The MLB All-Star Game will be held on Tuesday, July 13 down in Atlanta. For the Detroit Tigers, it has been a series of solo representations in the Midsummer Classic the last few seasons. Here’s the recent Tigers who have appeared:
2019-Shane Greene (he is still a free agent, folks,)
You would have to go back to 2015 when the Detroit Tigers had more than one player. That season, Miguel Cabrera was voted in but could not play due to injury, Jose Iglesias, David Price, and J.D Martinez.
The Tigers are projected towards the bottom of the AL Central this year but there is some talent here that is starting to emerge as regulars. Let’s take a look at the two players who could represent Detroit down in the ATL. I feel pretty optimistic about my chances. After all, a few days back, I projected four lefties in the bullpen, which looks like it may be happening, and thought Julio Teheran would be a good idea back in December. If I am wrong, it would not be the first time.
According to FanGraphs’ “ZiPS” projections, it has Candelario batting .252/.331/.442 with a projected wRC+ of 102 with 21 home runs and 72 RBIs for the entire season. Candelario started the season slowly going 0-for-17 but finished August strong, going 32-for-90 (.356). All of his Statcast numbers were up like barrel rate (10.3%) and exit velocity (90.2%)
What’s more interesting in 2020 was what he did with his glove. He had an Outs Above Average at first base of 3. Spring training numbers-wise is a lot different than last year. He left camp barely winning the job at 3rd over Dawel Lugo but Candelario is proof that once again, spring training doesn’t mean a thing. In 36 at-bats in spring training 2020, he hit .139 and struck out 10 times. This year? .346/400/.423 in 26 at-bats (9-for-26).
Another reason he could make the All-Star team. Look at the American League. While granted, it is stacked with names like Alex Bregman, Anthony Rendon, noted Tigers killer José Ramírez, Matt Chapman, Yoán Moncada, Rafael Devers, and Josh Donaldson in Minnesota, he could make it as a reserve.
With Francisco Lindor gone, that is one less bat to protect Ramirez but on fan vote alone he or Bregman will likely be penciled in. Yoan Moncada was nominated for a Gold Glove in 2020 and looks to rebuild offensively. So it sounds like I am talking myself out of putting Candelario in the All-Star Game but I think if he can get off to a hot start and keep building off from his 2020 season, his chances, while slim because of who is in the American League, I think he might be the best Tigers position player representative.
A K per 9 of 11.35 in 2020 and is a lefty that can throw heat definitely has its perks. Soto has been working on throwing his slider more effectively since the Dominican Winter League and all through spring training. What is hindering him is the walks. While the sample size is small, (13.3%BB in 23 innings of work) it is worth noting. If Soto can get the walks under control and become an effective reliever or closer for the Tigers, he could be a good weapon to have in the bullpen for the American League.
While he is learning still to become the team’s closer, the combination of the fastball and slider, when throws effectively, makes him one of the better relievers in my opinion, in the league when he on target.
Outside of the spring training optimism where everyone is hopeful, both Soto and Candelario in a shortened season in 2020 took small steps forward to becoming impactful regulars. Let’s see if they can get to the All-Star level.
What say you, as of now in March, who do you see representing the Detroit Tigers in the All-Star Game?