The promotional bit: Welcome to SB Nation FanPulse, a survey of fans across MLB. Each week, we send 30 polls to plugged in fans from each team. Detroit Tigers fans, sign up here to join FanPulse.
Earlier this week, the powers that be at SB Nation sent out this year’s first FanPulse survey. We asked a few quick questions about the Tigers heading into Opening Day, including how people feel about manager Ron Gardenhire, and the results were... well, let’s be nice and say they were surprisingly positive for a team coming off back-to-back 98-loss seasons.
Chief among them were the questions asked about the Tigers’ brass. A whopping 89 percent (!) of fans said they approve of how Gardenhire is doing as the team’s manager heading into the upcoming season.
You can’t get 89 percent of people to agree on anything these days — except how badly this guy ruined bagels, I guess — so seeing Gardy’s approval rating that high is a bit of a shocker. Unless the Tigers come out of the gate on a hot streak this year, human nature suggests that figure is almost certain to go down as the season progresses.
We also asked some other questions, and those results were similarly one-sided.
Are you confident in the direction of the team?
This result was also a bit surprising considering the team’s recent success (or lack thereof) and their poor projections heading into 2019. However, many people seem to be looking beyond wins and losses. General manager Al Avila and the rest of the Tigers front office have been hard at work restocking the minor league pipeline with prospects, resulting in a borderline top-10 farm system as we head into the upcoming season. We should start to see the fruits of their labor as early as 2019, when some of the team’s top prospects start to reach the major leagues.
Will the Tigers win the World Series?
Three percent of you are lying.
Will Casey Mize make his major league debut in 2019?
Though we would love to see Casey Mize and several other prospects come up and make an immediate impact this season, I agree with the majority here — the Tigers are not likely to call Mize up to the majors in 2019. Though he is widely regarded as one of the most polished pitching prospects in the minors, he still needs some developmental time. Rare is the pitcher who can come up and dominate within a year of being drafted (remember Justin Verlander’s ugly 2005 numbers?).
Plus, it may even contribute to an upcoming 40-man roster crunch. With several other prospects reaching Rule 5 draft eligibility following the 2019 season, the Tigers may need as many spots on the 40-man roster as necessary to protect all of their young talent. If they call up Mize in 2019, fun as that may be, it would take away a roster spot from another player that would potentially need it in December.
For those interested: According to the last update I received, this week’s FanPulse survey was sent out to roughly 100 people. We did not receive a count of how many surveys were completed. If you are interested in contributing, please sign up for FanPulse here.