Detroit Tigers Roundtable: Future Hall of Famers, Spring Training Storylines, and Brad Ausmus vs. Jim Leyland

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Sep 22, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers left fielder Nick Castellanos (30) hits a single in the fifth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Which spring training storyline are you most interested in following?

Matt Pelc: The bullpen was probably the main reason the Tigers were ousted in the ALCS last year. None of us are confident in Phil Coke or Joba Chamberlain, Al-Al is scary inconsistent and Bruce Rondon is a question mark coming back from injury. As an offset of this, who will fall into the set-up role?

Michael Emmerich: Back to Castellanos. How much of an upgrade will he be defensively at third base. And how will he look at the plate. He could make the Fielder trade a no-brain winner for the Tigers if he is competent both in the field and at the plate.

Chris Hannum: Whether or not Phil Coke has a job in April – that and just how bad Nick Castellanos looks fielding grounders at 3rd.

Matt Snyder: I’m interested to see the speed difference, because I think that narrative might be overblown. The difference in starting lineup speed between the end of 2013 and the start of 2014 is really just that Prince Fielder is out and Nick Castellanos is in (Ian Kinsler and Omar Infante is probably a wash). That being said, Rajai Davis could make a sizable impact in his platoon role and as a pinch runner off the bench.

Josie Parnell: The re-introduction of Castellanos at third base, and the improved Tigers infield as a whole, is by far my most anticipated Spring Training storyline. Nothing would excite me more than watching the new infield double play combo of Kinsler and Iglesias gel and become a true defensive juggernaut for Detroit. Spring Training is the warm-up for the big stage of the regular season and watching the young, talented players the Tigers have assembled will be exciting to say the least.

Tom Zahari: The development of Nick Castellanos is the story I will be following through Spring Training and through the entire season. He has been the crown jewel of the thin farm system that the Detroit Tigers have and this could be the start to a nice career at third baseman of the Tigers for years to come.

Sam O’Toole: The lineup.  There are some many different options with the lineup, it will make Ausmus’s head spin.  He more speed than Jim Leyland did in previous years.  It might not mean more stolen bases, but you could see many more hit-and-run plays called.  Hopefully, Ausmus works out the lineup kinks in Spring Training and has an established lineup come opening day.

Josh Paulisin: It has to be how new manager Brad Ausmus runs his spring training. People don’t give Jim Leyland enough credit for how he managed that clubhouse. Fans only see the product on the field. Leyland got plenty of grief during his tenure in Detroit for his lineups and his handling of the bullpen, but rarely did you hear about any problems in the clubhouse. Credit does go to the players for that, but a lot of the credit should go to the guy who ran that clubhouse. With plenty of egos to deal with in his first year as a manager, it will be interesting to see how the Tigers take to Brad Ausmus.

Scott Byrne: Nick Castellanos at 3rd base. When a club trades Prince Fielder and moves Miguel Cabrera to find you  a spot, those are mighty big shoes to fill.