After two years of injury that kept him off the mound for all of 2023, 2018's first overall draft pick Casey Mize is expected to make a full-time return to Detroit in 2024. Mize's 2021 season is really all we have to go off of — he made seven starts in the COVID-shortened 2020 season and only two in 2022 before he underwent Tommy John surgery — but 2021 was a good one. As the Tigers' No. 2 starter, he started 30 games and pitched 150 1/3 innings for a final ERA of 3.71. He struck out 118 batters and accumulated a 1.2 fWAR.
In the Tigers' real rotation, Mize will probably take his old place as No. 2, and he's a strong addition to the dream rotation. His re-arrival to Detroit will be a crucial piece of the Tigers battle for first in the AL Central division with the Minnesota Twins and the Cleveland Guardians, which the Tigers will have their best shot at in years in 2024.
Matt Manning is the last real life Tiger to make the dream rotation. He beats out Joey Wentz and Reese Olson, two other young pieces of the Tigers 2023 core, for this spot. Wentz had a difficult year; with almost 50 fewer innings pitched than Eduardo Rodriguez, he gave up 25 more earned runs and 10 more home runs than Detroit's ace. Olson, with 103 2/3 innings pitched, had a much better year, with a 3.99 ERA and a 24.4% K rate.
Manning, despite only managing 78 innings pitched due to injury, was the starter in the first combined no-hitter in Tigers history, pitching 6 2/3 perfect innings, and he came out with a 3.58 ERA on the year. He's struggled with injury a bit; he only pitched 63 innings in 2022 after multiple trips to the IL. If both Olson and Manning remain healthy next year, they'll both be consistent presences for Detroit's real rotation. In the dream rotation, Manning is a good back end option that we should expect some good outings from in real life as well.