Major League Baseball’s Opening Day is just three weeks away, and while there is still plenty of spring baseball to be played, the Detroit Tigers’ 26-man roster appears to be slowly taking shape. Last week we asked, “What will the Tigers bullpen look like on Opening Day?” and got a great deal of good suggestions. But what about the team as a whole?
Cody Stavenhagen published his second projection of the 2020 Opening Day roster for the Tigers at The Athletic on Tuesday, and his prognostications appear to be prescient early this spring. The catching corps is a predictable combination of Grayson Greiner and Austin Romine, while C.J. Cron, Jonathan Schoop, Niko Goodrum, and Jeimer Candelario round the horn from first to third. Christin Stewart, JaCoby Jones, Cameron Maybin, and Victor Reyes are expected to man the outfield; of course, Miguel Cabrera will serve as the primary designated hitter.
Stavenhagen fleshes out the remainder of the roster in his article — including the pitching staff — and the overall message is that the 26 men who head north are unlikely to stray far from the expectations of the media and fans. Of course, injuries and significantly poor performances are variables that will come into play as Opening Day approaches, but one can pretty much expect to see the names listed above in Detroit when March 26 arrives.
Skubal: ‘Every pitch is valuable’
After coming into las season a dark horse among highly-touted pitching prospects, Tarik Skubal forced his way to the front of the conversation last summer thanks to perseverance and hard work. Now that the bar has been raised by the talented young lefthander, our fourth-ranked prospect in the Tigers system is taking note of all of his on-field experiences — literally.
According to MLB.com’s Jason Beck, Skubal has been “phoning it in” after every game, jotting down his thoughts after each outing, in a similar vein to J.D. Martinez’s notebook.
“I keep a little note on my phone of outings, good or bad. And then going into bullpen [sessions], I’ll re-read it if I’m trying to work on something or I didn’t like something from my outing. That way, I’m never just wasting a day. I feel like you can’t get those days back.
”It’s funny, because eventually you read them all and it’s like a lot of the same things you’re working with are consistent through all of them. That’s just all lack of focus, I think.”
It is this level of diligence that often separates the good from the great athletes, and much like his cerebral compadre Casey Mize, Skubal appears to have the right mindset for MLB success.
Casey Mize No. 7 on MLB Pipeline AL prospect list
Speaking of Mize, MLB Pipeline released its latest prospect list, and among the top young players in American League organizations, Casey Mize ranks seventh heading into the 2020 season. The top prospect in the Tigers organization is considered by some to be a potential candidate for the AL Rookie of the Year award — including one odds-maker — as the former Flying Tiger continues his meteoric rise.
The Riley Greene hype train rolls on
Riley Greene’s performance this spring has been absolutely stratospheric after a torrid start to the season. Christin Stewart, once a highly-touted hitting prospect himself, sees a lot in the talented youngster, simply stating, “The guy can obviously hit.”
“He seems like a mature kid for his age, being out of high school and stuff. He has a good head on his shoulders and he has the right mental capacity to pretty much control the things he can control in this game and go about his business.”
While the 19-year-old has shown maturity beyond his years along with tantalizing athletic potential, expectations should be tempered as Greene begins his first full professional season.
Old Friend Alert
From 2012 to 2016, Anthony Gose played 358 MLB games as an outfielder ... Four years later, he could make the club as a pitcher. pic.twitter.com/5kEnPP9G25— MLB (@MLB) March 2, 2020
Old Friend Alert: Part Deux
These three K's from Trevor Rosenthal— Alex Fast (@AlexFast8) March 4, 2020
- 2020 BYB Tigers Prospects #3: Riley Greene is already making his presence felt. The teenager has been a sensation early in Grapefruit League play.
- 2020 BYB Tigers Prospect #2: RHP Matt Manning just keeps getting better. Manning has seized the top spot in the system on several prospect lists and continues to improve in leaps and bounds.
- Tigers 2020 player preview: Spencer Turnbull looks to prove he can belong. After an encouraging 2019, Turnbull will try to solidify his place in the Detroit rotation.
- Tigers 2020 player preview: Daniel Norris could be back in all his glory. Can the once-top prospect build on a solid finish in 2019?
- Tigers 2020 player preview: Buck Farmer might be the Tigers’ next big trade chip. Farmer enjoyed a breakout 2019 season, and could find himself on the move if he continues to pitch well.
- College baseball round-up: Nick Gonzales cannot be stopped. The New Mexico State star hit five home runs in a Saturday doubleheader, bringing his total to 12 on the year.
- The Tigers rally toad inspires great name debate online. RBI now stands for “Ribbit”.
Around the horn
Coronavirus threatens Nippon Professional Baseball this season after fans are banned from spring games. Passan’s 20 questions: MLB cracks down on pine tar, spring surprises and more. Pirates conduct deep clean of spring training facility as coronavirus spreads.