Detroit Tigers News

Detroit Tigers: Predicting 2020 Tigers Roster

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Aug 31, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias (1) and center fielder JaCoby Jones (40) and right fielder J.D. Martinez (28) run to swarm Tyler Collins (not pictured) after his sacrifice fly to score Jones defeats the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park. Detroit won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 31, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias (1) and center fielder JaCoby Jones (40) and right fielder J.D. Martinez (28) run to swarm Tyler Collins (not pictured) after his sacrifice fly to score Jones defeats the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park. Detroit won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Oct 2, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera (24) celebrates after a single against the Atlanta Braves in the ninth inning at Turner Field. The Braves defeated the Tigers 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /

Infield Starters

First Base: Miguel Cabrera

With a Hall of Fame resume and a massive contract, Miguel Cabrera probably isn’t going to be on the move. The 33-year-old showed no signs of slowing down last season, as he hit .316 with 38 home runs and 108 RBI.

What’s more, Cabrera also turned in a 4.9 WAR and finished in the top seven in both wOBA (seventh, .399) and wRC+ (sixth, 152).

Second Base: Dixon Machado/TBD

This is where things get interesting. Much of Detroit’s starting infield is set in stone for the future, however not at second base. Ian Kinsler remains one of baseball’s best all-around players, however there is no guarantee he’ll be as effective in 2020 when he’ll be 38 years of age.

As of now, the most obvious in-house replacement is Dixon Machado. The slick-fielding shortstop could slide over to second base and give Detroit arguably the best fielding duo up the middle in the league.

However, Machado isn’t a finished product at the plate with a .246 career batting average in the minors. The 24-year-old did hit .266 for Toledo last year, but he’s still a work in progress offensively.

Instead of Machado, the Tigers could eventually shift JaCoby Jones to second base. Jones is athletic enough to play most positions, and he could be shifted to another position given Detroit’s prospect depth in the outfield.

A.J. Simcox and Dominic Ficociello are two other players who could be shifted from other positions to man second base.

Shortstop: Jose Iglesias

At just 26-years-old, Jose Iglesias is one of the game’s elite defensive shortstops and fielding players in general. The former Red Sox player ranked eighth among all position players defensive runs. He also finished 15th among all position players in UZR and 21st in UZR/150.

What’s more Iglesias is extremely difficult to strike out thanks to a 9.6 strikeout percentage that led the American League and was second only to Joe Panik in Major League Baseball.

Iglesias is controllable through 2019, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see him manning the shortstop position in a Tigers uniform for the next 10 years.

Third Base: Nick Castellanos

Nick Castellanos is finally starting to develop into the hitter many thought he would be when the Tigers drafted him in the first round of the 2010 draft.

Despite an injury-shortened campaign that limited him to 110 games played, the third baseman registered career-highs in a number of offensive categories. These included home runs, runs scored, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, ISO, wOBA and wRC+.

If J.D. Martinez is dealt and Victor Martinez is no longer with the team in 2020, Castellanos could very well be hitting cleanup behind Miguel Cabrera.

Key Reserves: TBD

If Machado isn’t starting at second, he’d likely be the first option off the bench. Other than that, there are a number of intriguing internal candidates. These Ficociello, Simcox, Kody Eaves, Will Maddox, Daniel Pinero and Zach Shepherd.

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