A new era has begun in Detroit Tigers’ history. After moving almost half the team, the new-look Tigers’ offense is set to have a rough 2018 season.

After disastrous 2016 and 2017 seasons, Al Avila and the front office of the Detroit Tigers folded and have sold nearly half of the team’s starting lineup. The 2018 Tigers will be an extremely different as guys like Kinsler, Upton, WilsonAvila, J.D. Martinez, Verlander and Maybin have all been moved to different teams. The upcoming season looks to be very bleak, but there are still reasons to be excited about this team.

Starting Lineup Projections:

  1. Dixon Machado (2B)
  2. Mikie Mahtook (LF)
  3. Miguel Cabrera (1B)
  4. Nicholas Castellanos (RF)
  5. Jeimer Candelario (3B)
  6. Victor Martinez (DH)
  7. James McCann (C)
  8. Leonys Martin (CF)
  9. Jose Iglesias (SS)

Veterans have to lead this team.

I wish the Tigers would just move on from Victor Martinez as he was a cancer in the locker room last season, and even flipped off Justin Verlander in a game against the Yankees late last season. He also just didn’t produce last season as he hit only .255 with a meek 47 RBI’s. Martinez’s exit would also give an opportunity for 3B prospect Dawel Lugo and OF Victor Reyes to get some time in that spot. But, Al Avila still sees something in the 39-year-old that makes him believe he can help this young team. Expect his leash to be very short.

Another veteran guy making a lot of money is Miguel Cabrera. As all Tigers’ fans know, the big fella didn’t have a Miggy-like 2017. In fact, it was his worse year in the major leagues. Age seemed to catch up to Cabrera as he was only .249/.329/.399 hitting in the middle of the lineup last season. He also had a career low of 60 RBI’s. Miggy need to shape up this season if the Detroit Tigers are going to be successful. But even if he doesn’t, he will be a mentor to these younger guys which Cabrera has always done. Look back to the days of Avisail Garcia who Cabrera took under his wing before Garcia was moved to the Chicago White Sox in the Iglesias deal.

These vets could play a huge role as mentors and leaders of this 2018 team, hopefully their numbers can get a little jump, and we will see a bounce back year from the more experienced side of the Detroit Tigers.

Nicholas Castellanos looks to lead the prospects.

I know it is hard to believe, but Nicholas Castellanos could still be considered a prospect. Do you want to know something crazy? Castellanos is only one month older that reigning AL Rookie of the Year Aaron Judge. He will be only 26-years-old heading into his fifth full season in 2019. Castellanos still has a ton of potential to be a leader of this club during the rebuild and moving forward. A move to RF could be exactly what he needs to jump start his defensive abilities, especially because we have seen some glimpses of his arm strength in his days at third base.

Two more guys to watch will be Jeimer Candelario and Dixon Machado. Machado has been known for his defensive abilities, and flashed the glove multiple times in the 73 games he played in last season at both 2B and SS. Machado also proved to be a bit of a threat offensively during the summer months as he was hitting over .300 through most of August. Once the leaves started falling, Machado’s batting average did the same. Machado hit only .178 in September and his average for the season dipped to .259. But if he could produce like he did in the summer months for a whole season, we could be looking at a younger version of Ian Kinsler.

Meanwhile, Candelario will be the starting third baseman to begin the year, and this is a lot to be excited for in this young man. In 27 games with the Tigers last season, Candy hit .330 had 9 doubles, and raked in 13 RBI’s. He has a wide stance, and has the potential to be a real power hitter in the lineup this season. Candy is known to hit deep doubles that when he gets stronger could be home runs. I am pumped to see this guy get better and he has the potential to some day be one of the best hitters in the MLB.

There are problems in the outfield.

