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Bobrob's 2024 Preseason Predictions


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Bobrob’s 2024 Preseason Prediction #9 – Mark David Canha

How do you replace a future Hall of Fame player who spent the last 16 years on your favorite team who had several milestones including 500 home runs and 3000 hits?  You can’t.  But the Tigers did sign veteran player Mark Canha, who can add flexibility to the roster by playing the outfield, first base, and fill in at DH.

Mark Canha had his big season in 2019 at the age of 30 when he hit .273/.396/.517 with 26 home runs and a 146 OPS+.  And while he hasn’t been able to duplicate that season since, he’s been fairly consistent over the next four seasons with OPS+ of 124; 111; 122; and 108.  Now that he’s entering his age-35 season, he’s starting to exit his prime, so a decline in production is likely (even if only slightly).

One stat that immediately jumps out from Canha is his hit by pitches.  He led the league in both 2021 and 2022 with 27 and 28.  Even last season, he had a lot of HBP with 17.  There have been studies if getting hit by pitches is a repeatable skill (see this one by Beyond the Boxscore), and Canha seems to have that skill.  I would guess another year of high hit by pitches again this year, which will increase his on-base percentage.  With a walk rate hovering around 10 percent, Canha should once again have an above-average on-base percentage (.360 over the last 3 years compared to the league average of .320 in 2023).

Another stat that separates Canha from the other Tiger hitters is his avoidance of strikeouts.  His 15.6 percent strikeout rate was 20th lowest in all of baseball last year among qualified hitters.  His 22.1 percent whiff rate was one of the best in baseball and his chase rate of only 25.1 percent was also pretty good. 

As far as power goes, there’s a noticeable decline in home runs (which is to be expected because of age), but his ISO has been consistent over the last two years while his extra base hit percentage increased in 2023:

2021 – 12.1% HR/FB% | .156 ISO | 6.9% XBH%

2022 – 10.2% HR/FB% | .136 ISO | 6.8% XBH%

2023 – 7.6% HR/FB% | .138 ISO | 7.3% XBH%

Surprisingly, Canha stole 11 bases last year and was caught only once, the second time he has stolen over 10.  This shows that while he may not be speedy, he is a smart baserunner that knows when he can steal.  It’ll be interesting to see if A.J. Hinch allows him to utilize this skill and if he can steal over 10 bases again.

In summary, Canha has a lot of skills that complement this Tigers team, such as being right-handed in a left-handed heavy lineup and being able to avoid strikeouts.  His age doesn’t seem to be a big factor yet, and I’m confident he can produce an above average OPS+ again this year.

Experts’ Predictions/Projections:

Steamer – 440 AB | .258/.353/.407 | 13 HR | 57 RBI | 7 SB | 50 BB | 90 K

ZiPS DC – 450 AB | .266/.371/.415 | 12 HR | 53 RBI | 9 SB | 55 BB | 93 K

THE BAT X – 437 AB | .252/.348/.391 | 11 HR | 51 RBI | 6 SB | 49 BB | 86 K

ATC – 436 AB | .256/.352/.397 | 12 HR | 55 RBI | 7 SB | 52 BB | 88 K

FGDC – 453 AB | .262/.362/.411 | 13 HR | 56 RBI | 8 SB | 54 BB | 93 K

RotoChamp – 442 AB | .258/.361/.403 | 12 HR | 54 RBI | 7 SB | 52 BB | 89 K

CBS Sports – 451 AB | .279/.359/.424 | 13 HR | 58 RBI | 7 SB | 42 BB | 99 K

ESPN – 470 AB | .255/.356/.400 | 12 HR | 64 RBI | 8 SB | 54 BB | 89 K

My Prediction:

2023 Prediction – N/A

2023 Actual – 435 AB | .262/.355/.400 | 11 HR | 62 RBI | 11 SB | 49 BB | 79 K

 

2024 Prediction – 439 AB | .257/.351/.387 | 9 HR | 61 RBI | 9 SB | 51 BB | 83 K

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Bobrob’s 2024 Preseason Prediction #10 – Matthew George Manning

Matt Manning is a former #1 pick from the Tigers in 2016 that was a top prospect as recently as 2021 (#30 according to Baseball America), when he made his Major League debut and pitched a little over 85 innings for the Tigers with a 5.80 ERA.  He would suffer injuries over the next two years, pitching 63 innings in 2022 with a 3.43 ERA and 78 innings in 2023 with a 3.58 ERA.  He has shown flashes of being effective, but he has yet to put together a full healthy season at the Major League level.

