2020 Fantasy Baseball: Detroit Tigers Team Outlook

Shawn Childs

Detroit Tigers

The Tigers finished more games out of first place (53.3) than they won (47) in 2019. They had the worst record (47-114) in baseball and have had three consecutive losing seasons. Their last postseason appearance came in 2014. Detroit only has 16 playoff appearances in the team’s 119-year history with four World Series titles (1935, 1945, 1968, and 1984). 

Last year, they struggled to score runs (582 – 30th) with only 149 home runs (29th) and 556 RBI (30th). Detroit’s batters struck out 1,595 times (major league-high) with only 391 walks (second-lowest total). Detroit ranked 28th in ERA (5.24) with 31 saves.

In the offseason, the Tigers signed 1B C.J. Cron, 2B Jonathan Schoop, and C Austin Romine. Their starting lineup lacks speed while all options would rank below the league average at their positions. Detroit didn’t add one pitcher over the winter. They continue to wait for their young core arms to emerge from the minors.

Vegas posted an over/under of 59.5 wins for the Tigers in 2020. They look miles away from contending while waiting to lose some of their top-end contracts before piecing together a better offense. Detroit wants to develop their pitching from the minors. Once their core or arms look competitive at the major league level, they will address the missing pieces to their offense. 

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Reyes hit .299 over 2,348 at-bats in the minors with 22 home runs, 314 RBI, and 90 stolen bases over seven seasons. His approach at the plate (strikeout rate - 15.3 and walk rate - 6.5) isn't high enough at this point in his career to offset his low output in power and limited upside in speed. In 2019 at AAA, Reyes did look stronger (10 HRs over 289 at-bats), which led to growth in his contact batting average at AAA (.368) and the majors (.396). After a quiet 83 at-bats (.229 with no HRs, four RBI, and one SB) with the Tigers to start 2019, Reyes turned into a much better player over his final 45 games (.337 with three HRs, 21 RBI, and eight SBs over 193 at-bats). His walk rate (4.8) remained short while his strikeout rate (21.9) hovered around league average. 

Trending toward a 10/15 player with expected help in batting average. His size (6’5” and 215 lbs.) does give him a chance to build off his improved power in 2019 (13 HRs over 56 at-bats). Borderline OF5 in deep leagues with an ADP of 376. The Tigers don’t have much on the roster, so Reyes may bat leadoff to start the year. 

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Over the last year or so, Schoop found himself in some messy situations to earn every day at-bats with the Brewers and the Twins. Despite his regression in playing time, he maintained his power for the fourth straight season when considering his at-bats totals. His AVH (1.847) was a career-best while supporting another 30 home run season. 

Last year In 2019, he had a rebound in his contact batting average (.350), but his batting average (.256) still came in as a liability, partly due to his rising strikeout rate (25.0 – 23.0 in his career). Schoop doesn’t take many walks (4.3 percent), which suggests a fifth or sixth place hitter in most lineups. He played the best against left-handed pitching (.277 with nine HRs and 23 RBI over 112 at-bats). His HR/FB rate (19.7) was a career-high. 

If a fantasy owner solves batting average and speed early in a draft, Schoop should work well as a power-hitting middle infielder. An outside chance at a neutral batting average with 80 runs, 30 home runs, and 80 RBI while coming off the board at pick 404 as the 41st second baseman. Schoop could be a value pick on the right team structure.

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It’s almost sad writing about Cabrera after his disappointing last three seasons (.270 with 31 HRs and 141 RBI over 1,096 at-bats). In 2004, I was fortunate enough to draft him in the sixth round of my first high-stakes draft. He helped lead me to a league title after batting .294 with 33 home runs and 112 RBI. 

Last season, his AVH (1.410) continued to plunge downward with leadoff batter feel. His run rate (22) turned into a high liability due to a weaker supporting cast and slower wheels. Cabrera now has a league average approach (strikeout rate – 19.7 and walk rate – 8.7), but he did produce a respectable RBI rate (16). His bat still had some life in batting average against lefties (.340 with four HRs and 20 RBI over 97 at-bats). Despite empty power numbers (12 HRs) in 2019, his hard-hit rate (44.7) ranked 66th in baseball. Realistically, his HR/FB rate has been under his career average (18.3) in five of his last six seasons (14.0, 15.8, 13.4, 13.6, and 9.7). 

Cabrera needs 185 hits to reach 3,000 and 23 home runs to reach 500. This draft season Cabrera has an ADP of 415, which is the 70th corner infield option. His failure was somewhat due to bad knees, and he expressed interest in getting in better shape. Worth a flier as his batting average can still help, and he’s been a stud before. 

