Can the Detroit Tigers bounce back from a disappointing 2019 season?

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The new season is delayed, but with the MLB vowing to play “as many baseball games in 2020 as we can”, punters using NJ casinos online apps will have plenty of opportunities to place wagers at sportsbooks. They will also be able to enjoy poker and roulette experiences during the remainder of the year.

One team that will be looking to get their act together ahead of the latest regular season is the Detroit Tigers. Fresh off the second-worst season in franchise history, the Tigers are hoping the only way is up as they attempt to bounce back in 2020.

It is now six years since Detroit last advanced to the post-season and four since they finished with a winning record. What can be done, and who needs to step up to the plate this year to improve that less-than-stellar record?

 

A fit and fresh Cabrera eyes natural game

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Designated hitter and first baseman Miguel Cabrera could be crucial to Detroit’s fortunes. The 36-year-old is now in great shape after struggling with knee injuries during the last three seasons.

Cabrera certainly has the pedigree to revitalize the Tigers, having won two MVP trophies in the past. He recently revealed that he overhauled his training regimen in the off-season, and it is already paying dividends. He is noticeably slimmer and fitter. 

The Venezuelan logged the worst numbers of his 17-year career in 2019, hitting .282/.345/.398, with 12 home runs over 136 games. That is some way short of his .316/.393/.563 with 38 home runs record from 2016. 

Cabrera believes the new exercise program could enable him to recapture his old form. He recently revealed in an interview about his focus on playing his “natural” game in 2020 after a troublesome period. 

He said: “I don’t want to change my swing anymore. I want to be natural. The last three years I changed my swing a lot to feel comfortable at home plate, so I don’t feel like something is bothering me. I want to go out there and feel natural. Don’t think about anything and just react.”

 

Bryan Garcia could be set to breakout

Bryan Garcia was promoted to the major leagues in September last year, and the signs all point to a potential breakout season for the 25-year-old pitcher.

Garcia, who has undergone Tommy John surgery (TJS) in the past, was mostly inconsistent in 2019 as he struggled with control and command. Back in 2017, Garcia struck out 13 batters per nine innings during a successful period, which earned him three promotions, and he will need to show some of that form again if the Tigers are to be more competitive in MLB 2020.

 

Joe Jimenez needs to be consistently great

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One player who can look back on 2019 more favorably is Joe Jimenez, who ended the year on a high. The 25-year-old Puerto Rican came in with an excellent 12.4 K/9 for the season, but his BB/9 and HR/9 figures of 2.5 and 2.0, respectively, left a lot to be desired.

Jimenez’s best month was in September when he came into his own, and the Tigers will need more of that consistently in 2020. Pitch values show that his slider has become more valuable during the last 18 months as he is now throwing out fewer fastballs and changeups.

Opposing general managers will not like coming up against Jimenez next season, and he could catch fire if he can increase his contact allowed and Z-contact returns to match his recent career highs in O-swing and swinging strike percentages.

ZiPS projects a solid year for Jeimer Candelario

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Third baseman Jeimer Candelario is expected to bounce back in 2020 with ZiPS – the system used for player projections – expecting the 26-year-old to have a solid season in 2020. ZiPS projects figures of .237/.322.412, which would be an improvement on last term.

Candelario has been in and around the league average for stats such as hard-hit percentage and exit velocity during the last two years, but he has been hampered by below-average luck on balls in play. If he can make some fine adjustments in the offseason and get a bit more success, he could be a key player for the Tigers as they look to advance to the play-offs.

Other players will also need to improve to help Detroit to bounce back in 2020. They include outfielder Christin Stewart and pitcher Jordan Zimmerman. As the MLB looks to get the new season up and running as soon as possible, the Tigers will be aiming to register early wins after an inconsistent 2019 campaign.