The No. 38 overall pick in the 2020 draft out of Ohio State hit .253 with nine home runs, 27 walks and 63 strikeouts at the Double-A level. He also played in 12 games for Low-A Lakeland on a pair of rehab assignments, hitting .395 with four homers, seven walks and eight strikeouts.
Dingler, who turns 25 in mid-September, is expected to start Wednesday for Triple-A Toledo as the catcher for right-hander Keider Montero, who has previous experience with Dingler.
"He's been on our radar for a number of years," Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. "He's battled some injuries and also the swing-and-miss in the (strike) zone, but his defense has really warranted a bigger challenge working with older pitchers and facing different pitchers in Triple-A."
Dingler is the Tigers' No. 11 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. (Enrique Jimenez, a 17-year-old switch-hitter in the Dominican Summer League, is the only other catcher on the Tigers' top-30 prospects list.)
He opened the 2023 season — his third year at Double-A Erie — on the injured list after undergoing a right knee meniscectomy in mid-March and didn't play his first game until April 21.
Dingler, who has suffered several injuries throughout his three-year career in the minor leagues, landed on the injured list for a second time July 15 with right arm soreness and didn't play again until Aug. 2.
"The big thing with Ding is the arm strength with the catch and throw," said Tigers right-hander Reese Olson, one of Dingler's teammates in 2021 and 2022. "I think he's got one of the best arms I've seen from a catcher. I'm happy for him."
Athleticism has helped Dingler settle in defensively, but he can struggle on offense because of his swing-and-miss and chase tendencies, especially with sliders. At the Double-A level, the right-handed hitter posted troubling strikeout rates of 29.8% in 2021, 31.9% in 2022 and 28.8% in 2023.
Hitting for power could offset some of the strikeout concerns.
In 2023, Dingler logged an .833 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in his 51 games for the SeaWolves.
His isolated power has increased over the three years with the SeaWolves, climbing from .112 in 2021 to .181 in 2022 to .209 in 2023. Still, the breaking ball located down-and-away from right-handed pitchers is his weakness.
"His defense has been fine," Hinch said. "I think the biggest question for him has centered around what to do with the strike zone as an offensive player. He was pretty swing-happy early, got pretty passive when he was trying to get more disciplined and has settled somewhere in the middle."
Prospect from Lorenzen trade suffers injury
High-A West Michigan infielder Hao-Yu Lee, acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for Michael Lorenzen at the trade deadline, has been placed on the seven-day injured list with a left quad strain.
The 20-year-old, ranked as the Tigers' No. 8 prospect, left Saturday's game with a leg injury after running from first base to second base.
Lee hit .214 with one home run, three walks and nine strikeouts in eight games for the Whitecaps before the Tigers put him on the injured list. He also hit .283 with a .372 on-base percentage in 64 games for High-A Jersey Shore in the Phillies' organization before the trade.
Hao-Yu Lee walked to lead off game two and then moved up to 2nd on this Luke Gold single…but it looks like he tweaked his leg a bit, and then he left the game. pic.twitter.com/jF95fiGwjH
— Tigers ML Report (@tigersMLreport) August 13, 2023
Tigers release Joe Rizzo
The Tigers released Joe Rizzo, a left-handed hitting corner infielder, after he played in 38 games with Triple-A Toledo. The 25-year-old hit .299 with six home runs, 11 walks and 28 strikeouts.
Rizzo, a second-round pick in the 2016 draft, was acquired by the Tigers in a trade with the Miami Marlins on June 8 in exchange for cash considerations. He owns a .264 batting average and .730 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in his 710-game career in the minor leagues, spanning seven seasons.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers promote catcher Dillon Dingler to Triple-A Toledo