It will come as a surprise to no one who watched the Tigers last season that the early projections for the team in 2020 are... not great. The team went 47-115 in 2019, narrowly missing a historically bad record, and by many metrics having one of the worst baseball seasons of modern memory.
On Tuesday morning USA Today released their annual projections for the 2020 season, and no shock here, they predicted the Tigers to be dead last of all major league teams, with a 54-108 record. This suggests that the moves the Tigers made this offseason in signing the likes of Austin Romine, C.J. Cron, Jonathan Schoop, and Ivan Nova will be worth roughly seven wins over the previous year.
It’s hard to imagine the Tigers having a worse season than they did in 2019, and by adding some genuine major league talent to their roster for 2020, most fans are hoping to see them flirt with at least 60 wins. The USA Today projections, of course, are not a crystal ball so much as an educated guess.
Last season they were close on some, correctly predicting the division winners for the AL East and West, while they undersold the 101-game winning Twins by almost 20 games. They were off in the NL, only getting the Dodgers right as a division winner, though they had predicted a three-way tie between the Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers, and for a while the NL Central was the tightest division in baseball.
Bad news for Tigers fans, though, is how close the USA Today prediction for the Orioles was last year, when they said 56-106 and the O’s went 54-108.
This year there are not a lot of surprises to lead things off, except perhaps how highly they think of the Cincinnati Reds offseason moves, predicting they’ll be second in the NL Central. The divisions will look much the same as last year, which will likely be the case with most predictions this year, no doubt.
Possibly the best part of this prediction, if it were to play out exactly as shown above, is the potential four-way tie for the second NL Wild Card spot, with the Mets, Phillies, Reds, and Diamondbacks all slated to have 85-77 records. Yes please, weird postseason baseball.
If the USA Today predictions touch anywhere close to reality, it’s going to be another tough year for Tigers fans, but at least somewhat better than 2019.