It’s hard to call last season anything but a disappointment for Detroit Tigers fans.
The team signaled that it was transitioning out of its rebuilding phase by adding quality players such as Eduardo Rodriguez, Javy Baez and Austin Meadows.
The end result was a 66-96 season in which the team never challenged for a playoff spot.
However, there’s at least three reasons to believe this season will be MUCH better for Tigers fans, and I’ll detail them for you below.
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Now let’s make three bold predictions on why Tigers fans should be optimistic this summer.
Three Bold Detroit Tigers Predictions
1. Austin Meadows bounces back – Meadows had a season from hell last year. Achilles injuries sidelined him early and it was a struggle for him to return. What made it even worse was watching Isaac Paredes – the player the Tigers traded for Meadows – bash 20 home runs with a .739 OPS for the Rays.
Heading into this season, Meadows seems to be feeling much better.
“I’m right where I want to be mentally, and I’m right where I want to be physically,” Meadows told the Detroit Free Press earlier this month. “This offseason has been amazing with having our daughter (Adelynne), being in a much better place mentally and being in a much better physical shape. Everything is starting to go in the right direction.”
Meadows is only two years removed from a 27 home run, 106 RBI season with Tampa Bay. There’s no reason aside from injury that he can’t return to this form, or close to it, in his age-28 season this summer.
2. Spencer Torkelson figures it out – The Tigers didn’t meet expectations across the board last season, and it appeared like the pressure of performing got to Torkelson.
The No. 1 overall draft pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, Torkelson has had pressure on him since he entered the league. Last season, however, he clearly felt the weight of it as he struggled to a .203 batting average with just eight home runs over 110 games.
Torkelson was a phenom in college, bashing 25 home runs with a .320 batting average as an 18-year-old freshman at Arizona State. That raw talent and power hasn’t gone anywhere.
Torkelson was demoted to the minors briefly last season and he came back a better hitter – raising his batting average above .200 while also increasing his exit velocity and his hard hit rate.
Players with talent like Torkelson’s don’t come around often, and he shouldn’t be considered a bust after just one season at the MLB level.
3. Wilmer Flores finishes the year in the rotation – The Tigers are HURTING for starting pitching and it’s no secret. Detroit needs just about everything to go right just to have a halfway decent rotation. Rodriguez is returning off the worst season of his career. Spencer Turnbull didn’t pitch at all last season after recovering from Tommy John surgery. Matt Boyd pitched in relief last season as he recovered from a torn flexor tendon. And Matt Manning and Michael Lorenzen COMBINED for 30 starts as they each missed some time.
When you add all of this to the fact that two of Detroit’s most promising players – Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal – are out with injuries, and it makes sense that the organization could use a young and tantalizing prospect.
Last season, Flores was the Tigers’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year as he went 7-4 with a 2.79 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP across 103 ⅓ innings.
It might be only a matter of time until the 22-year-old Flores is pitching at Comerica Park this summer.
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Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.