Detroit Tiger Opening Day roster prediction 1.0
Predicting the Detroit Tigers Opening Day roster as spring training begins
Pitchers and catchers report to spring training today. Some have been in Lakeland for a few days now. Detroit Tigers baseball is back.
There are tons of spots up for grabs on this roster. Only a few positions are set in stone. There's going to be some new faces on the team this season.
This is going to be the first of three Detroit Tigers Opening Day roster predictions this spring. We did one last month in kind of a "way too early" style, so these three will be a bit more official. There have been a few moves that have changes things a bit as well, so it's definitely worth doing another one of these.
This first one is obviously already up. The second one, which will be appropriately titled "Detroit Tigers Opening Day roster prediction 2.0," will go up shortly after the first round of roster cuts. The final prediction will go up sometime between the second round of cuts and final cuts.
These will all run in the same format. Position players first, followed by pitchers. Let's kick things off with the catcher position.
Catcher: Eric Hasse, Jake Rogers
Part of me thinks A.J. Hinch will try the three catcher experiment again, but I just don't see how they could possibly do that. They have way too many utility players to carry a third catcher.
Haase is going to be starting catcher barring something unforseen. The question is who backs him up. I'm going with Rogers for now, but don't be shocked if somebody like Donny Sands or Marco Feliciano makes the cut instead. Rogers is coming off Tommy John surgery and hasn't seen big league pitching in almost two years. They may want to warm him up down in Toledo for a bit.
Infielders: Spencer Torkelson, Jonathan Schoop, Javier Baez, Nick Maton, Andy Ibanez
Torkelson will be the first baseman and Baez will be the shortstop. Those are pretty much guarenteed barring any shenanigans. The rest of the field is where things get a bit murkier.
I have Schoop making it as the starting second baseman. His defense is just too valuable for him to play there. I have Maton as the starting third baseman for now, though he'll likely move around.
The backup infielder was by far the toughest one to guess, but I'll go with Andy Ibanez for now. It seems like they really like him and he might even have a shot at winning the third base job.
Two players I have on the outside looking in currently are Cesar Hernandez and Ryan Kreidler. I think the only way Hernandez makes the team is if somebody gets hurt. He's 32 and Scott Harris has said multiple times that he wants to give more at-bats to young players.
As for Kreidler, I just don't think he's going to hit. He can be depth down in Toledo for now.
The good news is things should become a bit clearer once Grapefruit League play begins and we start to see where guys play. On to the outfield.
Outfielders: Riley Greene, Austin Meadows, Matt Vierling, Akil Baddoo
This was pretty tough as well. Greene and Meadows are shoe-ins, but the other corner and the fourth outfield spot are both question marks at the moment.
Vierling is going to platoon with somebody, whether it ends up being with Baddoo or Kerry Carpenter. He has much better splits against lefties and Baddoo and Carpenter both hit RHP better.
I'm still a believer in Baddoo, so I have him making the team for now. That can change pretty quickly if he gets off to a slow start.
Designated Hitter: Miguel Cabrera, Kerry Carpenter
I'm sticking with my idea of platooning Miggy and Carpenter at DH. It's a great way to limit Miggy's at-bats and give Carpenter valuable plate appearances at the same time. Not much else to say here.