During the recording of a recent episode of the Bless You Boys podcast, we found ourselves stumped by what seemed to be a routine question leading up to the first week of the season: who did we think the Detroit Tigers Rookie of the Year would be? Last season, the staff were evenly split in our predictions of it being either JaCoby Jones or Joe Jimenez.
This year’s crop of young talent for the team doesn’t offer a clear contender for the mantle, and the predictions are made especially difficult when we factor in that many of the team’s “rookies” have actually already surpassed rookie limitations, making them ineligible to win (you can find MLB’s rookie eligibility rules here).
Let’s take a look at the Tigers’ potential rookies for the upcoming season.
Michael Fulmer won Rookie of the Year honors in 2016, at both with the Tigers and for the entire American League. It’s unlikely any of the Tigers rookie pitchers will get enough reps to make as substantial an impact as Fulmer did, but stranger things have happened.
Sandy Baez — no major league innings pitched
Ryan Carpenter — no major league innings pitched
Eduardo Jimenez — no major league innings pitched
Artie Lewicki — 10 1⁄3 major league innings pitched
Grayson Long — no major league innings pitched
Gerson Moreno — no major league innings pitched
Zac Reininger — 9 2⁄3 major league innings pitched
Gregory Soto — no major league innings pitched
Spencer Turnbull — no major league innings pitched
Of these young arms, there are several who are unlikely to even appear at the major league level this season, so your top most likely candidates in this group are Ryan Carpenter, or Spencer Turnbull, and Zac Reininger. Joe Jimenez has not exceeded his innings pitched, but has exceeded the service time limits, making him ineligible.
Most likely: Ryan Carpenter? Sure.
This one is rough. The clear favorite for the title would have been Jeimer Candelario, especially after his hot start initially last season, but Candelario has 138 major league at-bats making him ineligible for the rookie label.
Sergio Alcantara (INF) — no major league at-bats
Mike Gerber (OF) — no major league at-bats
Niko Goodrum (INF) — 17 major league at-bats
Grayson Greiner (C) — no major league at-bats
Dawel Lugo (INF) — no major league at-bats
Victor Reyes (OF) — no major league at-bats
Ronny Rodriguez (INF) — no major league at-bats
Again, there are several names on this list who may not get to the Tigers this season. Grayson Grenier, for example, probably wouldn’t see time unless both James McCann and John Hicks were on the DL, since the Tigers will likely maintain a veteran catcher with MLB experience at the Triple-A level — either Derek Norris or Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
There’s also still a question of who the Tigers will hold onto Victor Reyes, who they would need to relinquish to the Arizona Diamondbacks if they decided not to keep him at the major league level. Lots of questions linger here, making it hard to know which, if any, of these guys has the best odds.
Most likely: Hard to say, but let’s go with Dawel Lugo.
As you can tell, this is a tough season to find a clear front-runner for the Tigers Rookie of the Year, meaning it’s really anyone’s award to win. Hopefully one of the young guys above will dazzle with really impressive numbers in 2018, making this field a lot more clear by the All-Star break.
Who do you think will be the Tigers’ Rookie of the Year in 2018?
This poll is closed