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Heading into his seventh year in the majors, Cron has never had over 501 at-bats in a season. His power (55 home runs over 959 at-bats) emerged over the past two seasons with Tampa and Minnesota. He hit .266 over the first half of 2019 with 17 home runs and 54 RBI over 301 at-bats before going down with a right thumb issue in July that required surgery after the season. Even with his injury, Cron produced six home runs and 20 RBI over 84 at-bats in August. In essence, he lost almost two months of playing time. 

His bat worked well versus left-handed pitching with 11 HRs and 31 RBI. Even with a negative batting average for the last three years (.248. .253, and .253), Cron did have a league average strikeout rate (21.4) in 2019, with minimal walks (5.8 percent). His HR/FB rate has been about 20.0 in each of his past two seasons (21.4, and 19.5) while being supported by his AVH (1.945 and 1.853). His next step is regaining some of his lost loft (fly-ball rate – 36.3 and 39.0 in his career). I expect the most at-bats of his career, which will lead to 80-plus runs, 35-plus home runs, and 85-plus RBI. His batting average could move to league average. Cron has an ADP of 282 in January.

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Stewart had almost identical seasons over the last three years in the minors. In 2016, he hit .255 with 30 home runs and 87 RBI followed up by .256/28/86 and .263/25/80 seasons. Last year, he had his first meaningful opportunity with the Tigers. His strikeout rate (24.8) came in higher than his minor league resume (23.0) and he took a step back in his walk rate (8.2 – 12.5 in the minors). He missed some time with hamstring and concussion injuries. 

Stewart didn’t have one month of value with the Tigers. He also failed to provide an against either right-handed (.232) or left-handed (.236) pitchers. The Tigers selected him in the first round of the 2015 MLB June Amateur Draft. Over five seasons in the minors, he hit .264 with 98 home runs, 297 RBI, and 12 stolen bases in 1,740 at-bats. His defense will limit him to left field. His AVH in the minors points to 35 home runs while having a limited ceiling in batting average. For now, only a waiver wire player with a lot to prove in the majors. 

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Over nine seasons in the minors, Candelario doesn't have a great resume. He hit .272 over 3,007 at-bats with 80 home runs, 466 RBI, and eight steals. His walk rate (10.7) is an area of strength with an above the league average strikeout rate (17.4). His bat did show growth over four seasons at AAA (.297 with 33 HRs and 159 RBI over 832 at-bats), plus he handled himself well over 38 games in the majors in 2017 (.283 with three home runs and 16 RBI over 127 at-bats). In 2018, his strikeout rate (25.9) came in much higher than expected with Detroit while still maintaining his walk rate (10.7), but he did show growth in power (.224 with 78 runs, 19 home runs, and 54 RBI over 539 at-bats). Last year Candelario lost his way, which led a poor season (.203 with eight HRs and 32 RBI over 335 at-bats) with a similar approach (strikeout rate – 25.7 and walk rate – 11.1). He did battle a left shoulder injury that led to a trip to the injured list in June and a thumb issue later in the year. His game did look much better at AAA (.320 with nine HRs and 33 RBI over 153 at-bats). Probably not as bad as 2019 in the majors with a chance to rebound in batting average with some correction in his strikeouts. More of an injury cover if he earns starting at-bats with production at the plate.

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Over the last two seasons, Goodrum hit .243 with 28 home runs, 98 RBI, and 24 stolen bases over 884 at-bats. His strikeout rate (29.8) does invite playing time loss while his walk rate (9.8) showed growth. He hit well against lefties (.361), but Goodrum only had one home run and eight RBI over 97 at-bats. His lack of success against vs. righthanded pitching (.215 with 11 HRs and 37 RBI over 326 at-bats), doesn’t paint an upside picture in playing time once the Tigers develop better prospects at the major league level. Last year he missed much of the final six weeks of the season with a groin issue. Over eight seasons in the minors, Goodrum hit .250 with 42 home runs, 294 RBI, and 122 stolen bases over 2,454 at-bats. Goodrum can help in the counting categories if he earns starting at-bats. His AVH (1.685) gives him 25 home runs upside with a full season of at-bats while also having the wheels to steal 20 or more bases. His ADP (294) paints him as a starter in deep leagues despite his job loss risk. 

