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Could the Detroit Tigers finish off a Rookie of the Year trifecta?

Detroit Tigers prospects, left to right: Ryan Kreidler, Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene run the bases during spring training minor league minicamp Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022 at TigerTown in Lakeland, Fla.Tigers8
Detroit Tigers prospects, left to right: Ryan Kreidler, Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene run the bases during spring training minor league minicamp Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022 at TigerTown in Lakeland, Fla.Tigers8 /
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Detroit Tigers top prospects Riley Greene or Spencer Torkelson could round out a Detroit sports Rookie of the Year threepeat

After a very grim two to three years, Detroit sports are finally looking up. The Red Wings have two sensational rookies, with Mo Seider being a clear-cut favorite to win the Calder Trophy, awarded to the best rookie in the NHL. Likewise, Cade Cunningham has given the Detroit Pistons a much-needed shooter and facilitator with size–he’s currently second-favorite for the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award to Cleveland’s Evan Mobley, according to Vegas Insider. Could the Detroit Tigers finish off a Detroit sports Rookie of the Year threepeat?

By most accounts, the Detroit Tigers figure to have two of the top 10 prospects in the game, Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson, begin the season with the big league club when they open against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park on April 8th. It’s such a crucial part of baseball’s award, where counting stats and games played holds significant weight to voters.

This season, on paper, figures to be slightly more forgiving for the award than 2021–a year in which Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal, and Akil Baddoo did not finish within the top eight. Other notable top prospects who have an ETA of 2022, according to MLB Pipeline, include Bobby Witt Jr, Adley Rutschman, Julio Rodriguez, Grayson Rodriguez, Shane Baz, and Gabriel Moreno.

In the words of our commissioner Rob Manfred, trophies are just a hunk of metal in the end and the voting for these end-of-the-year awards remains flawed. If the Red Wings, Pistons, and Tigers each have a Rookie of the Year award winner this year, though, it symbolizes the renaissance of Detroit as a legitimate sports town and a destination city where veterans sign to win, not to fill a gap on a roster.

FanGraphs projects a 2.7 WAR season from Torkelson with a .238/.350/.531 line, 29 home runs, and 80 RBI. For Greene: .268/.335/.465, 2.6 WAR, 21 home runs, 63 RBI. If Greene or Torkelson win the award, it would be the first Detroit Tigers to do it since Michael Fulmer (2016) and the first position player to win it since Lou Whittaker in 1978.

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