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Inside the Article:
Alright, alright, alright. The Detroit Tigers are halfway through their Spring Training and it's time for another Opening Day lineup prediction based on what we've seen. In the first edition, Andre Lipicius made the cut and performed well this spring. Other players have not performed so well, and you may be surprised who isn't in the lineup to start the season.
Why it matters:
Last season the Tigers had the worst offense in the Major Leagues. There was very little pop in the bats and a ton of strikeouts. It was putrid. But we don't need to relive that. The team is much different now, as far as roster construction goes, and they've been playing pretty decent baseball this spring.
- They are second in the MLB in Spring Training home runs (27) [you can pick yourself up off the floor now]
- As a team, they are slashing: .268/.339/.510.
A mid-Spring Training Opening Day Lineup prediction
So without further adieu, we need to project what the best lineup would be for the Tigers on Opening Day, March 30th, against the Tampa Bay Rays. Now, just as before, we are going to assume that the Rays are going to be throwing Shane McClanahan, the hard-throwing lefty. McClanahan was solid last season tossing 166.1 innings, with a 2.54 ERA, 3.00 FIP, and a 10.5 K rate. The Tigers lineup below will reflect as much.
Questions surrounding the Detroit Tigers' Opening Day Lineup
As it sits now, there is really only one question mark as far as the Tigers are concerned. Yes, they still need a third baseman, but we've solved that with Lipcius, who's had a good spring. All Lipcius has done is tie for the team lead in hits (7), hitting .318/.318/.773, gone yard 3 times, and only struck out twice in 22 at-bats. However, it is Spring Training, so let's not hand out Rookie of the Year trophies just yet.
The question is not who's on third (?), but rather will Jonathan Schoop be a part of this team heading north? As it stands at the midway point, there's reason to believe that he may not. There are younger guys outperforming him offensively, in a small sample size, but still problematic. He's playing in the World Baseball Classic and was only able to get eight at-bats with the Tigers, where he struck out three times, drew zero walks, and had one hit. We know what Schoop is at this point: a good fielding, all-or-nothing hitter, who is aging. It's time to cut the cord.
Mid-Spring Training Opening Day Lineup prediction:
Okay, so here were are to make another prediction. Austin Meadows is struggling with the bat, but it will take a catastrophe for him to not be on the Opening Day roster. His brother, Parker Meadows, has done really well this spring, but most likely doesn't come north either. In facing McClanahan, the goal would be to play the “splits” game and get as many righties in the lineup as possible. Here's what we got:
- Matt Vierling, LF
- Riley Greene, CF
- Javy Baez, SS
- Eric Haase, C
- Spencer Torkelson, 1B
- Austin Meadows, RF
- Miguel Cabrera, DH
- Nick Maton, 2B
- Andre Lipcius, 3B
There's still a lot of baseball to be played down in Lakeland, Florida and this prediction will change one final time on March 27th. Anything can happen between now and then, like Tyler Nevin, getting injured recently when he was making a push to make the team. Be looking for our 26-man roster projection coming out shortly, and get ready for what could be an exciting baseball season for the Tigers, because it can't be worse than last year.