There may be no team in baseball that stands to benefit more from the abbreviated 60-game season than the 2020 Detroit Tigers. Pegged by nearly all sportsbooks to finish 14th or 15th in the American League, and 28th, 29th or 30th in MLB, the Tigers will hope to capitalize on expanded player pools and small sample sizes.
The Tigers’ 2020 season will begin Friday, July 24, with a three-game road set against the Cincinnati Reds. Deemed their rival from the National League Central, the Tigers and Reds will play six games this season with the remaining three taking place at Comerica Park from July 31 – Aug. 2 as part of a season-long nine-game homestand. The season will end with a six-game road swing from Sept. 22 – 27 against the Minnesota Twins and Kansas City Royals.
The 60-game season will be comprised by 10 games against each of the AL Central rival Twins, Royals, Cleveland Indians, and Chicago White Sox. The remaining 14 games come against NL Central opponents will be played against the Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds, Milwaukee Brewers and Pittsburgh Pirates. The AL Central is also much improved, with the White Sox are expected to be one of baseball’s most improved teams.
The Tigers did little to improve on a roster that finished 47-114 and last in the Central last season. Free-swinging 2B Jonathan Schoop and 1B C.J. Cron were the biggest additions. Infielder Josh Harrison was the biggest free-agent loss. Nicholas Castellanos was the team’s leader with a .790 OPS last season before being traded to the Chicago Cubs and since signing with the Reds.
Second baseman Niko Goodrum was one of few pleasant surprises last season with 12 homers and 12 stolen bases in 112 games. First baseman Miguel Cabrera took yet another step back with a .282/.346/.398 slash line and just 12 home runs in 136 games.
The Tigers’ biggest hope for improvement is an expanded player pool that will include recent top prospects SP Casey Mize (first overall, 2018), OF Riley Greene (fifth overall, 2019), and 1B Spencer Torkelson (first overall, 2020).
Tigers odds 2020
Tigers betting breakdown
2019 Record: 47-114
Key Losses: IF Josh Harrison, C John Hicks, RHP Edwin Jackson, OF Mikie Mahtook, RHP Tyson Ross, RHP Trevor Rosenthal
Key Additions: RHP Dario Agrazal, 1B C.J. Cron, OF Cameron Maybin, RHP Ivan Nova, C Austin Romine, 2B Jonathan Schoop
1. CF Cameron Maybin (R)
2. SS Niko Goodrum (S)
3. DH Miguel Cabrera (R)
4. 1B C.J Cron (R)
5. 2B Jonathan Schoop (R)
6. 3B Jeimer Candelario (S)
7. LF Christin Stewart (L)
8. C Austin Romine (R)
9. RF Victor Reyes (S)
Projected Rotation: LHP Matt Boyd, RHP Jordan Zimmerman, RHP Ivan Nova, RHP Spencer Turnbull, LHP Daniel Norris
Projected Closer: RHP Joe Jimenez
Bullpen Strengths: Joe Jimenez is locked in the closer role coming off a 2019 with 4.37 ERA with 82 SO, 23 BB in 66 Games (59.2 IP). Buck Farmer looks to be the most reliable set-up man. The 29-year-old posted a 3.72 ERA with 73 SO, 24 BB in 73 Games (67.2 IP) in 2019.
Bullpen Weaknesses: Jose Cisnero allowed 19 walks in just 35.1 innings in 2019. Gregory Soto appeared in 33 Games last season for Detroit and posted 5.77 ERA and allowed 33 Walks in 57.2 IP. The TIgers pen could have as many as five bullpen arms under the age of 27 (Soto, Bryan Garcia, John Schrieber, Matt Hall, David McKay).
Key Stats from 2019
- The Tigers went 25-81 (.236) after June 1st in 2019.
- Prospect Joey Wents went 2-0 with a 2.10 ERA in five starts for AA Erie and could debut in 2020 (Athlon).
- Tigers selected P Casey Mize (Auburn) with the number one pick in 2018, he could debut this year. TIgers took OF Riley Greene (Hagerty, FL) with the 5th pick in 2019.
- Miguel Cabrera earned $30M in 2019 and will earn $30M in 2020. (30M in 21, 32M in 22, 32M in 23).