Detroit Tigers: Where are they from?
By Rob Low
The Detroit Tigers Opening Day roster is now set. Where do the 25 Tigers who will take the field this Opening Day hail from?
The 2018 version of the Detroit Tigers take the field at Comerica Park for the first time this Friday, after an Opening Day rainout. The 25-man roster will change dozens of times this season, but today we look at these 25 Tigers and the seven countries they represent.
United States (15)
Unsurprisingly, the United States is home to the most current Detroit Tigers with 15. These 15 were born in 11 different states. They are:
California (James McCann), Florida (Nicholas Castellanos and Shane Greene), Georgia (Buck Farmer and Niko Goodrum), Louisiana (Mikie Mahtook), New York (Jeimer Candelario), Oklahoma (Michael Fulmer and JaCoby Jones), Tennessee (Daniel Norris), Texas (Daniel Stumpf and Drew VerHagen), Virginia (John Hicks), Washington (Matt Boyd), and Wisconsin (Jordan Zimmermann).
In international competition, McCann played in one game for the U.S. in the 2011 Pan American Games, taking home a silver medal. Fulmer and Alex Wilson were both named to the pitchers pool for last year’s World Baseball Classic, but neither appeared in a game for the Americans, who won gold.
Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez lead the Venezuelan contingent, having both suited up multiple times for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic.
Joining them are Dixon Machado and Victor Reyes. Reyes is a newcomer about to make his major league debut. Machado is back, but taking on a bigger role in 2018.
The Tigers have a pair of Cubans in Jose Iglesias and free agent signing Leonys Martin. Both of them defected while playing for the junior Cuban national team. Before defecting, Martin also played for Cuba in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
The lone Aussie on the club is right-hander Warwick Saupold. Saupold was far from a lock to make the club out of camp, but was able to win the battle for the last bullpen spot. Saupold pitched for Australia in the 2013 and 2017 World Baseball Classics.
Dominican Republic (1)
Currently, there is only one player born in the Dominican Republic on the roster, and that’s southpaw Francisco Liriano. That is unlikely to last long, with Dawel Lugo and others on the way in the high minors. Liriano represented his country at the 2006 World Baseball Classic.
Jeimer Candelario also grew up in the Dominican Republic, but was born in New York City. Candelario and his family moved to the Dominican when he was five, so his father could open a baseball training center.
Puerto Rico (1)
The lone Puerto Rican is right-handed reliever Joe Jimenez. Jimenez is another Tiger who has represented his country at the World Baseball Classic. In last year’s tournament, he tossed three scoreless innings to help Puerto Rico to a second place finish.
Saudi Arabia (1)
Here’s one that can win you a bar bet or two. Did you know reliever Alex Wilson was born in Saudi Arabia? Wilson’s father worked for a Saudi Arabian oil company when Alex was born.
When Wilson was two, the family moved back to the United States. He went on to pitch collegiately for Texas A&M before the Red Sox made him a second round pick in 2009.
The 2018 season is here! Happy Opening Day Tigers fans!