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Friday, February 22, 2019

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL SPRING TRAINING REPORT: DETROIT TIGERS

By Michael Wong

Lakeland, Fla.--The rebuild is on and in full swing for the 2019 Detroit Tigers and with wins not being much in the way of achievable goals this season, more talk on who they possibly will ship out before or at the July 31 trade deadline will dominant team chatter.  With youth dominating both the rotation and the field, there is mostly just upstart late-round plays here in terms of 2019 fantasy baseball; with just a select few veterans to keep things interesting.

1.  Speaking of veterans, where to place Tigers 1B/DH Miguel Cabrera in draft terms this spring is one of the more talked-about fantasy baseball items.  While clearly aging as he turns 36 this April, Cabrera showed when on the field a year ago that he can still hit and hit with authority.  A .290 average with 3 homers and 22 RBI in 38 games bore this out and the exit velocities were right there with his MVP days as well.  Those factors add weight to going in on Cabrera at least one more time this spring and the drastically reduced draft cost adds to the allure.  Be that as it may, Cabrera is battling injuries now on a yearly basis which jive with the advancing age and bid-bodied sluggers such as he often age poorly.  So it really comes down to cost here and when looked through that prism, using Cabrera as a UTIL or CI bat makes sense.

2.  Nick Castellanos was a favorite of this space a year ago and all in all, the third baseman/outfielder came through with 23 home runs, 88 RBI, and a .293 average.  Turning 26 this March, Castellanos is only now moving into his prime years and so that expected run of 30 homers last season could have been just a year premature.  All in all, there is a lot to like here from the smooth-swinging Castellanos and like with Cabrera, the price is not overly high.

3.  On the short list for the worst closer in fantasy baseball, Tigers "stopper" Shane Greene is back again to make saves an adventure in the ninth inning.  This is clearly a way for the Tigers to possibly boost the limited trade value Greene has but he also is so mediocre that it would shock no one if he is out of the gig by the end of April.  Potential replacement Joe Jimenez would then become quite interesting he has the type of high-K stuff needed for closing games.

4.  While on the surface Tigers starter Matt Boyd had a decent 2018 campaign with a 4.39 ERA and 1.16 WHIP, the sort-tosser got a bunch of batted ball help to boost his ratios above where they should have been.  In other words, you best left to avoid Boyd even in AL-only setups.

5.  You talk about scary pitching, the back end of the Tigers rotation consisting of Jordan Zimmerman, Matt Moore, and Tyson Ross rival the Baltimore Orioles in terms of ghastly ability.


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