Three players facing make-or-break seasons for the Detroit Tigers

Oct 3, 2022; Seattle, Washington, USA; Detroit Tigers left fielder Akil Baddoo (60) hits a single
Oct 3, 2022; Seattle, Washington, USA; Detroit Tigers left fielder Akil Baddoo (60) hits a single / Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
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2. INF Zack Short

I'm not convinced the Tigers ever saw an everyday future for Short when they acquired him in the trade that sent Cameron Maybin to Chicago. Short was ranked as the 21st prospect in the Cubs' system when he was traded to Detroit, with the idea maybe Short would be a utility middle infielder they could cycle through perhaps after Willi Castro or Niko Goodrum became expensive.

Short saw a decent period with the team in 2021 but just seven games in 2022 and was ultimately passed up by Ryan Kreidler for a late-season call-up. Beyond his defensive versatility, perhaps Short's saving grace is his ability to take the free pass. Short works counts and took a whopping 88 walks in 128 games in Toledo last season. Unfortunately, he also struck out 149 times.

Cutting down on his swing-and-miss will be crucial next season, especially if Kreidler cracks the opening day roster, considering he'd be most likely to fill in for Baez in the event of injury in that scenario. Short's most likely role remains the Harold Castro-like assignment, and while he'll never possess Castro's bat-to-ball skills, cutting strikeouts is a must to see his way back to Detroit.

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