Detroit Tigers: Predicting 2020 Opening Day roster

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DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 15: Mikie Mahtook #15 of the Detroit Tigers celebrates with Nicholas Castellanos #9 of the Detroit Tigers, Ian Kinsler #3 of the Detroit Tigers, Shane Greene #61 of the Detroit Tigers and Jeimer Candelario #46 of the Detroit Tigers after hitting a walk-off single in the ninth inning to drive in Candelario and defeat the Chicago White Sox 3-2 at Comerica Park on September 15, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 15: Mikie Mahtook #15 of the Detroit Tigers celebrates with Nicholas Castellanos #9 of the Detroit Tigers, Ian Kinsler #3 of the Detroit Tigers, Shane Greene #61 of the Detroit Tigers and Jeimer Candelario #46 of the Detroit Tigers after hitting a walk-off single in the ninth inning to drive in Candelario and defeat the Chicago White Sox 3-2 at Comerica Park on September 15, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Tigers
TORONTO, ON – SEPTEMBER 9: Jeimer Candelario #46 of the Detroit Tigers is congratulated by teammates in the dugout after scoring a run in the ninth inning during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on September 9, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

Infielders: John Hicks, Jeimer Candelario, Dixon Machado, Isaac Paredes and Dawel Lugo

Offensively, Hicks will fit the profile of a first baseman if he can continue to hit. What’s more, he might be Detroit’s best option for the foreseeable future.

That’s what happens with Miguel Cabrera is penciled in at first base fir so long—the Tigers really haven’t had to invest much free agent or draft capital on younger first baseman.

Rey Rivera could eventually move to first base, but the Tigers have him in the outfield right now at short-season Connecticut.

Dominic Ficociello is another first base option, but the prospect may be a better fit as a versatile bench piece, considering he can play the infield and outfield corners.

By now, you’re obviously familiar with two of the Detroit Tigers’ long-term infield starters.

Jeimer Candelario

Jeimer Candelario should be penciled in a third base for the next decade. A quality fielder with a good eye at the plate, the former Cubs farmhand is off to a blistering start with the Tigers.

In his first 17 games (65 plate appearances), Candelario is hitting .364 with a .462 on-base percentage, a .564 slugging percentage, a .437 wOBA, a .200 ISO and a 176 wRC+.

Those numbers obviously aren’t sustainable over the course of an entire season, but the third baseman looks up to the task of hitting in the middle of Detroit’s lineup for years to come.

Dixon Machado

There’s also Dixon Machado, who like Hicks, has impressed at the plate in his first extended stretch of Major League playing time.

A standout defender, Machado is hitting .278 with a 74 wRC+ in 157 plate appearances.

He’s never going to win a batting title, but the infielder looks like he can hit enough to stick in the starting lineup.

Isaac Paredes and Dawel Lugo

Long term, Paredes will likely occupy the middle infield with Machado.

Playing against competition that is on average 3.2 years older than him in the Midwest League, Paredes is hitting .252 with a .725 OPS, 70 RBI, 65 runs scored, 28 doubles and 11 home runs.

The 18-year-old has one of the higher ceilings of Tigers position player prospects.

Rounding out the group is Lugo, who has seen time in the minors at third base, shortstop and second base.

He could eventually find success as Detroit’s utility infielder.

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