All of our Detroit sports teams are in rebuild modes. You can argue the Lions are passed that, but whatever.
But that means there are a lot of intriguing young players on each of our four teams. Not all of them will turn out to be all-stars, obviously. But who is looking like a safe bet to be one? Who looks like they’ll be a bust?
Rogelio Castillo, Matthew Broder, and Jeramy Stover are here to give us their answers. Any athlete mentioned must be 25-years-old or younger at the time of this writing.
If you could only sign one to a long-term deal, who is it?
Broder: Penei Sewell. I believe Sewell, as a dominant offensive lineman, is the identity of the Detroit Lions…and a Dan Campbell coached team. He’s the player that makes the team “feel” different.
Castillo: Riley Greene. The Tigers desperately need a long-term productive player in the outfield. In 93 games last season, Greene showed flashes of defensive brilliance.
Stover: Aidan Hutchinson. It has to be Hutch right? Outside of quarterback, pass rusher is probably the most impactful position on the field. Even if Hutchinson takes small steps of improvement next season, the defense will be much better. He’s a player you lock-up long-term quickly.
If you could trade one right now, who is it?
Castillo: Cade Cunningham. I worry about his injury history. He missed all of the preseason and most of training camp his rookie year with an ankle injury. And he will virtually miss all of this season with a stress fracture in his shin.
Stover: Killian Hayes. I’ve been out on him for a while and nothing anyone else has done this year has changed my mind. What does he do that helps the Pistons? He’s bad enough that the Pistons drafted another point guard the year after him and a ball dominant guard the following year. He’s the only player on the team this season with a negative win share.
Broder: Tarik Skubal. The Tigers southpaw is coming off his second major arm surgery, which has many skeptics worried. It appears that the tendons in Skubal’s arm are as strong as ever, and he should be primed to pick up where he left off in 2022. He could be a force in Detroit’s starting rotation for years to come, however, he may be the Tigers’ most valuable trade asset at this point in time. If Scott Harris wants to push the rebuild further, he could command several prospects from a team seeking depth in their starting rotation.
Which athlete, that has been written off by some, do you still have hope for?
Stover: D’Andre Swift. I don’t think it’s so much Swift, himself, has been written off. But I’ve seen too many mock drafts that have the Lions taking a running back in the first couple rounds. I know Swift is good to miss a month of games each season. But when that dude is in there, look out. He averages 4.6 yards per carry for his career. That’s top-40 all time in league history.
Broder: Spencer Torkelson. There’s no doubt that Tork struggled last year. Im so bullish on new hitting coach, Michael Brdar, coming in and re-igniting Torkelson’s development.
Castillo: Killian Hayes. He shows signs of being really good whenever people rag on them.
Which athlete are you starting to worry about?
Broder: Jaden Ivey. I love just about everything about Ivey in a Pistons uniform. I just worry that he will get lost as the number 3 option, assuming the Pistons land Victor Wembenyana or Scoot Henderson.
Castillo: Spencer Torkelson. Reports are he hasn’t altered his swing much over the off-season. Last year, he hit .175 against fastballs and .212 on pitches down the middle. Something has to change.
Stover: Lucas Raymond. This is an early take so I may eat these words later. But the Red Wings need a legitimate goal scoring threat and Raymond ain’t it. He’s a good player, can make great passes to set up plays, but he’s not a finisher. That’s what the Wings need more than anything right now.