate is huge. We talk about shortstops, center fielders being great athletes, which they are. Your feet and your hands have to be tremendous to be a good catcher.”