Detroit Tigers Opening Day roster projection 3.0: Who makes the team?

Mar 21, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; Detroit Tigers shortstop Zack Short (59) throws out New York
Mar 21, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; Detroit Tigers shortstop Zack Short (59) throws out New York / Dave Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
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Our final Detroit Tigers Opening Day roster projection

We've got about a week of spring training left. The Detroit Tigers are finalizing their Opening Day roster. Some decisions have already been made, while others still need some thought.

This will be our third and final Opening Day roster projection. We're starting to get a pretty good idea of what this roster is going to look like, but the last two or three spots are going to be really close to call.

Keep in mind that this projection and the actual Opening Day roster will likely look different. I am obviously not one of the decision makers for the Detroit Tigers. This is just based off what I've seen and what these players have done in the past.

It sounds like the roster will be set next Monday, so some players are running out of time to make an impression. Let's begin our final Detroit Tigers Opening Day roster projection.

Catcher: Eric Haase and Jake Rogers

Haase and Rogers are undoubtedly the two best catchers on the roster. They've both swung the bat pretty well this spring, and Rogers is fantastic defensively as an added bonus. There's not much else to say here.

Infield: Spencer Torkelson, Jonathan Schoop, Javier Baez, Nick Maton, Cesar Hernandez, Andy Ibanez

Thankfully, the days of wondering whether Tork would even make the Opening Day roster are over. He has crushed the ball for the last two weeks, and has started to get rewarded for it after some bad luck to start. He even hit his first home run of the spring late last week. If this keeps up, we could see a breakout season from the former No. 1 overall pick.

Javy Baez will be the shortstop, like it or not. Nick Maton appears to have the third base job on lockdown. Second base is a little muddier, but I think Schoop will get it despite a subpar spring and WBC performance.

The interesting part comes with the last two spots. Cesar Hernandez is a switch-hitter who's swung the bat well this spring. I think he gets a spot pretty comfortably.

That leaves one more spot, and I'm going to go with Andy Ibanez. It's a shame he got injured before the WBC even began, because the Tigers really haven't seen much of him. But then again, who are else are they going to give this spot to? Ryan Kreidler? Zack Short? I gave this spot to the latter in the last projection, but I just can't bring myself to do it for this final projection.

It really seems like the Tigers like Ibanez. It has seemed that way for the entirety of camp. I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt, and I think the team will too.

Outfield: Riley Greene, Austin Meadows, Matt Vierling, Kerry Carpenter

Greene, Meadows, and Vierling are all locks. Vierling appears to have gotten over a knee sprain he suffered a couple weeks ago. Not much to say about the starters.

The question has always been about the fourth outfield spot between Akil Baddoo and Kerry Carpenter. It's been neck-and-neck the entire spring. Neither one of them wanted to step up and take the spot.

I went back and forth on this, but in the end, I gave it to Kerry Carpenter. As much as I love Baddoo's ability to create chaos, I like Carpenter's power just a bit more. If he gets hot, he can always platoon with Miggy at DH. If he struggles, they can send him down and bring Baddoo up.

DH: Miguel Cabrera

Oh, you want me to elaborate? Well, he can't physically play any other position except maybe first base. He probably won't play very much. The Tigers will probably have multiple guys DH. There.