2021 Detroit Tigers Depth Chart
The Detroit Tigers have been an afterthought for the past few seasons. Depleting the pitching staff and lowering aces to the sharks has left the team with little to work with. The Tigers rotation once favored the names of Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander. Both talents departed town a few seasons back, leaving little leftovers for the organization to sample from. Miguel Cabrera is on the tail-end of his career and it won’t be long before the prospect of playing alongside this future Hall of Fame talent will be a distant memory. The future is promising with a heavy emphasis on the development of the farm team, calling for the major league squad to hold steady until these players arrive.
|Catcher||Wilson Ramos||Grayson Greiner|
|1st Base||Miguel Cabrera||Niko Goodrum|
|2nd Base||Jonathan Schoop|
|Shortstop||Willi Castro||Niko Goodrum|
|3rd Base||Jeimer Candelario|
|Left Field||Akil Baddoo||Robbie Grossman|
|Center Field||JaCoby Jones||Akil Baddoo|
|Right Field||Victor Reyes|
|Designated Hitter||Robbie Grossman||Nomar Mazara|
Despite the loss of 2 aces, this rotation still features some impressive names. Jordan Zimmermann comes from the same system that saw the development path of Max Scherzer take shape. While Zimmermann could use some rub-off of Scherzer’s talent, he’ll have to rely on hitting his mark with his pitches. He is 7-7 on a shortened season due to injury, but a bounceback is not a stretch of the imagination. Speaking of bounceback, Michael Fulmer is in desperate need of this assistance. His game has become too predictable for the opposition and he has been shelled heavily this year. An unmentionable ERA teamed with little opportunity for wins has really put a dent in his skill set. His track still allows for developmental periods, but this must be sorted quickly, or he will find himself on the outside of the starting rotation. Thankfully, the farm system is heavy at the pitching position. Amongst the team’s top-10 prospects, 6 of them are pitchers. This includes Casey Mize, the number one pick in the 2018 MLB Draft. The team can only play the waiting game so long, so these players will be pushed into perspective roles to see how they adapt. This minor league depth adopts for the team to pick and choose which talents they force into action and having many talents bodes well to the revitalization of their starting and relief pitching.
Miguel Cabrera is the team’s all-around best talent. Cabrera has lost a step, limiting his effectiveness at the plate and in defensive support. He often trades with Victor Martinez for DH duties as both players have seen better times in terms of stamina and health. Miggy is still producing at near a .300-clip, which is impressive for a player on his 15th season in the league. Jose Iglesias was highly touted when featured in the Red Sox system. Unfortunately, his batting never took a stronghold, but his defensive skills are serviceable. Nick Goodrum represents the second-coming of the Tiger’s future. While his numbers aren’t all that gaudy, he is still learning to adapt to big league play. The infield doesn’t feature a lot of depth, which forces veterans into heavier roles than should be prescribed. The farm system is meek at this tier, so finding support through free agency and other avenues could be the case for this squad in terms of future considerations.
The most consistent player in the outfield is Nick Castellanos. It was thought that the team would part ways with Castellanos in favor of getting their younger names more experience. Castellanos has stood firm and produced one of the best seasons at the plate in his 5-year career. Castellanos is only 26 and he could remain as an interesting piece in this rebuild. His increased rake, power surge, and RBI totals create a promising outlook for this former, high-end prospect. The rest of the outfield is occupied by place holders and fill-ins. One of the top fill-ins is JaCoby Jones. Jones comes from the Pirates farm system where he added favorable production at all levels of the minor leagues. He is still adjusting to a major league system, but this will come with time and practice of craft.
The starting lineup is currently filled with a lot of unrecognizable names. Castellanos occupies a power position, slotting anywhere from 2nd to 5th in the batting order. His is their consistent, everyday guy. Jose Iglesias also plays share in this format and his batting position is predicted by match-up advantage. Victor Martinez and Miguel Cabrera usually find solace in the middle of the order with the rest of the slots being occupied by their fill-in and utility players. They have a lot of pop in the middle of the order, which has helped production to favor their depleted pitching staff. Despite a miserable record, this offense can still contend on any given night.