One of the most brutal seasons in recent memory is finally coming to a close, and while it might appear to be merciful in its end, the harsh reality is that there will not be any baseball in Detroit again until the end of next March. In the meantime, the team will be taking inventory on what went right, what went wrong, and who will be around for the 2020 season.
Candy is dandy at D
Starting with the bright spots — which admittedly there were very few of — on a team that played defense like a Little League squad, one name stood out with the glove. Jeimer Candelario, whose natural position is third base but also sees time at first, was honored for his chops at the former spot by Mark Simon of Sports Info Solutions in this article.
Candelario is the only option on a team that has barely performed above replacement level this season. He’s just outside the top five in defensive runs saved at third base. And he’s been way better than those teammates who have filled in there while Candelario was in the minors trying to get his bat going.
So while Candelario has left a lot to be desired with his bat this year, his performance on the infield dirt has warranted some attention as he proved to be the most reliable member of the team with the glove. This recognition was likely aided by JaCoby Jones’ precipitous regression in the outfield, but it is still encouraging to see a prospective future piece of the puzzle demonstrating defensive competence.
Tigers excel at ineptitude
There is really no gentle way to say this: the 2019 Detroit Tigers team was terrible. Historically terrible, in fact. But to add insult to injury, for the position players the depths of this squad’s ineptitude is only matched by two other teams this century — both of which were also fielded by the Tigers franchise.
The 2019 Tigers will join the… uh… 2002 and 2003 Tigers as having the worst position players in the last twenty years. https://t.co/6gSJVrLT0u— Eno Sarris (@enosarris) September 23, 2019
Mize and Manning seeing 2020
R.J. Anderson of CBS Sports takes a look at the top prospects on the Tigers’ farm as the season wanes and posits on the future of those players. The list starts off with Casey Mize and his advanced arsenal — along with the caveat of his health — and predicts that he will make his major league debut next spring. Much like Mize, Matt Manning sitting at No. 2 also projects to get his feet wet in the majors in about the same time frame.
Third on the list is Riley Greene, who despite his high strikeout numbers figures to be a big part of the Tigers future, but still needs a lot of seasoning in the minors before he sees the bright lights. No. 4 Tarik Skubal, who improved his stock more than any other player in the Tigers’ system, might also be on the fast track to the majors if he continues his meteoric trajectory. And rounding out the list in the fifth slot is Isaac Paredes, a youngster with tons of potential in his bat, who is projected to reach Detroit before the 2020 season is completed.
The last night at Tiger Stadium
This is a fantastic article by Cody Stavenhagen for The Athletic about the last night at Tiger Stadium 20 years ago. The narrative describes the scene from the vantage points of Tigers legend Al Kaline, West Michigan Whitecaps radio announcer Dan Hasty, voice of the Tigers Dan Dickerson and others. It is truly a walk down memory lane, revisiting the last night of the once great cathedral of baseball that oversaw a century of history — both on its fields and outside its gates.
Miguel Cabrera is entering the offseason at another crossroads, as he vows to abstain from his favorite Venezuelan delicacy, arepas (we have heard this one before). Season tickets for next year’s Tigers games are heavily incentivized, with options that include social gatherings, payment plans, and in-park discounts. What we learned last week about four Tigers making roster plays for 2020. Tigers fan Ely Hydes donates Pujols RBI milestone ball to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Florida State League announces 2019 executive awards, and there is no mention of the Flying Tigers.
Bark at the Park, from a first-dog POV
So ... we put a camera on a dog pic.twitter.com/yx0MKCYNnx— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) September 25, 2019
Around the horn
Here are the MVP, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year award favorites. FanGraphs asks, “Cody Bellinger or Christian Yelich for MVP?” Diving catches are amazing baseball highlights... but don’t they hurt? The Order: hitting the highlights by way of WPA. How Mitch Garver started catching strikes. The Pontiac Silverdome demolition cost $8 million dollars
Baseball is awesome: philanthropy edition
It's a team effort!@christin_stew and @ggreiner21 spent their off day volunteering on a build with @HabitatMichigan because it's #BiggerThanBaseball. pic.twitter.com/sB8ukj7YjG— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) September 23, 2019