Detroit Tigers Tickets to Opening Day – Strong Bets
11. Casey Mize – If Casey Mize doesn’t make the club out of spring training, something has gone horribly wrong. The top overall pick in 2018 draft, Mize wasn’t dominant in 2021, and stats like FIP and xERA didn’t like him very much. But he proved remarkably consistent for a young pitcher, giving up three earned runs or fewer in 26 of his 30 starts.
12. Tarik Skubal – Tarik Skubal is in the same boat as Mize. He should be a key member of the rotation, but he can still be sent to the minors should something go sideways. Skubal looked dominant at times last year, and he probably has the highest ceiling in the rotation, but severe home run issues led to twice as many blowup starts as Mize.
13. Akil Baddoo – Akil Baddoo is up to his old tricks early in spring training, with a home run and a triple in his first three games. He’s one of the most electrifying players on the roster, and he seems like a virtual lock to make the club as long as he doesn’t completely fall on his face for the rest of spring.
14. Gregory Soto – Yes, A.J. Hinch already named Gregory Soto his closer for the season, which makes it seem pretty likely he’s on the squad. But Soto doesn’t have the best history with throwing strikes, so there’s at least a small chance things go haywire and he begins the year in Toledo.
15. Eric Haase – One of the best stories for the Detroit Tigers in 2021, Eric Haase’s power and defensive versatility means he’s a very strong bet to make the club. He’s probably not a regular, but his 141 wRC+ against left-handed pitchers and his ability to catch and play the outfield could make him a true bench weapon.
16. Matt Manning – As a former first-round pick and top Detroit Tigers prospect, Matt Manning probably has the inside track to be the 4th or 5th starter this year. He looked good in his first outing of the spring, but he was outperformed by Tyler Alexander in 2021, and there’s a small chance he’s the odd man out to begin the season.
17. Tyler Alexander – Speaking of Tyler Alexander, Detroit’s former 2nd rounder was a valuable swingman for the club last year thanks to increased use of his cutter. Alexander actually performed better as a starter (3.38 ERA) than as a reliever (4.54 ERA), but his ability to do both probably guarantees him a spot on the club.
18. José Cisnero – A year ago José Cisnero would’ve been much higher on this list, but he really struggled in the 2nd half of the 2021 season, and he’s a little behind right now. He’s been a reliable late-inning option for the club the last few years, but he has one option remaining and could theoretically begin the season in Toledo if he’s not ready.
19. Alex Lange – Alex Lange is the opposite of Cisnero. He spent the first part of 2021 getting knocked around, but he was arguably the team’s best reliever in the 2nd half of the season, with a 1.71 ERA after July. We think he’s in the bullpen, but relievers are weird and inconsistent, and Lange’s fastball is still more hittable than it should be.