In a season that has been fun to watch, it is safe to assume that falling short of .500 has been alright for Detroit Tigers fans.
When the 2021 season began, I admit, my predictions about the outfield and how it was going to pan out for the Detroit Tigers was about the surest thing I could lay all my baseball knowledge on. I have may shot the moon high for Tarik Skubal and predicting him for Rookie of the Year but as far as wins go, I said around 72.
There is a particular type of fans that say sometimes the Detroit Tigers blog scene is too “negative” and that we tend to be too critical of the team but for the first time in watching the Detroit Tigers in my life during a rough stretch of baseball, I can say I see the light and actual growth across not only on the big league team but across a minor league system that showed progress with players in the lower rounds of the draft.
The Detroit Tigers minor league system has made strides
I have watched the system since the days of Kevin Ritz and Scott Aldred being labeled the second coming of Jack Morris and Dan Petry and not at one point have we seen growth from the lower rounds of the draft in terms of starters until the last couple of seasons. Skubal (9th round) is one step but check out the splits from others in the lower parts of the draft in 2021.
I start here because the minor league system is important to get right outside of Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson, who may start the year in Detroit in 2022 if they get off to good starts in the spring. They are forcing the issue with their play currently.
Brendan White-2019 26th round draft pick:
Beau Briske-2019 27th round draft pick:
Eric De La Rosa (7th round 2018) making it onto “Baseball America’s Under the Radar” prospects ($) is huge because it was just as unexpected as the rise of infielder Ryan Kreidler. Whether they become major league regulars reminds to be seen but if you think about it for the prospect heads out there, when was the last time you saw anything past the 10th round pitch well in the system off the top of your head?
When it comes to projections, they are just that, projections and the same for where Detroit was set to finish in the AL Central. FanGraphs came under attack by St.Louis pitcher Adam Wainwright because the odds of them entering the postseason were so low.
The numbers changed and for the Detroit Tigers, their ZiPS projections were exceeded and the national pundits who felt the Tigers would finish in last place were all wrong. Numbers and projections are allowed to change and thanks to manager A.J. Hinch, that was possible.
They are 23-22 in one-run games this season and despite all the injuries in the last two months of the season, they have lost by two runs or less in five losses of their eleven losses this month.
They have gotten contributions from every single player on the roster night in and night out. For being a 75-82 team, without being a cynical fan, for once, I can say I have really liked how this team has come together. I hope the growth continues but for once as a person who follows the team this closely for all the recent struggles, it is nice not to swear at the TV or radio like I have been, watching the Detroit Tigers.