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2020 MLB Team Preview: Detroit Tigers

Tim Finnegan provides his thoughts on what the 60-game MLB season could look like for the Tigers.

MLB Photos via Getty Images

The Detroit Tigers had an extremely poor 2019 season, winning just 47 games, their second lowest win total in franchise history. The Tigers had both the worst record in MLB and the worst run differential, being outscored by opponents by a massive 333 runs. As a result, the Tigers have the first overall pick in the 2020 MLB draft, the second time in the last three seasons that Detroit will select first overall in the MLB draft. While the Tigers are still expected to rank near the bottom of MLB in 2020, they did add several veteran major league free agents, so they could be in line for an improved record from 2019.

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Is Matt Boyd the only viable fantasy option for Detroit?

DraftKings Sportsbook odds

— Division Winner: +15000

— League Winner: +35000

— World Series: +75000

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Key Departures:


Key Acquisitions:

C.J. Cron, 1B; Jonathan Schoop, 2B; Cameron Maybin, OF; Austin Romine, C; Ivan Nova, SP

2020 Fantasy MVP

Matthew Boyd, SP

Boyd is one of the few Tigers players that has the potential to carry substantial fantasy value. Boyd was one of only 13 starting pitchers to strike out more than 30% of batters faced in 2019, a strikeout rate that was substantially better than the SP league average of 22%. Boyd also missed bats on a per pitch basis at an elite level, generating a swing and a miss on 14% of his total pitches, 12th best among all starting pitchers. While Boyd’s fantasy value will likely be hurt by poor run support limiting his win total, his ability to rack up strikeouts gives him upside in both seasonal leagues and in DraftKings contests.

2020 Fantasy LVP

Tigers hitting stacks

It’s tough to isolate one Detroit player to call the “least valuable” from a fantasy perspective, because not many Tigers players are being drafted in most fantasy leagues. Let’s just call most of their offense the least valuable player. Detroit has only one player projected to have a better than average wOBA this season–1B C.J. Cron. Detroit’s home park is also generally unfavorable for power output. While adding Cron, Jonathan Schoop, Cameron Maybin and Austin Romine to the lineup should help improve Detroit’s offense from 2019, the Tigers’ lineup is still looking pretty rough. Tigers hitting stacks are likely going to be highly unproductive in DraftKings contests unless in select circumstances, such as getting a substantial road park upgrade against very poor pitching opposition.

2020 Breakout Player

Casey Mize, SP

Mize was selected first overall in the 2018 MLB draft and is considered one of the top pitching prospects in baseball. Baseball Prospectus ranked Mize as the 12th best overall prospect and said that if everything comes together for him someday, he could emerge as a “monster top of the rotation pitcher”. According to Baseball Prospectusscouting reports, Mize sits around 94 mph with his fastball–topping out around 97 mph–and he carries four plus pitches. Mize’s most notable 2019 performance came in an April start in Double-A where he tossed a no-hitter, striking out seven and walking just one in the process. Mize is expected to begin the 2020 season at Triple-A and could make his major league debut in the second half of the season.

Final Thoughts

The Tigers are in line to have another poor season, but their veteran MLB additions could help them improve to some degree from their dreadful 2019 numbers. Baseball Prospectus‘ PECOTA projection system projects the Tigers to finish with a nice 69 wins, a substantial improvement from 2019, but still in the bottom five of MLB. The Tigers’ most notable fantasy value on DraftKings will likely come in the form of Matthew Boyd starts and park upgrades on the road in hitter-friendly parks against poor pitchers.

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is timfinn521) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.

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