Detroit Tigers Spring Training Weekend Roundup Week 1

Detroit Tigers (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
Detroit Tigers (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

We all got giddy about seeing Riley Greene, Matt Manning, and Casey Mize as we look back at the Detroit Tigers’ Saturday and Sunday spring training games.

The Detroit Tigers started on Friday with an exhibition game against Southeastern as Tarik Skubal took the mound for the start of spring training. The cold weather did not affect Skubal one bit.  He left many Tigers fans wanting more as he struck out five of the six batters he faced but as a reminder to all, he was facing college batters.

Still, this was fun to watch as he was hitting 98 with his fastball and threw 18 of his 22 pitches for strikes. As Jason Beck points out, the radar gun this year at Joker Marchant Stadium uses the Trackman system so it is much more accurate than a generous radar gun can be.

Rony Garcia also made his Tigers debut as he allowed two runs on three hits and a walk in just over an inning of work.  The Tigers rallied twice in the game to come back and won on a Daniel Pinero walk-off single. It was the only time they led in the game.

The Opening Day Lineup Made Its Debut

What appeared to be the Opening Day lineup against the Indians made its debut on Saturday. Jordan Zimmermann allowed only one hit in 2 innings pitched and showed a slider that he has been working on with a changeup but he walked three. Beau Burrows, the Tigers’ former first-round draft pick struggled as he pitched just two-thirds of an inning, allowing five runs on four hits. This is a major camp for Burrows as the Tigers appear to have him working out of the bullpen.

Tyler Alexander, David McKay, Kyle Funkhouser, and Bryan Garcia all had solid outings as they are fighting for spots in the pen. On the offensive side, Jonathan Schoop RBI double drove in C.J Cron as the Tigers new right side of the infield made an impressive debut.  Jeimer Candelario, Christin Stewart,  JaCoby Jones, Miguel Cabrera, and Niko Goodrum all had hits among the regulars. We also got a glimpse of Brock Deatherage and Nick Quintana in pinch-hitting duties.

The Future Is Now

Sunday saw split-squad action for the first time as one squad took on the Pirates in Bradenton, while the other squad traveled to North Port to take on the Braves.  The Braves game was televised on Fox Sports Detroit but with the announcers of Fox Sports South so there were a lot of interviews of coaches and players among the Braves squad.  Both games provided some glimmers of the future.

Casey Mize made his debut after Zack Godley started and went one inning, allowing a pair of doubles and walked a batter but showed off his splitter, getting a few swings and misses. He had a hard time locating his fastball but still, it was good to see him take the mound.

Alex Fadeo made an impressive debut, allowing just two hits in 1.2 innings pitched. His slider had some nasty movement.

Another headline from this game was the performances of first-round draft picks Riley Greene and Derek Hill.  Hill went opposite field off veteran Richard Rodriguez and finished the day going 2 for 3. He could make a strong case to be the Tigers 26th man.

Riley Greene decided to make some noise of his own as he hit a home run and drew a pair of walks and a great defensive play in right.  Prospect Daniel Pinero also went deep in the game

Against the Braves, the pitching stood out. Matt Manning made his spring debut with two solid innings of work. He showed a variety of pitches including his change-up, a pitch he has been working on. Most notable I thought was the performance of Gregory Soto, who threw the hardest among the Tigers pitchers. The lefty was hitting 96 and good command of the slider. The Tigers need a lefty to step up out of the pen this year so Soto could be it.

In the position battle for third base, Dawiel Lugo went 0-2 and we did get a chance to see 2019 draft pick Andre Lipcius play third and got a hit in his only at-bat. Cole Peterson, who has one of the best defensive gloves in the Tigers system, drove in an RBI with a solid single up the middle. Daz Cameron started the game in right and went 1 for 2. Another outfield prospect that did well was Jose Azocar, who went 1 for 2. Despite striking out, Azocar’s approach at the plate was solid, taking good pitches and did not seem overwhelmed at the plate.

Overall, there were some positive signs of the future after the first weekend of spring training for the Tigers. We will continue to recap all the spring training action.