The 2021 MLB season will be here before we know it. Pitchers are catchers reported on time, Spring Training is underway and we might have a full 162 game season with fans — hopefully. Between now and the start of Opening Day, we plan to BRKDWN each team’s offseason reviews and what to look forward to this upcoming season. Next up, the Detroit Tigers.
P Julio Teheran (Free Agent)
OF Nomar Mazara (Free Agent)
2B Jonathan Schoop (Free Agent)
C Wilson Ramos (Free Agent)
P Matt Boyd (Re-Sign)
P Michael Fulmer (Re-Sign)
P Jose Urena (Free Agent)
C Austin Romine (Free Agent)
3B Dawel Lugo (Free Agent)
P Ivan Nova (Free Agent)
P Jordan Zimmerman (Free Agent)
1B C.J. Cron (Free Agent)
2020 Look Back
23-35 .397 W% Finished 12 Game Back of AL Central, 8 Games Back Of AL Wild Card
Runs: Jeimer Candelario (30)
Home Runs: Miguel Cabrera (10)
Batting Average: Willi Castro (.349)
Slugging %: Willi Castro (.550)
ERA: Bryan Garcia (1.66)
Strikeouts: Matthew Boyd (60)
WHIP Michael Fulmer (2.06)
Opp. Avg. Gregory Soto (.193)*
*Min 20 IP
Projected 2021 Season
Unfortunately, it is hard to give a projection to the uncertainty of how many games will be played at this time. But based on last year’s 60 game season, if a full 162 game schedule is played the Tigers could win 61-67 games. They are +10000 to win the World Series, +6000 to win the A.L. Pennant, and +4000 to win the AL Central.
*odds via DraftKings
OF – Robbie Grossman
2B – Jonathan Schoop
DH – Miguel Cabrera
3B – Jeimer Candelario
C – Wilson Ramos
OF – Nomar Mazara
1B –Renato Nunez
OF – Jacoby Jones
SS – Willi Castro
Offense: 249 Runs (23rd), 62 Home Runs (23rd), .245 Team Avg. (15th), .379 SLG (20th)
Finishing in the bottom third in a majority of offensive categories, the Tigers look to rebound this year as they added some offense this offseason; adding Nomar Mazara and Wilson Ramos to the lineup. They are attempting to rebuild the right way, drafting young talented players to join the bigs in a few years, but this year’s Tigers team could be a surprise with the improved lineup. It appears to be more balanced than last year, but looks can be deceiving. They might not have household names, but they do have veteran leadership with Miguel Cabrera who had a bounce back year in a short season, basically matching his HR and RBI total in 57 games compared to a full 2019 season.
Pitching: 5.63 Team ERA (30th), 444K’s (29th), 1.43 Team WHIP (23rd), .265 Opp. Avg(26th)
Not a lot of games are going to be won when you:
1) give up a lot of runs
2) can’t strike batters out
3) give up a ton of hits
That’s exactly how bad the Tigers rotation was last year, finishing last or close to last in the league in the three main pitching categories. They did improve the rotation a little bit on the back end, signing Julio Terhan and Jose Urena, but Tarik Skubal and Casey Mize should also be in the mix for back-end of the rotation spots early in the season. If they aren’t, they will be up by mid-season contributing to the slow rebuild the Tigers have in place.
Top 10 Prospects (via MLB.com)
- Spencer Torkelson 3B/1B ETA 2022 (Overall 3)
- Casey Mize RHP ETA 2021 (Overall 11)
- Riley Greene OF ETA 2022 (Overall 21)
- Tarik Skubal LHP ETA 2021 (Overall 24)
- Matt Manning RHP ETA 2021 (Overall 25)
- Isaac Paredes 3B ETA 2021
- Daz Cameron OF ETA 2021
- Dillon Dingler C ETA 2023
- Joey Wentz LHP ETA 2021
- Alex Faedo RHP ETA 2021
Who doesn’t love a great list of prospects? The Tigers have one of the best farm systems in the Majors, led by the #3 overall prospect in the minors, Spencer Torkleson, who was drafted #1 in the 2020 draft. Torkelson won’t likely make the MLB in 2021, but will push for a spot in the Tigers lineup next season. Riley Green should have a cup of coffee in the Majors this year, since beside Mazara, the outfield in Detroit isn’t much to “wow” people. On the mound, the other three of their top five prospects are pitchers. We already know about Mize and Skuball, but this year, Matt Manning needs to show he is one of the league’s best pitching prospects, otherwise he will continue to get passed up in the ranks.
Moves That Need To Happen During The Year:
1) Be patient Tigers Fans
Easier said than done. We all want to see what Torkelson can do in the Majors, but we aren’t going to see that happen until at least 2022. Mize, Manning and Skubal will become the next “big three” in terms of pitching, but growing pains will come with them. Just be patient and let the kids learn and develop at the Major League level. The payoff will be worth the wait.
2) Do NOT trade Miguel Cabrera
This goes back to being patient. He provides such a veteran presence on a young team, that his leadership won’t go unnoticed and can help teach and mold the young players like Riley Green, Daz Cameron and Isaac Paredes. He will likely lead the team in a majority of offensive stats as well, and that production will be hard to replace or expect from some of the younger guys.
The Tigers are still a few years away from competing in the American League. The Central isn’t as good as people make it out to be, I feel, and maybe they can snag a Wild Card spot, but very unlikely. They should be better than the Royals, the Twins could take a step back and the White Sox still need to prove last year’s Wild Card wasn’t a fluke (with more teams making the playoffs) in a full season, leaving just Cleveland as the most consistent team in the division.