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Over the past four seasons as the backup catcher for the Yankees, Romine hit .247 with 24 home runs and 124 RBI over 864 at-bats. His bat played much better in 2018 and 2019, leading to temptation for fantasy owners if he repeated that success (.262 with 59 runs, 18 home runs, and 77 RBI over 470 at-bats) with a starting opportunity. His strikeout rate (20.8) came in better than his career average (22.5) with weakness in his walk rate (4.2). Romine showed improvement in his contract batting average over the previous two seasons (.337 and .360). Worth a swing as a C2 in deep leagues with a chance at a .250/15/60 type season with 450 at-bats.

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Jones had a tough time making contact in his three years in the majors, which led to him striking out 313 times in 896 at-bats (31.9 percent). He did improve his strikeout rate to 28.2 in 2109 with growth as well in his walk rate (8.1). Over the last two seasons, Jones hit .219 with 22 home runs, 60 RBI, and 20 stolen bases over 727 at-bats. In 2019, he had no value against lefties (.200 with one HR and two RBI over 60 at-bats). His bat was more than serviceable in May and June (.281 with eight HRs, 22 RBI, and five SBs over 171 at-bats). Over his next 20 games, Jones lost his way (.197 with two HRs and three RBI over 76 at-bats) before landing on the injured list for the remainder of the year with a broken left wrist. His AVH (1.829) is rising with an uptick in his CTBA (.343). Swing and miss 20/20 player with batting average risk. Over seven seasons in the minors, Jones hit .265 with 56 home runs, 253 RBI, and 70 SBs over 1,803 at-bats. 

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Greiner had a chance to compete for the starting catching job in Detroit in 2019, but his bat wasn’t ready. Over six seasons in the minors, he hit .245 with 32 home runs and 150 RBI over 1,286 at-bats. His power started to take a step forward in 2017 at AA (14 HRs and 42 RBI over 328 at-bats), but his resume looks empty at AAA (.250 with six HRs and 29 RBI over 224 at-bats) while looking lost in the majors in his short career (.207 over 304 at-bats with five RBI and 31 RBI). His strikeout rate (30.0) needs plenty of work. Greiner may develop power, but he’ll only receive a part-time role in 2020.

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Castro drifted through the minors for nine seasons (.278 with 15 HRs, 224 RBI, and 109 SBs over 2,596 at-bats) before getting his chance with the Tigers in 2019. His season started with success at AAA (.328 with four HRs, 25 RBI, and one SB over 122 at-bats). He struggled against lefties (.212 with no HR and five RBI over 66 at-bats) while somewhat surprising against righthanded pitching (.309 with five HRs and 33 RBI over 288 at-bats). Castro earned starting at-bats after the All-Star break (.291 with four HRs and 29 RBI over 251 at-bats). He has a ground ball swing (52.4 percent) with minimal loft (fly-ball rate – 22.5) and a low HR/FB rate (3.5 or under every in the minors before 2019 and 8.3 with the Tigers). His strikeout rate (22.3) is too high for his skill set with emptiness in his walk rate (2.4). Only utility option with no real upside in power or speed. 

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After being a light-hitting power hitter with low speed over his first four seasons in the minors, Lugo was a much better hitter in 2016 and 2017 highlighted by his success at AA (.284 with 17 HRs, 85 RBI, and four SBs over 689 at-bats). In 2018, he stalled at AAA (.262 with three HRs, 59 RBI, and 12 SBs over 523 at-bats) while showing regression his ability to drive the ball (AVH – 1.299). Lugo played better at AAA last year (.333 with five HRs, 41 RBI, and six SBs over 282 at-bats), earning him an extended look with the Tigers. In the majors, his strikeout rate (20.5) was league average while showing almost no pulse in walks (2.8 percent). Lugo is a career .280 hitter in the minors with 55 home runs, 391 RBI, and 39 SBs over 3,163 at-bats. More power than speed, but he projected to have less than replacement value out of the gate. In the mix for the starting job at third base for Detroit. 

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After struggling in his first two seasons in the minors (.232 over 331 at-bats with two HRs, 37 RBI, and 36 SBs), Cameron looked much more relevant in 2017 (.271 with 14 HRs, 74 RBI, and 32 SBs over 454 at-bats) and 2018 (.264 with eight HRs, 61 RBI, and 24 SBs over 473 at-bats). Unfortunately, his bat regressed in 2019 at AAA (.214 with 13 HRs, 43 RBI, and 17 SBs over 448 at-bats). His walk rate (10.2) is an edge, but he still strikes out too much (25.8). The Tigers drafted him 37th overall in 2015 in the MLB June Amateur Draft. Cameron has a lot to prove in 2020 at AAA. 

