After winning a monstrous 47 games in 2019, the Detroit Tigers are once again primed to be one of the worst teams in baseball. Their lineup inspires little to nothing after doing research and there aren’t any prospects that are seemingly close to producing at the major league level anytime during 2020 outside of possibly top prospect SP Casey Mize. They made two acquisitions in the offseason, stealing 1B CJ Cron and 2B Jonathan Schoop from the division rival Minnesota Twins. Outside of those two, there are four players that are “deemed” worthy of being drafted in your standard fantasy leagues: SS/OF Niko Goodrum, SP Matt Boyd, CL Joe Jimenez, and apprehensively 1B Miguel Cabrera. Unsurprisingly, Boyd is the only player that is being selected within the top 200 picks in drafts this year and is the only Tiger to inspire any type of excitement from this team. They will be one of the least worthy teams of DFS full stacks this season. I expect to see Boyd being used when he has a good matchup but faded quite a bit given his price points and the Tigers’ inability to produce wins, while Cron, Schoop, and Goodrum will be used as one-offs or in mini stacks. This is just a boring team to watch unless Boyd is pitching. I don’t foresee Casey Mize making a big impact this year and offensively they don’t steal bases, they have no power outside of Cron and Schoop, and have no truly gifted hitters. Nonetheless, here is a breakdown of the six players that are being drafted in your standard mixed leagues.
Matt Boyd (ADP 158): I have mixed feelings about Boyd having watched him pitch so much. When he is on, he is a stud. No doubt about it. When he is off, it can get ugly. He has above-average control, can hit the corners, and has a filthy slider, but when he gets hit, he gets hit hard and deep. Of all qualified starting pitchers, he had the third-highest launch angle of 18.8 degrees, which makes sense given his high HR/FB (18%) as he also had the 17th worst xISO (.185) in 2019. There is no doubt that he gives up a lot of hard contacts. It’s not all bad though. He is a strikeout pitcher that doesn’t walk at a high clip and will provide for a solid ERA, but with minimum win totals. His peripherals definitely tell the story of a HR prone SP, but last season’s numbers may have been inflated due to being incredibly inconsistent with his command and posting career highs in HR/FB and HR/9. Other peripherals suggest that he had the best season of his career as he posted career bests in FIP, xFIP, and K/9 as well as a bevy of other peripherals. During the draft, I wouldn’t reach for Boyd that much, but he has the ability to get you a ton of strikeouts and lower his ERA and run totals. At this point in the draft, there are few guys that have the overall upside that Boyd can produce. He is more than worthy of a mid-round pick and I wouldn’t be opposed to snatching him in the 10th or 11th round.
ZiPS Projections: 172 IP/10 wins/4.37 ERA/4.11 FIP with a 10.04 K/9 and a 2.65 BB/9
CJ Cron (ADP 249): I don’t love Cron as a hitter by any stretch of the imagination, but what I do love is that he is going to be the guy in Detroit this year. Yes, he is going from a fun, exciting, potent lineup in Minnesota to an ultra-boring meager team in Detroit, but Cron will see his fair share of men on base opportunities. He is also going to the third most run conducive park and the 10th highest HR conducive park in the majors whereas Target Field was a run and HR suppressing park. His ADP is right in line with his potential production. He provides for solid value at this juncture in the draft.
ZiPS Projections: .262/.321/.492 with 26 HR/74 RBI/57 R and a .337 wOBA
Jonathan Schoop (ADP 311): I was never as high on Schoop like some prospect analysts were before he came into the league, but he has turned into a solid producer the last 6 seasons. There is nothing flashy about him. He does have above-average power, but walks at a low clip, strikes out a high clip, and has no speed. However, in the final rounds of your draft, he will provide for some extra power for your teams at a position usually deficient of it. Just like Cron, he will be a staple in the middle of the lineup and is going to a much better hitters park than where he was last year (Target Field). I expect him to fall in line with his career averages. I love his value here and wouldn’t be surprised if he is the most productive Tiger’s hitter this year.
ZiPS Projections: .262/304/.465 with 25 HR/72 RBI/71 R and a .321 wOBA
Niko Goodrum (ADP 320): Goodrum is the most versatile player in the Tigers lineup. He can play SS and in the OF while sliding into a number of holes in the lineup. He provides for solid value in the last few rounds in the draft. I pointed out in my Indians Preview that Oscar Mercado was being over-drafted in leagues this year going almost a full 200 picks higher than Goodrum. If you look at their numbers closely, there won’t be a significant difference in their production. Of course, I would rather have Mercado, but not at that point in the draft when I can’t get Goodrum much later. There is no Tiger positional player that will be a stud in fantasy this year, but there will be a few that provide for solid value later in drafts.
ZiPS Projections: .241/.305/.412 with 14HR/48 RBI/57 R/11 SB
Miguel Cabrera (ADP 340): I am not even sure why I am listing him here. Simply because he is being taken in the last few rounds of the draft. It makes no sense to me. He is a fraction of himself. Just don’t take him. Go for upside, take a chance. Guys like OF Brandon Nimmo, OF Teoscar Hernandez, SS Willy Adames, and SS Carter Kiefboom are going around the same time in drafts. Cabrera shouldn’t even be considered.
ZiPS Projections: .262/.327/.373 with 9 HR/48 RBI/32 R and a .300 wOBA
Joe Jimenez (ADP 202): To be quite honest, my time is mostly spent playing DFS, and sometimes forgot how invaluable closers can be, especially ones that aren’t household named who can be overlooked. Those are the pitchers that will provide you value in drafts. At the moment, he is being taken as the 25th RP off the board and just outside the top 200 picks. Only 11 closers had 30+ saves last season and even with him being on a horrid team, most of their wins will come in close games, and he could easily reach the 25-30 SV level. He has a big sturdy frame with an above-average 1-2 punch with his blistering fastball and a wicked, yet inconsistent slider. He could be quite the steal this year and is the only Tiger with any breakout potential.
ZiPS Projections: 61 IP/29 SV/3.67 ERA/3.49 FIP with an 11.59 K/99 and a 3.52 BB/9
Justin has been a DFS pro for 5 years now, focusing primarily on NHL and MLB. He has won numerous tournaments on Draft Kings and FanDuel and has made it to multiple live finals for hockey. Prior to becoming a DFS pro, he was an associate scout for the Toronto Blue Jays.