Mikie Mahtook will undoubtedly begin the season with a spot in the outfield. Mahtook had a solid 2017 hitting .276 in just over 100 games. He also showed some killer speed in the outfield and made some unbelievable diving catches throughout the season. However, Mahtook is 28 years old, and his time with the Tigers could be dwindling. The Tigers have a lot of outfielders in the top of their farm system who are about to be ready to give the major leagues a shot. This includes Mike Gerber, Daz Cameron (Verlander trade), Christin Stewart, Victor Reyes (Rule 5 Draft #1 Pick), Derek Hill, and of course JaCoby Jones. So if Mahtook doesn’t produce, we could see him lose some playing time with all these young guns underneath him.

Another outfielder who could be gone very quickly is Leonys Martin. Martin is very intriguing because he is 29-years-old, but has been in and out of the majors his entire career. That is greatly in part to his strikeout problem. In the three seasons Martin has played over 100 games in, he has also struck out over 100 times. This includes 2016 where he struck out 149 times in 143 games. Last year, Martin only played in 49 games with the Mariners and the Cubs, but is seems that he will be starting in Center here in Detroit. Like many others on the team, Martin will have to prove his worth, or he will be jumping ship for the aforementioned younger players the Tigers organization has nearly MLB ready.

Fan-favorites who could be on their way out.

Last but certainly not least in the question marks is James McCann. After the 2015 season, McCann looked to be the catcher of the future for the Tigers. He was young, was hitting well, and earned his nickname McCannon while gunning people out trying to steal second base.

Nowadays, faith is being lost in the 27-year-old. The past two season McCann has struggled to hit the ball. He hit only .221 in 2016, and .253 in 2017. By the end of the 2017 season, McCann was losing starts to John Hicks who was putting up better numbers offensively. The Tigers also have the #8 catching prospect in baseball who could maybe get some major league time this year in Jake Rogers (Verlander trade). This year will be the year that we learn the true nature of McCann. Either he will crack under the pressure and be a bust, or he could be a diamond in the rough the Tigers need.

Keeping Iglesias on the team really surprised me as I figured he would be traded at this point. The past two seasons have been nearly identical for this young veteran. The 27-year-old hit .255, but was as great as ever defensively. I definitely thought that a team might take a flyer on him because of his youth and experience. but for now, he is still a Tiger and will be looked to lead and teach some up and coming SS how to defend the position. Dawel Lugo (J.D. Martinez deal), Dixon Machado, and Sergio Alcantara (J.D. Martinez deal) will be among the guys vying for some playing time at SS this season. If they perform well, expect the Tigers to view Iglesias as more expendable.

The 2018 Detroit Tigers season will be…

Not the same. There isn’t as much pizzazz to this team as previous year, and fans know it. This team is projected to only win 40 games this season. But new manger Ron Gardenhire said, “I’m not saying we’re going to shock the world or anything, but we could… That’s what we are trying to do.” We will see if the Detroit Tigers can surprise some people and be a little better than expected.

Author Details
Content Contributor for Armchair Tigers The Armchair All-Americans LLC
Hi my name is Daniel Plocher and I am a junior at Wisconsin Lutheran College. I am the Editor-in-Chief of our student newspaper and love writing for Armchair. I was raised in California, however I love all Detroit sports. My family is really weird because one side of the family is all Detroit and Michigan fans, and the other side is huge into Wisconsin sports and Michigan St fans. We are literally a family divided by sports. Because of this, I cheer for the Brewers and the Bucks to ease a bit of tension. I mainly write for Armchair Tigers, but I also write some pieces for my other fandoms as well.
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Content Contributor for Armchair Tigers The Armchair All-Americans LLC
Hi my name is Daniel Plocher and I am a junior at Wisconsin Lutheran College. I am the Editor-in-Chief of our student newspaper and love writing for Armchair. I was raised in California, however I love all Detroit sports. My family is really weird because one side of the family is all Detroit and Michigan fans, and the other side is huge into Wisconsin sports and Michigan St fans. We are literally a family divided by sports. Because of this, I cheer for the Brewers and the Bucks to ease a bit of tension. I mainly write for Armchair Tigers, but I also write some pieces for my other fandoms as well.

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