2021 Detroit Tigers: Clawing Away at Spring Training

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As the Spring Training schedule nears its end and MLB Opening Day approaches, the 2021 Detroit Tigers have been quite the interesting team to follow. High-end prospects, new additions, returning vets, and the hope that they improve on their lackluster 2020 campaign, have been the factors to keep fans engaged.

Up to this point, the Tigers are 10-11 overall in Spring Training 2021 (as if records matter in March), but the production and improvement, or lack of improvement are the storylines, as well as who will make the Opening Day roster.

2021 Detroit Tigers: Prospects Rule Talks

If there has been one common theme with the 2021 Detroit Tigers Spring Training season, it has been the constant hype surrounding the prospects in the system. According to multiple publications, the Tigers rank in the Top 5 in terms of total high end prospects in the organization. This should come as no surprise as former 1st Round MLB draft picks such as Casey Mize, Riley Greene, and Spencer Torkelson rank among the most promising prospects in the game.

Although Mize looks like the only one who will have a chance at the 2021 Detroit Tigers Opening Day roster, other prospects such as Isaac Paredes, Willi Castro, and Tarik Skubal will also look to make a splash with the big league club this year.

2021 Detroit Tigers: New Faces

Along with the young prospects that fans of the 2021 Detroit Tigers are learning to recognize, there are also some brand new faces to Detroit this year that have come to the team by the way of free agency and the Rule 5 Draft.

Obviously, the ones who carry the most star-power would be newly acquired veteran catcher Wilson Ramos and veteran right-hander Julio Teheran who both have good MLB service years left in them, and will both be at the big league level on Opening Day. Although the likelihood of long-term residence with Detroit is slim, they both look to help a young core of players on this 2021 Detroit Tigers roster develop.

Other new names that look to make an impact, that are younger but have huge upside are switch-hitting outfielder Robbie Grossman, right-handed pitcher Jose Urena, powerful outfielder Nomar Mazara, and Rule 5 Draft Pick Akil Baddoo. All of the listed players above except for Baddoo have significant MLB service time in the last few years, and will undoubtedly look to boost their numbers this year on the hunt for long-term deals with someone in the league.

Grossman projects to be the most impactful as new manager A.J. Hinch intends to start him in LF and possibly lead him off, although Urena does project as the Tigers #3 or #4 in their starting rotation this season. Baddoo has been one of the most exciting players on the Spring Training roster hitting .324 with 4 Home Runs, and potentially pushing out an Opening Day spot for someone such as Tigers returner Victor Reyes.

Positional players are still battling for positions, and the pitching rotation seems to have one position left which will be filled by either Casey Mize or Michael Fulmer, in which case the young Mize would likely go to Triple-A to continue to develop as a starter, and Fulmer would likely go to the MLB bullpen should Mize win the last spot in the rotation. Either way, Spring Training has been intriguing to watch and the 2021 Detroit Tigers could surprise some teams in their division this year.

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