Tigers top prospect Keith homers in first Triple-A AB

No. 42 overall prospect reaches base five times in his Toledo debut

June 29th, 2023

Wherever Colt Keith goes, he mashes. And if anyone needed more proof of that, look no further than his first game with Triple-A Toledo.

Just two pitches into his first at-bat after being promoted from Double-A Erie, MLB’s No. 42 prospect clobbered a 425-foot homer to straightaway center. He went on to reach base four more times, ending his day by being intentionally walked with two outs and a runner on second in extra innings.

Needless to say, Keith’s reputation precedes him, and for good reason. The Tigers’ newly crowned top prospect brought his hot bat with him from Pennsylvania to Ohio, finishing with three hits and reaching base five times in the Mud Hens’ 11-10 loss.

The lefty slugger has fairly identical splits at the plate, hitting over .300 against both righties (.315) and lefties (.353). Keith had no trouble seeing either type of hurler on Wednesday, starting with righty Hunter Gaddis in the second frame.

Leading off the inning, the 21-year-old took a first-pitch fastball for a strike at the bottom of the zone. Gaddis went to the same spot again, this time with a changeup, and Keith was ready for it, sending the offering far beyond the fence in center at 102.7 mph for his first Triple-A long ball.

He wasn’t about to stop there. He drew a four-pitch walk off righty Cody Morris three frames later before stepping into the box against Caleb Baragar in the seventh, the first lefty he faced at the Minors’ highest level. Keith watched a slider down and away for ball one and hacked away at the next slider that caught too much plate, roping it back up the middle for a 98.3 mph single.

One inning later against righty James Karinchak, the count was 1-2 after Keith took three pitches. He saw a 94.5 mph fastball and lined it to right field for his second RBI of the game.

And when the game went into extra innings, Keith didn’t even get a chance to tack on more runs; he was intentionally walked.

Taken in the fifth round (132nd overall) of the 2020 MLB Draft, Keith entered Detroit’s top prospects list at No. 20 in 2021 and has since mashed his way up to the organization’s top spot. He missed the majority of the 2022 season after suffering a shoulder injury at the beginning of June, but he made a triumphant return in the Arizona Fall League with a .344/.463/.541 slash line in 19 games with as many walks (16) as he had strikeouts.

The Mississippi native was simply annihilating Double-A pitching before being promoted, sporting a .325/.391/.585 slash line with 14 homers, 18 doubles, two triples, 25 walks and 50 RBIs in just 59 games with the SeaWolves.

Even with only one Triple-A game under his belt, it’s not hard to picture Keith hitting his way up to Detroit in the near future.