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Home / Articles / Jeff's 2024 American League MLB Spotlight Team

Jeff's 2024 American League MLB Spotlight Team


By: Jeff Hochman
Date: Mar 15, 2024
   
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The Detroit Tigers have been going through a transitional phase for the past few years. However, in the 2024 season, they have a good chance of surpassing their season win total of 79.5. Last season, they showed significant improvement, winning 78 games, twelve more than they won in 2022. Detroit significantly improved its starting pitching, relief pitching, offense, and defense, which should result in the Tigers' first winning season since 2016, when they finished with a record of 86-75.


Starting Pitching:


The Tigers have struggled with their starting pitching in recent years, but they have tried to resolve this issue. During the past offseason, they acquired several pitchers, such as Kenta Maeda and Jack Flaherty, who are experienced and can eat up innings, provided they stay healthy. This season, Tarik Skubal is the team's ace and my top left-handed starting pitcher, 27 years old or younger. After recovering from an injury that kept him out of action until July 4th, Skubal proved to be one of the most effective pitchers in the league. Tarik recorded 102 strikeouts in just 80.1 innings pitched and held hitters to a batting average of .190. He enters the upcoming season fully healthy. His FIP was 2.00, with a stellar ground ball rate of 51.6%. Casey Mize, Matt Manning, and Reese Olson are expected to compete for the fourth and fifth spots in the rotation. With these new additions and Skubal's continued growth, the starting pitching staff is poised to make significant improvements in 2024. This staff has the potential to rank in the top 15 in ERA.


Relief Pitching:


The Tigers have struggled with their bullpen in recent years, but they have taken significant steps to improve it. They have acquired some dependable pitchers, such as Andrew Chafin and Shelby Miller, who have shown great potential in their past performances. In the last season, Chafin struck out 63 batters in 51.1 innings, while Miller had an impressive 1.71 ERA and 0.90 WHIP in 36 games for the LA Dodgers. Furthermore, they have a reliable closer in Alex Lange, who recorded 26 saves and 79 strikeouts in 66 innings, with a 3.68 ERA in 2023. Jason Foley, another key contributor in the late innings, had an impressive 2.61 ERA in 70 games played last season. With the addition of these dependable pitchers and the continued improvement of their young relievers, the Tigers' bullpen should be a significant strength for the team in the upcoming season.


Offense:


The Tigers' offense has been inconsistent in recent years. However, several players have shown the potential to be impact players and lead the team to success. One of these players is Right-fielder Riley Greene, who made his debut in 2022 and immediately made an impact. In only 378 at-bats, Greene batted .288, hit 11 home runs, 19 doubles, and 37 RBI in 2023.


Another player to watch is Spencer Torkelson, a rising star at first base who smashed 31 home runs with 94 RBI and scored 88 runs last season. According to MLB Pipeline, second baseman Colt Keith is a promising rookie prospect, ranked 22nd out of 100.


The team has a mix of young talent and experienced veterans capable of delivering high-level performance. Despite missing most of the 2023 season due to injury, third baseman Gio Urshela hit .299 in 214 at-bats. Another reliable player is Javier Baez, who has a proven track record of producing excellent results when he's healthy. He is now 31 years old and is expected to continue performing at a high level.


With the continued growth of young players and the consistent production of veterans, the Tigers' offense should be much improved than in years past.


Defense:


The Detroit Tigers' defense has been consistently sturdy in recent years and is expected to remain strong this season. In 2023, the Tigers ranked No. 1 in the fewest stolen bases allowed and 13th in defensive runs saved. The Tigers have several outstanding defenders, including catcher Jake Rodgers, center fielder Parker Meadows, and left fielder Mark Canha. Furthermore, having Riley Greene in the outfield for the entire season will likely strengthen the team's defense.


Conclusion:


The Detroit Tigers are expected to surpass their win total of 79.5 in 2024. The team has improved their starting and relief pitching, offense, and defense considerably. This is likely to translate into more wins in the upcoming season. With their young players' continued development and their veterans' consistent performance, the Tigers should be a competitive team in the American League in 2024. According to PECOTA, the Tigers are projected to win 75.8 games, while Accuscore predicts 87.5 wins, which ranks them first in the AL Central. My Model has the Tigers winning 84 games this season!


My Selection: Detroit Tigers Over 79.5 wins (-130)


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