We’ve got a shortened 60-game season, but despite the altered schedule, the season is still happening. As is tradition, this week’s question: What record do you predict for the truncated 2020 Tigers’ season?
Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
It seems like forever ago, but the Tigers in fact made some off-season investments to improve the club going into 2020 after being the worst team in MLB, especially adding some pop in the middle of the lineup in Jonathon Schoop and CJ Cron. Combine that with guys like Michael Fulmer and Miguel Cabrera getting healthy and able to contribute, and this team should be markedly better coming out of the gate compared to where they started last year. On the other hand, there’s a greater likelihood that youngsters like Casey Mize, Matt Manning and Isaac Paredes are going to get a look at the big league level, and those growing pains usually have an impact on the record, and not in a good way (at least if you equate good with wins). I think you’re likely to see a more competitive team this year, especially in the first half of the season, but the holes that the team has are likely going to become more pronounced and obvious, and the talent gap will ultimately win out. I see the Tigers wrapping up the year at 20-40 and finishing last in the AL Central, as they spend the 2nd month of the two month season investing in their younger players and missing out on a few more wins because of it.
Mark Anderson, Director of Scouting
I’ll start by saying anything is possible on a shorter season and that can’t be ignored. Hell, at the start of last season there was some noise that the Tigers weren’t THAT bad based on a start in the neighborhood of .500. That notion disappeared quickly and permanently when they collapsed and finished with the worst record in the league. While that could happen again, and if it does, the expanded playoffs could make things interesting for Tiger fans. All that said, this team still projects as woefully deficient in just about every facet of the game. The bats aren’t likely to be consistent enough to slug for wins. The arms are likely to be inconsistent enough that they will need to score runs. And the defense could be spotty on a few places, furthering challenges on the pitching front. It’s going to be a rough go in 2020 but there should be some big name prospects debuting this year, which will make up for the mounting losses. The Tigers struggle plenty but show an intriguing future during the late games of the season, finishing 18-42.
Joe Heintskill, Staff Writer
The Tigers should field a more competitive team in 2020. The front office worked hard to upgrade the roster during the off-season with free-agent additions, C.J. Cron, Jonathon Schoop, Austin Romine, Ivan Nova and Cameron Maybin. Each player has proven to be a capable performer which is something Detroit lacked at many positions last year. Add to that a healthy, fit Miguel Cabrera (who should benefit from only playing 60 games) and the return of a Michael Fulmer and it’s easy to make the argument the roster is far more talented than before. This is also likely the season the rebuild starts to bare fruit and some of the prized prospects debut in Detroit. Casey Mize, Matt Manning, and Isaac Paredes seem likely to see time with the big league club this year and that further improves the talent and adds some serious excitement. But, (guessing you saw that coming) improvement and contention are not the same thing when talking about a team that lost 114 games and was out-scored by 333 runs (yes, that’s a lot). Look for the team to be more competitive early but fade late as another trade deadline as sellers opens up spots for younger players during the second (and final) month of the season. I predict a 22-38 record for Detroit which is a slightly better than a .350 winning percentage. Hey, it was .292 last year, so that is progress.
Joe Underhill, Staff Writer
The Tigers finally spent some money on legit MLB players in the signing on Jonathan Schoop, CJ Cron, Austin Romine, and Cameron Maybin. So far in summer camp Schoop and Cron have delivered on their power potential and Romine as been a solid presence behind the plate. The return to health of Miguel Cabrera and Michael Fulmer, along with the continued development of young guys like Victor Reyes, Spencer Turnbull, Tyler Alexander and JaCoby Jones. Of course, the major excitement for the shortened MLB season will be the expected debuts of Casey Mize, Matt Manning and possibly Daz Cameron and Isaac Paredes. While the seeing the young guys will be exciting it is important to remember it is a big jump to the Majors and expectations and club success might not mesh immediately. Lastly, we don’t really know how the trade deadline is going to work this year. It is possible some of the shiny new toys (who are all on 1-year deals) will be shipped off to a contender. All things considered, I think this years Detroit Tigers will be a lot more fun to watch and will be more competitive than last year’s team. I see the Tigers finishing third in the Central Division with a record of 25-35. This is a summer that should lay the foundation for the next version of playoff caliber Tigers teams.