The Tigers today announced a number of injury updates on some of the minor league players, with Evan Woodbery of MLive.com among those to relay the info (Twitter links). Per the release, right-hander Jackson Jobe has lumbar spine inflammation and will be sidelined for three-to-six months. Meanwhile, catcher Dillon Dingler received a meniscectomy on his right knee and will be in rehab for the next four weeks before starting a return to play progression.
Jobe, 20, was the club’s first round pick in 2021, getting selected third overall that year. He spent last year between Class-A and Class-A Advanced, posting a 3.84 ERA in 77 1/3 innings. Based on his draft pedigree and strong professional debut, he is currently considered the club’s top prospect by both Baseball America and MLB Pipeline.
Jobe wasn’t going to be a factor for the Tigers here in 2023, as he still has yet to reach Double-A and only made three starts at Class-A Advanced last year. However, it’s surely not ideal for him to miss most or perhaps all of a year that would have otherwise been spent developing his skills. It’s also notable as it continues an incredibly frustrating run of poor health for the club’s top young pitchers. One year ago, the Tigers were set to head into the season with a rotation headlined by homegrown starters like Matt Manning, Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal, with Jobe headlining the next wave. Instead, Mize made just two starts last year before requiring Tommy John surgery, Skubal went under the knife for flexor tendon surgery and was recently placed on the 60-day injured list, while Manning was held back by various ailments and only made 12 starts last year.
Dingler, 24, was a second round pick of the Tigers in 2020 and has been generally considered to be one of the club’s top 10 prospects in the years since, with his defense earning especially high praise. Last year, he played 107 games at Double-A, hitting 14 home runs in that time. He struck out in 31.9% of his plate appearances but also drew walks at a 10% clip. His .238/.333/.419 batting line amounted to a 107 wRC+, indicating he was 7% better than the league average hitter.
Dingler went to the Arizona Fall League at the end of last year but was shut down after four games due to knee soreness. He’ll now have to miss the next four weeks before he can even start to ramp up towards returning to action. His prospect stock isn’t considered quite as high as Jobe’s but it’s still another blow to the club’s farm. He still hasn’t reached Triple-A and was looking up a catching corps of Eric Haase, Jake Rogers and Donny Sands. He might not have factored into the 2023 plans but he is Rule 5 eligible this coming winter and will miss some crucial time between now and then.
Since neither of these two players were likely to make an immediate jump to the big leagues this season, today’s news isn’t going to have a huge impact the near-term fortunes of the club. However, the Tigers aren’t expected to compete this season after a 66-96 campaign last year. Given that they are future-focused at the moment, these two injuries bring some more frustration to a franchise that has had much of it lately.