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Eric Haase (C) came to the Tigers in the offseason via a trade with the Indians. Over nine seasons in the minors, he hit .243 with 130 home runs, 399 RBI, and 15 stolen bases over 2,529 at-bats. His power is massive based on his play at AAA (49 HRs and 133 RBI over 789 at-bats), but he hit .232 with a losing strikeout rate (32.4). Haase will try to win a backup catching role in 2020 for Detroit. 

Travis Demeritte (OF) saw his first action the major in 2019, but he struggled to make an impact (.225 with three HRs, 10 RBI, and three SBs over 169 at-bats) and contact (33.9 percent strikeout rate). Over seven seasons in the minors, he hit .244 with 114 home runs, 356 RBI, and 53 steals over 2,412 at-bats. Demeritte did look improved at AAA in 2019 (.286 with 20 HRs, 73 RBI, and four SBs over 339 at-bats). Only a bench option if he makes the team.

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Boyd showed growth in two different areas in 2018 and 2019, but he still finished with a combined 4.48 ERA over 63 starts. Two years ago, he set a career-best in batting average against (.228 – .247 in 2019 and .259 in his career). His improvement last season came via his strikeout rate (11.6 – 8.4 in 2018 and 8.8 in his career). Boyd had his best value over his first 14 starts (3.08 ERA, 15 walks, and 105 Ks over 84.2 innings) while serving up 10 home runs. His season ended with failure in 10 of his final 18 starts, which led to a 5.81 ERA, 133 Ks, and 29 home runs over 100.2 innings. 

Boyd continues to pitch up in the strike zone (fly-ball rate – 44.9) with a massive spike in his HR/FB rate (18.2). His AFB (92.5) fell in the range of his previous two seasons. Boyd gained his edge with an explosive slider (.188 BAA with 113 Ks over 250 at-bats). Not one of his other pitches (four-seam – .269 BAA, changeup – .262 BBA, and curveball – .381 BAA) offered an edge. The combination of his high strikeout total (238) and improving walk rate (2.4 – career-low) will draw interest in the fantasy market, but there is more disaster than upside in this arm. Priced as an SP3 (ADP – 165) in the high-stakes market, but I’ll avoid his risk unless he’s traded to a contender. 

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Over the last two seasons with the Tigers, Norris went 3-18 with a 4.77 ERA and 176 strikeouts over 188.2 innings. In 2019, his walk rate (2.4) had growth, but his strikeout rate (7.8) came in flat with continued problems with home runs allowed (1.6 per nine). Other than one bad start (six runs and eight baserunners over 5.1 innings), he flashed over his first 11 games (4.18 ERA). Norris allowed two runs or fewer in six of his next 11 starts, but he posted a 5.21 ERA with 11 home runs allowed over 65.2 innings.

The Tigers decided to limit his inning per start over his final nine contests, which led to some progress (3.33 ERA, .208 BAA, and 27 Ks over 27 innings). Norris pitched exactly three innings in each of those games while serving up five home runs. Most of his failure came against right-handed batters (.279 with 20 HRs over 456 at-bats). Last year, he induced more ground balls (42.6 percent) with disaster in his HR/FB rate (15.7). His AFV (91.1) is weaker than his earlier years in the majors. Both his slider (.211 BAA) and changeup (.225 BAA) showed life, but batters drilled his fastball (four-seam – .310 BAA and sinker - .338 BAA) as well as his curveball (.353 BAA). Over the last seven seasons in the majors, Norris has a 4.36 ERA and 510 Ks over 460.1 innings.

His only upside season came in 2014 between High A and AAA (12-2 with a 2.53 ERA and 163 Ks over 124.2 innings). His checkered path makes him tough to trust, but there are some signs of progress in 2019. Only a waiver wire dart. 

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After being serviceable over his previous three seasons (32-31 with a 4.16 ERA and 372 Ks over 510 innings), Nova showed more regression in his game. He allowed the most hits (225) in the American League, along with setting a league-high in starts (34). His strikeout rate (5.5) is a major liability, with some fade in his walk rate (2.3 – 2.0 in 2018 and 1.7 in 2017). Nova had no answer for righties (.313) or lefties (.293). Even with losing stats, he did throw the ball well over seven starts (0.94 ERA and 25 Ks over 48 innings) from July 22nd to August 24th. His risk comes from his disaster starts (eight games with five runs or more allowed). His AFB (92.8) has been in a tight range over the last five seasons. Nova had only one pitch of value in 2019 (slider – .237). Risky inning eater who will work as a place holder until one of the Tigers young pitchers is ready to make a push to the majors.

