Detroit Tigers Roundtable: Grading the Offseason and Season Predictions

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Feb 18, 2014; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers third baseman Nick Castellanos during a team practice at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

What are you most interested to watch this spring as the team prepares to begin their Grapefruit League season?

Chris Hannum: Excitement and dread go hand in hand here, we’re already accustomed to the Tigers winning and as such a lot more can go wrong than right. I’m certainly curious to see how the new additions look and really dreading that somebody like JV or Rondon is going to be in pain and ineffective.

Scott Byrne: Not much – just stay healthy. Depth is the most serious issue for this team in 2014.

Josie Parnell:  I cannot wait to see the new Tigers’ infield and how Vizquel prepares them. With Castellanos, the new mid-field partnership of Iglesias and Kinsler, and Miggy’s move back to first, I’m very interested to see the infield working together as a whole to get a better picture of how much the infield defense truly improved from last season.

Josh PaulisinNick Castellanos. The big question mark this season is how ready is he for a full season at the major league level. The highly-rated prospect put up big numbers in the minors, as well as the MLB Futures All-Star Game in 2012, but can he do it facing the top pitchers in the world night in and night out?

Matt Pelc: We’ve heard about (and written) that the Tigers will be quicker on the basepaths and will steal more. I want to see to what degree. Will it be just a tiny improvement or will there be a new brand of baseball being played in Detroit?

Tom Zahari: Nick Castellanos is the story for the foreseeable future. People will overanalyze Castellanos’s Grapefruit League performance because he is the greatest unknown this season. I am interested to see how he will develop at the Major League level starting this Spring Training.

Michael Emmerich: Nick Castellanos, at the plate but especially in the field.

Matt Snyder: I want to see if the Tigers really do leverage their speed differently on offense — whether or not they force the issue and try to steal more bases. I’m also really interested to see how Nick Castellanos performs defensively at third.

Blair Tatrault: The new guys. Castellanos first and foremost. In many ways he is key to the Tigers’ season. Don’t expect him to hit much early. If he fields adequately and the bat warms with the weather, we don’t miss Fielder’s bat so much. By the end of the season he could be a force. You’ll know he’s arrived if he’s hitting sixth in September. If he’s not ready, runs get harder to find. Ian Krol–is he able to nail down a bullpen spot with the big club? Let’s hope so because reasonable alternatives are few. Robbie Ray. A lot of pressure on him out of the box, which he probably doesn’t need. Anxious to see his stuff, especially later in the spring as he gets stretched out. Lombardozzi–I expect him to mildly surprise on the upside.

Sam O’Toole: I love watching the young guys participate in Spring Training.  So, guys like James McCann and Devon Travis are intriguing this spring.  After a solid season in 2013, Travis has more of a spotlight on him entering 2014 and a solid camp can get him going for another season of him hitting the ball all over the diamond, most likely in Erie (AA).  I’ll wait until the season begins to be interested in how Nick Castellanos performs.  He has little, if any, competition at third base this spring.