Detroit (47-114) finished in last place in the AL Central 53½ behind 1st place Minnesota last season. They actually had the worst record in all of MLB. Four teams lost over 100 games last season. Kansas City (103), Miami (105), Baltimore (108) & Detroit (114). I guess there is only one direction they can go this season by my calculations.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP
OF Cameron Maybin (Maybin played 82 games for the Yankees last season and hit .285 with 11 home runs, 32 rbi’s, scored 48 runs and stole 9 bases. I think he is a valuable pickup. Cameron is a 13-year vet who can only help this young team.
SS Niko Goodrum (This is a team full of young players just hoping to get a chance to play every day and prove their talent. Niko is one of those guys who does many things well but nothing great. In 112 games last season he hit .248 with 12 home runs, 45 rbi’s, scored 61 runs, with 5 triples and stole 12 bases, plus he adds value to the team playing many positions. It will be interesting to see how he does in a full season)
DH Miguel Cabrera (2018 was injury-plagued when he only played in 38 games. I think the Tigers are looking forward to the day when they can buy out his contract but until then they might as well play him as much money as they are going to pay him. On the plus side, he continues to hit for average which just comes naturally to him even at his age. But his power numbers have dropped drastically and with the drop in HR’s comes the drop in RBI’s and that is why they paid him all that money, not to hit singles. I hate to see a great player like Miggy playing at such at a level below his usual standards but father time catches up to us all eventually)
1B CJ Cron (CJ has hit 25 & 30 home runs with Minnesota & Tampa Bay the past two seasons while hitting .253 with both clubs each season. Last year he had 78 rbi’s and scored 51 runs in 125 games played. Coming to a much weaker team guarantees a starting job and many more at-bats so look for his overall numbers to improve. His rbi’s may not increase by much, that will depend on his teammates getting on base)
2B Jonathan Schoop (Jonathon spent last season with the Twins where he improved some from 2018 where he split time between Milwaukee & Baltimore. Last year he hit just above his career season averages in most categories and I think he can do it again. In 2016/2017 with Baltimore, he smashed 25/32 homes runs while knocking in 82/105 runs. He is capable of having back to back years like that again, especially when opposing teams/pitchers are not expecting anything from the Tigers)
3B Jeimer Candelario (I will have to admit when writing these preview I am having to dig deep when doing the Tigers. Some of these guys are not your household names. Jeimer had a rough season in 2019. He opened the season batting leadoff and struggled and was sent down to the minors. He apparently made the necessary adjustments and was recalled in May. He struggled again at the major league level and ended back in the minors and come back up again. He hit .203 with 8 home runs, 32 rbi’s, scored 33 runs last season. I guess he should consider himself lucky to be one the worst team in baseball to get the chance at starting again)
OF Christin Stewart (Christin is going to start the season as a starter but needs to prove himself offensively because he is not known for his glove. He has been hindered by injuries in his first two years with the Tigers and they are hoping that has it what has hindered his numbers. Last year he hit .233 with 10 home runs, 40 rbi’s, scored 32 runs, had 86 hits in 104 games. He needs to cut down on his strikeouts. He struck out in 103 of his 369 at-bats. If he stays healthy 2020 will tell a lot about this young man)
C Austin Romine (Austin was a backup catcher with the Yankees last season and probably had the best season of his career and was rewarded with a $4.15 million one-year contract to be the starting catcher with the Detroit Tigers. Austin hit .281 with 8 home runs, 35 home runs, 29 runs scored. He is also considered a solid defensive catcher. Those numbers may not sound awesome but here is one way to look at it. The yanks always have a great roster and to be on that roster means you have got to be a pretty good player and Detroit’s roster is in the need of players like that)
OF Victor Reyes (Victor has shown enough in the minors and enough last season in the 69 games he played to be given a shot a starting in 2020. His .304 batting average was his most impressive stat in 276 at-bats. He had 84 hits but just 3 home runs & 25 rbi’s and scored 25 runs with 9 stolen bases. I get the feeling his power number will naturally increase in time as most of his numbers. I get the feeling he has potential)
LHP Matt Boyd (Matt pitched pretty well in his 14 starts but not so well in his last 18 starts, then again he is known for teasing you with how good he can be only to let you down. Very frustrating for Tiger fans, but then again for the worst team in baseball last season, they are fortunate to have a pitcher this good on the roster. He was 9-12 with a 4.56 era. What really killed him last year was the long ball. He allowed 39 homers in 185.1 innings which was 2nd worst in the American League. Expect more of the same in 2020, why would things change?)
Jordan Zimmermann (Yes this is the same Jordan Zimmermann that had so many successful years in Washington. I wonder if he regrets coming over to the Tigers. Last season was a nightmare. He went 1-13 with a 6.91 era in 23 starts. He gave up 145 hits and struck out 82 in 112 innings pitched while giving up 19 home runs. He has shown no signs of snapping out of it this spring either. The Tigers are in a tough spot with him still owed so much money. They might as well use to and get innings in. It makes no sense to bench him and throw money away. Who knows, stranger things have happened)
Ian Nova (When I think of Ian, I think of a guy of every once in a while is going to throw a gem and you think I have a really good pitcher on my staff. Then he throws a few clunkers in there and you wonder. For the most part, he is average with a 500 record, an era a little over 4.00 and will eat up innings for you. He is not a big strikeout pitcher and usually gives up more hits than innings pitched, so he will get himself in many jams that you will hope he can work his way out of. When he pitches you are in for an entertaining game that can be good or bad)
Spencer Turnbull (It is safe to say the Tigers, at least based on last season, have the worst 4th & 5th starters in baseball. Turnbull was 3-17 with a 4.61 era, allowing 154 hits in 148.1 innings pitched, but he did strikeout 146. Actually his era is not horrible with his win-loss record playing for the worst team in baseball. He only gave up 14 home runs in 30 games started, so maybe there is something to this kid and I am being too hard on him. I am going to keep a close eye on him and follow him all season long now, I am really curious how he does. I definitely get the feeling he is much better than his record indicates)
Daniel Norris (I do not think Daniel Norris would be a starter on any other MLB team other than the Tigers. I mean the last two years he is 3-18 with an era over 5.00. People say he looked good at the end of the year last season but if you look closer Detroit limited his starts to three innings his last nine starts. He sounds like a mid to long relief guy to me. I guess I can see starting him out as a 5th starter as see how it goes but would quickly make a change as soon as I see things going south)
CLOSER – JOE JIMENEZ (Joe struggled in the first half of the season while Shane Greene was the closer, but when Greene was traded at the end of July, Joe was forced to take over as the closer. Things went better and he will start off 2020 as the closer. He was 4-7 with a 4.37 era with 9 saves and 5 blown saves. He was credited with 15 holds while Greene was the closer. He did give up 13 home runs in 59.2 innings which he will need to improve upon. He did rack up 82 strikeouts in 59.2 innings of work)
They say no matter how good or bad you are, you are going to win a third of your games, you are going to lose a third of your games, and it is the other third of your games that makes up where you finish up in the standings. For the most part, I believe this is true. With 162 games in the season, 54 is that magical number. Only the Detroit Tigers last year was the team that makes me a liar. Well, I am willing to bet that it is not going to happen two years in a row.
How many times are you watching the scoreboard you see a score and you cannot believe “so and so’ beat Chris Sale at home? It happens all the time. Detroit feels like a minor league team. I had a heck of a time writing this preview looking up info on some of these players. But they are still Major League Players. I say these young guys with no pressure of having to win shock some people this season and maybe not lose 100 games. I am taking OVER the win total.