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For the mere sum of $85 million, the Tigers picked up 25 wins and 41 losses over the past four seasons from Zimmermann with a 5.61 ERA and 362 strikeouts over 508.2 innings. His walk rate (2.1) remains viable, but he can’t strike out batters any more (6.6 per nine). In 2019, he posted a 1-13 record with a 6.91 ERA over 112 innings with 82 strikeouts. Zimmermann battled elbow and neck issues last year. Lefthanded batters hit .346 off of him with 12 home runs over 237 at-bats. His only month of value came in August (3.27 ERA over 22 innings with 21 Ks). He continues to lose velocity on his fastball (90.7 – career-low) while featuring a declining curveball (.333 BAA) and slider (.313 BAA). There isn’ t enough Band-Aids to fix his issues. Avoid at all costs while Detroit dishes over another $25 million in 2020.

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Despite a slow path through the minors, Turnbull posted a 3.56 ERA and 410 Ks over 427.1 innings. He came into 2019 with only two career starts at AAA (three runs over 19 Ks over 13.1 innings). After his first start (no runs over 3.2 innings with seven strikeouts) in the minors last year, the Tigers called him up. His stuff held up surprisingly well over his first 14 starts (2.78 ERA and 73 Ks over 77.2 innings). After a bad start on June 16th (six runs and 12 baserunners over five innings with four Ks), Turnbull posted a 6.30 ERA and 69 strikeouts over his final 15 starts. His walk rate (3.6) needs work while finishing with strength in his strikeout rate (8.9). He needs to improve vs. lefties (.298 with seven home runs over 302 at-bats). Turnbull threw a slider (.221 BAA) as his best pitch with a serviceable four-seamer (.249 BAA), but all of his other pitches had downside. Possible growth with some value in strikeouts. 

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The excitement with Fulmer faded over the last couple of seasons due to regression in his success and multiple injuries. Fulmer threw the ball well over his first ten starts in 2017 (5-3 with a 2.65 ERA and 54 Ks over 68 innings), but his arm started to lose momentum in June and July (4.48 ERA and 46 Ks over 72.1 innings) before landing on the IL in early August with an elbow issue. After missing two weeks, he struggled over his last four starts of the season (5.18 ERA and 14 Ks over 24.1 innings). The Tigers shut him down in September, leading to surgery to fix an issue with his ulnar nerve in his right elbow. In 2018, Fulmer was able to make his first start of the year for the Tigers. His stuff came in below his previous success when healthy over his first 18 starts (4.18 ERA and 91 Ks over 107.1 innings) while struggling walks (3.0 per nine) and home runs (12). A disaster start on July 14th (seven runs and 12 baserunners over 4.2 innings) led to six weeks on the injured list with an oblique issue. When he returned to the mound, Fulmer posted a 5.75 ERA over his last 20.1 innings with five home runs allowed. A right knee injury that required surgery in September of 2018 was part of his failure. Last spring Fulmer finally blew up his right elbow, which led to TJ surgery in March. I expect him to miss the first half of 2020 while being tough to trust without glowing reports in his recovery. Possible rebound in value, but it may not come until 2021.

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The Tigers drafted Manning with the ninth overall pick in the 2016 June MLB Amateur Draft. His stuff has progressively got better with each year of experience in the minors. In 2019, he made 24 starts at AA, which led to an 11-5 record with a 2.56 ERA and 148 strikeouts over 133.2 innings. Manning finished the best walk rate (2.6) of his career, but his strikeout rate (10.0) came in lower than his career average. Over four seasons in the minors, he has a 3.04 ERA and 410 strikeouts over 331.2 innings. Manning brings to the table a mid-90s fastball and a plus curveball. His changeup should develop into a winning piece to his arsenal in the majors. With 133.2 innings under his belt last year, Manning looks poised to reach the majors by June. His early January ADP is 457, with a low of 285. Must follow this spring while offering buy and hold upside.

