Hi, my name is Mark Gorosh. Most of you know me as sportz5176 on Twitter. I’ve been hanging around discussing the Detroit Tigers for close to 20 years.
My column will typically be 8-10 things I think we should talk about. Sometimes they will be data based, other times they will be pure opinions or observations. If you know me, they will never be boring. I grew up in the days of Peter Gammons writing Diamond notes on Sundays. I miss those days, so hopefully this column will have that type of feel.
Some things we need to discuss about the Detroit Tigers:
1. What happened to Joe Jimenez?
Here are some numbers about his fastball.
-92.1 MPH Exit Velocity (1 MPH higher than any other Detroit Tigers Pitcher)
-17-degree average Launch Angle
-95.5 MPH Exit Velocity on line drives
-50% hard hit against
Most of these numbers place Jimenez about 25th worst in baseball. (By the way, Derek Holland had similar numbers in 2020).
2. Nomar Mazara hits the ball really hard. Often for him it doesn’t matter. Here’s what does matter: where he hits the ball. From 2016-2019, Mazara was moderately successful when he pulled the baseball — about 66% of his extra-base hits were to the pull side. In 2020 he pulled ONE extra-base hit. Check his spray charts from 2018-2019 (top image below), and 2020 (bottom image below). So if Nomar hits the ball hard to the pull side he will be pretty solid. If not, he may not survive past June.
3. Manager A.J. Hinch projects a much different feel than Ron Gardenhire. His bar for in-game strategy and requiring consistency both seem much higher.
4. How much does Spring Training mean?In 2020, Jeimer Candelario hit .138 and the hitting stars of 2019 were John Hicks and Josh Harrison.
5. The Tigers used 23 pitchers in 2020 and 32 in 2019. Expect them to use 13-15 arms more than the 13 who start the season in Detroit. They have about 5 decent arms in Toledo, but beyond that it gets really, really ugly.
6. A.J. Hinch may seem fine with a rotation at first base, but in retrospect doesn’t it seem strange C.J. Cron wasn’t even signed to a minor league deal? He’s injury prone, but he provides similar skills to Renato Nunez, plus reliable major league defense.
7. Expect to see some de facto piggyback tandem starts in the rotation. Mize and Skubal will likely pair with Alexander and Fulmer. The big question is who gets demoted when Turnbull gets healthy, especially if Skubal and Mize are productive?
8. If you are wondering how long it will take for Miguel Cabrera to accumulate 13 HR and 134 hits, over the past 4 seasons he’s averaged a HR every 35 at-bats. So it should take him 463 at-bats, or approximately 115 games. My guess is sometime in August. Getting to 3,000 hits will take around 550 plate appearances, or sometime in September if he bats .275 this year.
9. How many wins do I expect in 2021? About 67-70. If injuries are heavy, drop it to 60. And I’ve said this numerous times, if the Detroit Tigers win 60 games in 2021, Al Avila is getting fired. You can only be terrible for so long.
10. Food for thought…when you assess where the Detroit Tigers TEAMBUILD is, look around the diamond. What player ranks in the top 12 at his position in baseball? I’m not sure Detroit has one position player in the top 20 at his position. Only Candelario and Schoop may qualify for that. Now consider the pitching staff. What starting pitcher is in the top 75? What reliever is in the top 50?
This current front office has had six years to assemble talent. Now think about the answers to those questions. Think about some of the worst teams in baseball. Only Texas, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Colorado, and Arizona are this bad.