For Tigers fans, gone are the days of shiny new signings and World Series hopes. The days of 3 Cy Young winners in the rotation are no longer. Now, Detroit settles for signings of former All-Stars past their prime. Tigers games are used as mere background noise for those working from home. The team is years from contending. But this does not mean all joy is lost. The AJ Hinch-led squad can be exciting if we look in the right places…
Former #1 overall pick Casey Mize enters his first full year with the Tigers after testing the MLB waters over 28 innings in 2020. Mize is known for his nasty splitter and looks to improve from a 6.99 ERA in his debut campaign.
Next, Matt- definitely the best athlete with this last name ever – Manning was the ninth overall selection for Detroit back in 2016. He is the favorite to become a #2 starter next to Mize. Manning has a great fastball and curveball and has recently added a changeup to keep batters guessing.
The last is Tarik Skubal, a gem the Tigers found in the 29th round of the 2017 draft. The lefty has been a strikeout machine, recording the highest swinging strike rate in the minors at 18.1 percent. At 24, his offspeed pitches still need some refining, but Skubal has already shown his ceiling is high and he is still developing.
The Tigers Trinity: Castro, Paredes, and Cameron
Infielder Willi Castro was a low-key acquisition in 2018 when he was traded from the Indians for Leonys Martin and a prospect. An MLB prospect signed at the age of 16, he finally got the chance to explode in 2020. Castro batted .349 with 4 doubles and 6 homers – putting him in 4th place for AL Rookie of the Year.
3B Isaac Paredes was the “other prospect” alongside Jeimer Candelario in the Alex Avila-Justin Wilson deal. He is a great contact hitter with an ability to get extra bases. Last season, Paredes hit .220 with 4 doubles and 7 runs alongside 22 hits. He is well-balanced on the defensive end and still has time to keep getting better at just 21 years old.
Daz Cameron is yet another trade piece to emerge from the slew of Tigers trades back in 2017. The former top-40 pick is an amazing defensive CF – which the team needs playing in Comerica’s endless outfield. Cameron’s hitting needs to improve – he can be clutch when needed – but he will no doubt be a major contributor this season.
“Tork” became the first 1B/3B to be drafted first overall in 22 years for one reason: he can hit. At Arizona State, he more than doubled Barry Bonds’s freshman home run record with 25 long balls in 2018. He is not just the Tigers’ top prospect. He is the fourth-best developmental talent in the entire MLB. Torkelson is currently rostered with the Lakeland Flying Tigers. He is slated to make his Comerica debut in 2022. But expect to see no shortage of Tork Bombs on your timeline this year.
This is not to say these prospects are perfect, or all of them will pan out for the Tigers. But, it is that hope that will keep us from disavowing the team altogether this season. The future is bright in Detroit. Let’s hope this young group can one day bring us our first title since 1984.