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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Starting rotation: Eduardo Rodriguez, Spencer Turnbull, Matthew Boyd, *Michael Lorenzen, Matt Manning

*if injured, insert Joey Wentz

E-rod, Turnbull, and Boyd are all locks. I am very excited about Turnbull. He could be in for a breakout season. The questions now lie in both the fourth and fifth spots.

Michael Lorenzen was scratched from his most recent spring outing with tightness in his groin. The team has described it as mild. It is unknown whether he'll make his final start of the spring. If this is something that lingers, he could start the year on the IL, which would open up another spot in the rotation.

The latest update does sound promising. Cody Stavenhagen of The Athletic reported that Lorenzen is already feeling better, so we'll see what happens. If Lorenzen isn't ready for Opening Day, pencil in Matt Manning and Joey Wentz as the No. 4 and No. 5 starters, respectively.

After a near-disastrous first three starts this spring, Manning's last two have been much better. He still has some kinks to iron out, such as his fastball command and general consistency, but I think he's done just enough to warrant a spot regardless of Lorenzen's status.

Bullpen: Alex Lange, Jose Cisnero, Jason Foley, Mason Englert, Trey Wingenter, Garrett Hill, Chasen Shreve, Tyler Alexander

Let's start with the locks. Alex Lange, Jose Cisnero, Jason Foley, and Rule 5 pick Mason Englert are all "on the bus," as they say. Foley was throwing 98 mph sinkers earlier today, so I'd say he's ready. Englert may not have the velocity, but he has good stuff and pinpoint command.

The last four spots are where things get interesting. I'm still shocked by the demotion of Miguel Diaz, who didn't allow a run this spring. However, Trey Wingenter has really good stuff, though he can be a bit wild. He got the start in place of Lorenzen earlier this week and punched out two in an inning of work. He makes the team.

I also think Chasen Shreve has earned the role of the lefty specialist. He has a nasty splitter. That leaves two spots remaining.

The first of which I have going to Tyler Alexander. He also got off to a rough start, but has rebounded a bit. I think he'll make the team out of camp, but will be on a short leash.

The last spot was tough to nail down, but I went with Garrett Hill. He got off to a fantastic start this spring, but has struggled mightily as of late. His velocity has been way up, but struggles a bit with his command at times with all of his pitches.

Still, Hill has 13 strikeouts in 10.2 IP compared to seven in 8.2 IP for Beau Brieske, who just misses out. He'll likely be one of the first arms to get the call in the event of an injury or underperformance.

Again, it's very likely that this projection is wrong in a few spots. This is just what I think the roster will look like. Once the roster is set, we'll do an Opening Day lineup projection as well as a win total projection. The regular season is upon us.

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