With the seven roster cuts on Monday, the Detroit Tigers are narrowing down the final position battles before they start the season next Thursday. Kerry Carpenter, who is vying for a spot in the outfield, help his case on Tuesday against the Yankees.
With those cuts in mind, let’s look at the updated roster from the original 1.0 projection.
3B Nick Maton
2B Jonathan Schoop
SS Javier Báez
1B Spencer Torkelson
I must admit, I wrote Torkelson off rather too early in camp. The swing did not appear to be generating hard contact. He was 1-for-14 with five strikeouts. Since then, he has gone 11-for-25 (.440) with 2 walks and 3 strikeouts over 10 games. The swing changes and using a lighter bat have helped Tork. Maton has had an outstanding spring. He’s batting .308/.372/.590 and has handled the hot corner well.
Schoop’s offensive numbers this spring between the WBC and with the Tigers, do not look good, however, it will be his glove and the ability to play multiple positions that will help him stay on the roster.
Báez had an impressive WBC, going 7-for-19 and was solid, playing second base for Team Puerto Rico.
Rogers looks more and more comfortable behind the plate. His confidence has return and so has his bat.
The fourth outfield spot goes to Carpenter, simply because he’s left-handed and was able to hit righties in the minors and with the Tigers (.263/.326/.525, 5HR) If Detroit wants to platoon Carpenter and Vierling, that would give the Tigers slightly more offense. Baddoo is not making it easy as he has been hitting ball better as of late, but it really depends on how Detroit wants to use him.
DH: Miguel Cabrera
Ibáñez can every position but shortstop in the infield, which is value for Detroit to have. As far as Hernández goes, it depends on if they believe Ryan Kriedler is better suited to get regular at-bats in Toledo. Over the last week, Kriedler has been hitting the ball better and his glove, which has been his largest asset, continues to get better. Kriedler saw time in the outfield last season, so similar to Ibáñez, that could help the Tigers. But for now, with a tough April that lies ahead, Hernández gets the nod.
Tigers Starting Rotation:
*Joey Wentz (should Lorenzen miss time)
Michael Lorenzen recently suffered a left groin pull, and he could start the season on the IL. Wentz could get the start, should Lorenzen have to miss an extended period of time. Englert, the Rule 5 pick from Texas, has had a great spring. In Monday’s game against Toronto, he pitched three scoreless innings, threw 24 pitches, 21 for strikes. In 12 innings of work, he has allowed just three runs on seven hits. Could he get an emergency start if needed? He has been a starter throughout his career, so it depends on how confidence Hinch feels about that.
Both Shreve and Wingeater have been highly effective as the last few of the non-roster invites left in camp. This could go down to wire as Garrett Hill is part of this final spot. Despite his rough outing against Toronto, he has shown his ability to generate swings and misses with a combo of his fastball and slider all spring.
Hinch has to make some tough decisions over the next few days, but it appears that most of the Opening Day roster is set.