The 2020 MLB season is now a 60-game dash, starting on July 23 and ending, hopefully, with a full-size postseason in October. Between now and the start of the season, we’ll be giving quick capsule previews of each team, reminding you of where things stood back in Spring Training and where they stand now as we embark on what is sure to be the strangest season in baseball history. Next up: The Detroit Tigers roster and schedule:
TIGERS ROSTER (projected)
When the season opens on July 23-24, teams can sport rosters of up to 30 players, with a minimum of 25. Two weeks later, rosters must be reduced to 28 and then, two weeks after that, they must be reduced to 26. Teams will be permitted to add a 27th player for doubleheaders.
In light of that, there is a great degree of latitude for which specific players will break summer camp. For now, though, here are who we expect to be on the Tigers roster to begin the season, give or take:
The Tigers went 47-114 last year. The good news: they’ll not lose that many games this year because the schedule is only 60 games long. The bad news: they’re not substantially better on a game-per-game basis.
To be fair, they added some actual major league players this past offseason, acquiring C.J. Cron, Jonathan Schoop, Cameron Maybin, Austin Romine, and Ivan Nova. None of them are game-changers, but in the aggregate that’ll help improve an appalling offense and, in Nova, some innings might be eaten. Really, it’s guys like that who, historically, make rebuilding teams merely bad instead of historically awful. The Tigers tried a year without such players and see where that got them. Having them may help the club improve to merely bad.
Pitching-wise, the rotation has some, actually, pretty talented dudes. Health has been a big problem, of course and one of the keys to the Tigers, again, being merely bad, is the health of Michael Fulmer. Fulmer once figured to be the Tigers’ ace but he missed all of last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. For now he’s a fourth or fifth starter but there is at least some hope for upside as he comes back. The bullpen projections up there are, basically, guesses. They will cycle a ton of guys through this year one suspects.
The key story for the 2020 Tigers, of course, is how increasingly impressive crop of prospects mature. That’ll be hard to gauge without a minor league season, but most of their promising young future stars are part of the team’s expanded 60-man player pool and will be working out in Toledo all summer. The best news Tigers fans will get most of the season are anecdotes about how someone like top pitching prospects Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal or Matt Manning or newly-drafted slugger Spencer Torkelson look in workouts.
A final note: future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera is still on this team and will be for some time. Many have likely written him off due to injuries and decline in the past few years, but he did show up to both spring training and summer camp in excellent shape. He hit really well in Grapefruit League games in March. It’s probably too much to expect a Comeback Player of the Year award from the guy, but it’d be nice to see him return to something approximating his old form and to see him pick up his 3,000th career hit and 500th career home run some time, say, next season?
Every team will play 60 games. Teams will be playing 40 games against their own division rivals and 20 interleague games against the corresponding geographic division from the other league. Six of the 20 interleague games will be “rivalry” games.
Tigers home stands will be July 27-August 4 (Royals, Reds, Cardinals), August 10-16 (White Sox, Indians), August 24-30 (Cubs, Twins), September 8-9 (Brewers), and September 15-20 (Royals, Indians).