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Last summer, Mize looked like a lock to make the Tigers’ rotation out of spring training after allowing eight runs and 41 hits over his first 75.2 innings in the minors. Over this span, he posted a 0.95 ERA and .159 BAA with 11 walks and 73 strikeouts while winning eight games with no losses. Mize landed on the injured list in mid-June with a right shoulder issue. When he returned to the mound in July, his stuff lost value (6.61 ERA, .292 BAA, and 1.564 WHIP). Over his final two seasons at Auburn, Mize went 18-8 with a 2.77 ERA, 25 walks, and 265 strikeouts over 198.1 innings. Detroit drafted him first overall in 2018. With the Tigers in no position to win in 2020, they won’t push Mize too hard this year, but there is no doubt he is on the fast track to the majors. He has plus command with electric upside in strikeouts. Mize locates his fastball well in and out the strike zone while offering a top of the line swing and miss split-finger fastball. He’s developing a feel for a cutter while owning an elite slider as well. In the early draft season, fantasy owners are sleeping at the wheel passed on his ADP (443). I expect him to make a 2018 Chris Paddock push in drafts in March while still being value wherever he falls. Controlling WHIP wins overall championships, which is Mize’s best asset coming to the majors. His shoulder issue is a slight concern, along with his inning cap in 2020. Place your bet on 150 innings with a sub 3.00 ERA and 150-plus strikeouts in Detroit. 

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Skubal can’t match the pedigree of the top two arms in the Tigers system in draft value, but he finished with a better year in 2019 (2.42 ERA and 179 Ks over 122.2 innings). His rise to stardom came via growth in his command (walk rate – 2.7) and an electric strikeout rate (13.1). In his final year in college, he walked 6.3 batters per nine, pushing him to the ninth round in the 2018 MLB June Amateur Draft. His fastball has a high 90s upside while working with a slider/curveball combination of breaking pitches. Skubal needs to develop his changeup while also proving he can repeat his command at the higher levels of the minors. His next stop should be AAA with a viable ticket to the majors if he builds on his 2019 success.

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The first thing that bothers me about Jimenez is his weight issue (270 lbs.) at the age of 24. The second is his issue with home runs allowed (2.0 per nine) in 2019. Over the three seasons in the majors, he has a 5.41 ERA and 177 strikeouts over 141.1 innings. His walk rate (3.5) remains too high, but he did add more value to his strikeout rate (12.4). 

In his first opportunity to close over the final two months, Jimenez did pitch better (3.06 ERA and 23 Ks over 17.2 innings). He converted nine-of-10 save opportunities. He struggled against lefties (.262 with five HRs over 103 at-bats) and his AFB (95.5) is trending down, but batters hit just .220 against his four-seamer. Jimenez gains his edge by his plus slider (.186 BAA). In the minors, his arm did offer more value (15-7 with a 1.56 ERA, 241 Ks, and 56 saves over 167.1 innings). Jimenez has an ADP of 220 in the early draft season. Not a layup, but not dead in the either. He has a live arm with more upside in strikeouts if Jimenez gets in better shape and throws more strikes. A floor of 25 saves with a chance to pick up 100-plus strikeouts.

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The Tigers selected Burrows in the 1st round of the 2015 MLB June Amateur Draft. Over five seasons in the minors, Beau has a 30-26 record with a 3.61 ERA and 433 Ks over 468.1 innings. His stuff did lose value over 41 starts at AA in 2017 and 2018 (4.38 ERA) due to fade in his walk rate (3.8) with more regression at AAA (4.84 ERA) last season. In 2017, Burrows pitched well at High A (1.23 ERA and 62 Ks over 58.2 innings). His fastball is expected to be in the mid-90s with a chance to offer a curveball and a changeup with major league value. Burrows has been working on a slider as well. He missed sometime late in 2019 due to an oblique injury. His biggest obstacle in getting to the majors is throwing more strikes (walk rate – 4.4 in 2019 and 3.4 in his career). With 15 starts at AAA, the Tigers may just let him develop at the majors with most other veteran options offering no real upside. More of a follow than a target. 

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Farmer was a hard ride in the majors over his first four seasons (5-11 with a 6.80 ERA and 111 Ks over 127 innings). After a switch to the bullpen in 2018, he pitched much better over his last 139 games (9-10 with a 3.94 ERA and 130 Ks over 137 innings). In 2019, Farmer had growth in his walk rate (3.2) and strikeout rate (9.7) while setting a career-low in his ERA (3.72). His stuff still needs work against lefties (.270). He had two disaster months (May – 5.68 ERA and August – 6.75 ERA) while shining in July (1.42 ERA) and September (1.54 ERA). His AFB (95.3) was a career-high, but easy to hit (.302 BAA). Farmer does have two off-speed pitches of value (changeup – .205 BAA and slider – .185 BAA). Not closer-worthy at this point in his career, but he is getting better. His next step is improved command with his fastball in and out of the strike zone.

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