Detroit Tigers: Analyzing the Way Too Early Fantasy Baseball Mock Drafts

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - SEPTEMBER 06: Casey Mize #12 of the Detroit Tigers delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game at Target Field on September 6, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - SEPTEMBER 06: Casey Mize #12 of the Detroit Tigers delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game at Target Field on September 6, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

Here’s a look into how the Detroit Tigers players were drafted in the #WayTooEary fantasy baseball industry mock drafts.

After the MLB regular season is over, the best minds in fantasy baseball participate in the #WayTooEarly fantasy baseball mock drafts. These nine mock drafts with 15-team NFBC roster requirements set the early Average Draft Position (ADP) for the entire fantasy baseball community. As lead fantasy writer/analyst and co-owner for and creator of the #WayTooEarly mock drafts, Justin Mason, put it, “The idea is to get some gut reactions of the industry on where players are likely to be taken in early drafts for the following year.” For Detroit Tigers fans that don’t play fantasy baseball, which by the way you should be, this article offers a look into how the smartest, most data-driven minds interpreted the Tigers 2020 season and how they believe they will perform in 2021 compared to the rest of the field.

2021 Detroit Tigers Projections

For the 2021 season, the highest-ranked Tiger in fantasy baseball is Victor Reyes (ADP: 223.7) and he is being drafted ahead of Garrett Hampson (229), Nick Senzel (232.9), and Manuel Margot (243.1). Reyes has the unique ability to hit home runs and steal bases without tanking your fantasy teams’ batting average.

Before the 2020 season, many fans and analysts debated if Reyes deserved to start but after an early injury to JaCoby Jones, Reyes was unleashed. Reyes ranked second in plate appearances (202) and he finished the 2020 season with 4 home runs and 8 steals while batting .277. If the Tigers don’t sign any free agent outfielders, Reyes is a good value at his current draft price.

The biggest surprise last year was the consistent hitting of Jamier Candelario (ADP: 267.1) and his ADP proves the fantasy community took notice. Last year Candelario was drafted outside the top 500 (ADP: 527) and now he is being drafted ahead of Jean Segura (ADP: 283.3), Eduardo Escobar (289.7), and Austin Riley(ADP: 293.1).

During the abbreviated 2020 season, Candelario outperformed superstars such as Francisco Lindor and Anthony Rendon. He batted .297 with 7 home runs, 29 RBIs, and 30 runs while finishing as the 125th best player in fantasy. For 2021, he’s a solid corner infield option with the potential to be your starting third baseman. Personally, I have been burned too many times to buy-in but his statcast data suggests he made some real changes.

Another surprise this year was the young shortstop Willi Castro (ADP: 328.4) who is being drafted around other shortstops such as Scott Kingery (ADP: 336.6) and Amed Rosario (ADP: 317.0). Castro busted onto the scene hitting .349 with six home runs in 129 at-bats. Castro has elite sprint speed (84th percentile) and even though it hasn’t translated into steals just yet, he does have the potential to be a double-digit steal contributor.

In the minors, Castro stole 99 bases over six seasons. Castro also has an incredible .299 xBA (93rd percentile) along with a .498 xSLG (82nd percentile). Overall, we need to see more from Castro before we truly know how good he is but this was a great start. On the other hand, is Niko Goodrum, who did not have a good 2020 season but it did not affect his ADP too much this year.

After a terrible 2020 season, Niko Goodrum (ADP: 344) continues to be overly valued in fantasy because he still has multi-position eligibility and he potentially provides the most sought combo: power and speed. However, his statcast data is as blue as Lake Michigan and he hit .104 against breaking balls and .121 off off-speed pitches last year. If it’s not a fastball, he’s not hitting it. I will not be drafting him unless I am desperate for steals later in the draft. I prefer the Pirates Kevin Newman (ADP: 345.0) or the Phillies Scott Kingery.

Just sixty games ago Matthew Boyd (ADP: 307.6) was a top 150 draft pick in all competitive fantasy leagues while Joe Jimenez was the unquestioned closer. Fast forward sixty games and Boyd is essentially valued as much as Spencer Turnbull (ADP: 310.8) and Jimenez wasn’t even drafted. As for Boyd, his ADP suggests the industry hasn’t completely given up on him but the trust is no longer there.

I prefer Boyd over Turnbull because of his strikeout capability and his ceiling is higher. Bryan Garcia is currently slotted in to be the Tigers closer next season but surprisingly, he was drafted in only one league (Pick: 287). Steamer projects 17 saves for Garcia in 2021 so for now he is one of my favorite sleepers. Over the next few years, the Tigers have a good handful of prospects that could transform the entire franchise into a perineal contender.

Starting with the Detroit Tigers young trio of pitching prospects: Casey Mize (ADP: 284.7), Tarik Skuball (ADP: 285.1), and Matt Manning (ADP: 362.5). According to Steamer projections, however, Skuball is projected to have a better fantasy season than Mize.

Another young gun being drafted in three of the nine fantasy leagues is the Tigers’ top hitting prospect Spencer Torkelson (ADP: 366). Torkelson was taken first overall in the MLB draft earlier this summer and he is already considered a generational talent. Scouts have compared him to Pete Alonso but with a better batting average. It’s a long shot for him to come up in 2021 but if he does he is worth an add just because of his raw talent.

Lastly, Miguel Cabrera (ADP: 324.7) proved he still has a little left in the tank and he did it when no one was paying attention. Over his last 24 games, Cabrera hit five home runs and knocked in 15 RBI’s. Cabrera quietly finished as the 155th best player in fantasy. Once again, he will be drafted in 15-team leagues but he has a very limited upside. At this point, I would prefer the Mariners Evan White (ADP: 317) who is going just a little bit before him.

For 2021, the Detroit Tigers have a mix of young unproven talent and middling veterans that haven’t performed well over the last few years. For me, Casey Mize has the highest ceiling off any player and I will be looking to draft him at his current ADP. Although I expect the market to level out with Bryan Garcia, right now he offers saves at a very low price.

For the rest of the Tigers, I am going to wait and see if I can get Victor Reyes or Tarik Skuball at a discount while praying Torkleson gets called up. Either way, it should be a very interesting 2021 season and the development of the young guys will be the most important thing to keep an eye on.