Welcome to the DAYS before opening day! I hope you have enjoyed spring training as much as I have. Baseball is close! I am overjoyed! March begins the official Ball Boy Blog previews of all 30 teams. The previews feature all the Free Agent signings, trades, NRI, bold predictions, and some cool fun facts at the end! We are starting at the top of the 2020 ranks and working our way down from best to worst! Enjoy!
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AL Team: Detroit Tigers
Last Year Record: 23-35 last place in the AL Central
Record x2.7: 62.1-94.5
Vegas Projected: Vegas has the Tigers winning 68.5 games in 2021. To me, the Tigers are only a year or two away from their rebuild goals into true contention in the AL Central. I have them slotted to win 61 games. However, 68 doesn't seem out of the realm of possibilities.
RHP Ivan Nova(FA), 2B Jonathan Schoop(FA), C Austin Romine(FA), RHP Jordan Zimmerman(FA), 1B CJ Cron(FA), P Will Vest(rule 5)
Free Agent Signings:
OF Nomar Mazara(25) to a 1yr $1.75mil with incentives. From 2017-19 with the Rangers, he hit .259/.320/.440 with 59HR over 1621PA. In 2020 he was miserable for the White Sox as he hit .228/.295/.294 in 149PA.
2B Jonathan Schoop- In 2020 with the club, he hit .278/.324/.475 with 8HR over 177PA.
C Wilson Ramos- Ramos slashed .239/.297/.387 in 155PA during the 2020 campaign. Ramos coming in should buy more time for Jake Rogers to develop. Ramos will also be the vet in the catcher's room with Grayson Greiner, Dustin Garneau, Eric Haase, and Rogers's above-mentioned.
OF Robbie Grossman- Grossman brings the Tigers a career .252/.350/.380 slash with 50HR in 2748PA.
RHP Jose Urena- Between 2017-18, Urena has the most productive years of his career, posting a 3.90ERA/4.68FIP with a 6.36K/9 and 46.3% groundball rate over 343.2IP. The last couple of years haven't been as friendly to the 29yo Urena as he owns a 5.25ERA/5.02FIP over 108IP.
SP Matt Boyd, 1B Jeimer Candelario, OF Jacoby Jones, LHP Daniel Norris, RHP Joe Jimenez, RHP Buck Farmer, RHP Joes Cisnero, SP Michael Fulmer, SS Niko Goodrum.
MLB Rule 5 Additions:
OF Akil Baddoo- The 22yo CF has yet to play above high A ball and will have spring training to get ready. In his MiLB career, he has slashed .249/.357/.422. The kid can get on base, and when he does, he moves as he has 47SB to 12CS over 1018PA.
RHP Matt Manning(Over 133.2IP, he has a 2.56ERA, 10.0K/9), RHP Alex Faedo, RHP Alex Lange, and LHP Joey Wentz. Each was top 40 picks in their respective drafts.
INF/DH- Renato Nunez- - The 26yo had 43HR over the past two seasons. However, he is a subpar defender at both corner INF positions.
RHP Wily Peralta- The 32yo hadn't played on a team since July 2019, when the Royals released him. From 2012-19 he had 120 starts, 211 appearances with a 4.52ERA/4.39SIERA over 779.1IP.
LHP Derek Holland- Coming off 2020, where he made five starts and seven appearances out of the pen, he had a 6.86ERA/6.14FIP. Holland, now 34yo he will look to keep it going with the Tigers.
LHP Robbie Roos- Ross hasn't pitched since the 2016 season, posting a 3.83 ERA over 321 2/3 innings as a workhorse member of the Rangers and Red Sox bullpens from 2012-16 (also starting 12 games with Texas in 2014)
RHP Andrew Moore- tossed 63 2/3 innings for the Mariners (posting a 5.51 ERA) over parts of the 2017 and 2019 seasons.
