Detroit Tigers probably won’t be this bad next season
Detroit’s other standout performer down the stretch is the player Candelario replaced.
In 191 plate appearances since the beginning of August, Nicholas Castellanos is hitting .319 with a .330 on-base percentage, a .578 slugging percentage, a .376 wOBA, a 134 wRC+ and a .259 ISO.
His 2.1 walk percentage over the same span (191 plate appearances) obviously isn’t ideal, but Castellanos’ aggressiveness at the plate has been paying off.
His recent play is certainly reminiscent of the run of form the former infielder was in last season.
In an injury-shortened 2016, Castellanos logged a 118 wRC+, a .350 wOBA, a .496 slugging percentage and a .212 ISO in 447 plate appearances.
If he can maintain those kinds of numbers over the course of a season, it will go a long ways towards replacing the departed production of J.D. Martinez and Justin Upton in the outfield corners.
Free agent fits?
Speaking of the outfield corners, the Detroit Tigers currently have an opening in left field.
In an ideal world, top prospect Christin Stewart would claim the position in Spring Training and run with it.
While that’s a possibility, Stewart just wrapped up his first full season in Double-A.
He may need a tad more seasoning in Triple-A before he starts hitting in the middle of Detroit’s lineup.
Because of this, Detroit could conceivably sign a veteran free agent to short-term deal—in the same vein as a potential rotation addition—to serve as a placeholder for Stewart.
Among the free agents this offseason who could be conceivable fits are Carlos Gonzalez, Melky Cabrera, Carlos Gomez and Seth Smith.
Old friends (and free agents) Curtis Granderson, Austin Jackson, Cameron Maybin and Rajai Davis could also be placeholders in left field.
If the Tigers make any signings in left field, it should elevate the team’s level of play somewhat.
Are the Detroit Tigers going to contend next season? Probably not.
Surprises happen all the time in baseball, so one never knows.
However, this Tigers team seems set for another season of developing younger players and waiting for prospects to reach the Majors.
Still, the team can improve.
If the team’s younger players continue to develop and veterans like Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez bounce back, Detroit will be better next season.
Next: Trade ideas to net Detroit more young, position player building blocks
The Tigers may not make it back to the postseason in 2018, but they certainly won’t play as poorly as they have in September for an entire season.