RHP Ben Taylor, RHP Cale Coshow, RHP Ricardo Pinto, LHRP Ian Krol, C Dustin Garneau, LHP Locke St. John, INF Isrrael de la Cruz, RHP AJ Ladwig, RHP Henry Martinez, RHP Zac Shepherd, LHP Miguel Del Pozo, 1B Aderlin Rodriguez, INF Yariel Gonzalez, ING Drew Ward, INF Greg Garcia, INF Greg Garcia
Returning from IL:
3B Jeimer Candelario, OF JaCoby Jones, OF Troy Stokes Jr., 2B Jonathan Schoop
-Rule 5 draft pick Akil Baddoo(see above) has been killing the baseball in spring training and will get his shot at the everyday roster.
-Pitcher Tarrick Skubal will be making the opening day roster and is locked in as a member of the rotation for the foreseeable future. He came into camp more mature and with the perfect mindset to take on the role.
-Fellow high upside pitcher Casey Mize has struggled with command issues all spring, issuing many walks and not looking confident or comfortable on the bump.
-To complete the Tigers pitchers' trio, Matt Manning has looked great in spring, missing backs and looking confident.
-I haven't seen a lot of Torkelson this spring. I would expect to see him in AAA to start the season with a midyear callup. Who else would I put at the Rookie to watch other than INF Spencer Torkelson? I wouldn't be allowed to blog if I choose anyone else. Tork is destined to be the Tiger's next Miggy. I thought they would give him a shot in 2020, but I guess we will all need to settle on seeing him in 2021.
Fantasy Impact Players
Pitchers- Tarik Skyball, Matt Boyd, CL Brian Garcia
Position- 2B Jonathan Schoop, UTL Nico Goodrum, SS Willi Castro, OF JaCoby Jones
Upcoming 2022 Free Agents:
-Assuming every one of the following is on the opening day roster- Jonathan Schoop, Daniel Norris, Jose Urena, Julio Teheran, Wilson Ramos, Nomar Mazara, Wily Peralta, and Derek Holland will each be free agents who the club could flip mid-season.
Storylines to follow
-See the storylines on the prospects above.
-NRI Julio Teheran has been lighting it up in camp and should easily make the everyday rotation.
-The NRI to watch is INF Renato Nunez. The 26yo has hit 43HR over the last two seasons and was a surprise non-tender by the O's this winter. He is a subpar defender at both corner INF positions. But the option of having a slugger at the DH spot for the club is fascinating.
-I think with AJ Hinch in town and an incredibly talented roster and farm system. The Tigers are building a dynasty.
-The rebound season is coming for OF Nomar Mazara. The 25yo Mazara posted a -0.1WAR with a .228/.295/.294 slash in 136AB and the White Sox decided it was best to move on. The power dropped off for Mazara in 2020 after 19+HR from 2016-2019. With a rebound in the HR department, Mazara will be an excellent piece for the Tigers long-term.
-The breakout season is coming for OF JaCoby Jones. After posting a 0.6WAR with a .268/.333/.515 slash in just 97AB. I am a fan of the 28yo Jones. Jones has done nothing but improves in his time at the MLB level going from a .214/.214/.321 slash in his first taste of MLB action. Jones is my favorite OF on these young Tigers.
Had he not been vacationing in Hawaii, Babe Ruth would have become the Detroit Tigers manager. During the 1933-34 offseason, team owner Frank Navin knew he needed a winner in his dugout. He had a talented young team, built around Charlie Gehringer and young slugger Hank Greenberg. But the Yankees were still the class of the league, and everyone was chasing them. Yankee slugger Babe Ruth was near the end of the line, and New York was ready to part ways with him. Navin decided to offer the Yankees some cash to acquire the great slugger's rights, who desperately wanted to become a manager. But Ruth was in Honolulu on an extended vacation, and Navin was unable to meet with him. Instead, he offered Connie Mack a deal to acquire catcher Mickey Cochrane. The move proved to be just what the Tigers ordered: they won pennants in each of Cochrane's first two seasons and the World Series in 1935.
Thanks for reading today, I am so grateful for your time reading, and I hope you enjoyed reviewing and previewing the Tigers 2021. I also want to thank my partners over at Repp Sports for RAZE Energy. Thanks to this clean and sufficient energy, I can have the intense focus to deliver content to you guys consistently. Click here to save 15% right now with the code "BALL BOY" at check out.