Manning throws a 4-seam fastball, slider, curveball, and a changeup, with his fastball being his most effective pitch.  He throws it about 50 percent of the time, with an opponent’s batting average of .214 and a 23.2 percent strikeout rate last year.  He throws his fastball with an average velocity of 93.4 MPH, but he has one of the best extensions in baseball, which makes it look like he is throwing it faster.

Manning finished the 2023 season with a 4-1 record in his last 5 starts with an ERA of 0.36, but only 11 strikeouts in 24 2/3 innings.  However, his overall stats show that Manning may have been a bit lucky with his ERA last year:

2021 – 14.8% K% | 8.6% BB% | 10.2% HR/FB% | 44.5% GB% | 5.44 xERA | 4.62 FIP | 5.13 xFIP

2022 – 18.3% K% | 7.2% BB% | 7.7% HR/FB% | 41.0% GB% | 3.97 xERA | 3.78 FIP | 4.37 xFIP

2023 – 15.8% K% | 6.6% BB% | 9.9% HR/FB% | 38.7% GB% | 5.48 xERA | 4.81 FIP | 5.33 xFIP

While his walk rate is trending in the right direction, Manning’s strikeout rate and ground ball rate declined in 2023.  In fact, it’s going to be hard for any pitcher to keep a low ERA with as low of a strikeout rate as Manning showed last year.  Here are the lowest qualified strikeout pitchers last year and their ERAs:

Patrick Corbin – 15.7% K% | 5.20 ERA | 5.28 FIP

Miles Mikolas – 15.9% K% | 4.78 ERA | 4.27 FIP

Jordan Lyles – 16.0% K% | 6.28 ERA | 5.62 FIP

Bryce Elder – 17.5% K% | 3.81 ERA | 4.42 FIP

Taijuan Walker – 18.8% K% | 4.38 ERA | 4.53 FIP   

Only Bryce Elder had an ERA below 4.00, so it is possible, especially if Manning can get his strikeout rate back to over 18 percent again.  In addition, Manning also had a .214 BABIP, which is not going to be sustainable over a big enough sample size.  The league average BABIP was .295 in 2023 and Corbin Burnes had the lowest BABIP among qualified pitchers last year at .244 (Jordan Lyles had the second lowest at .255). 

Of course, it’s not unheard of for a pitcher to outperform their ERA estimators.  If he can stay healthy this year, he is certainly at an age (he’s entering his age-26 season) where everything can come together, and he can have a breakout season, especially with Chris Fetter as his pitching coach.  But even if he does stay healthy all year, there’s also the fatigue factor late in the season as he racks up the innings.  What I personally would like to see from Manning, other than staying healthy, is an increase in strikeouts and an increase in ground ball rate.  That would show me that he is heading in the right direction.

Experts’ Predictions/Projections:

Steamer – 124 IP | 7-9 W/L | 4.80 ERA | 1.41 WHIP | 94 K | 43 BB

ZiPS DC – 109 IP | 5-7 W/L | 4.55 ERA | 1.33 WHIP | 87 K | 38 BB

THE BAT – 109 IP | 7-9 W/L | 4.82 ERA | 1.37 WHIP | 78 K | 37 BB

ATC – 109 IP | 6-7 W/L | 4.55 ERA | 1.31 WHIP | 80 K | 35 BB

FGDC – 116 IP | 6-8 W/L | 4.68 ERA | 1.37 WHIP | 90 K | 40 BB

RotoChamp – 111 IP | 6-8 W/L | 4.70 ERA | 1.36 WHIP | 83 K | 38 BB

CBS Sports – N/A

ESPN – 105 IP | 5 W | 4.20 ERA | 1.30 WHIP | 70 K | 31 BB

My Prediction:

2023 Prediction – 136 1/3 IP | 8-8 W/L | 3.63 ERA | 1.254 WHIP | 122 K | 46 BB

2023 Actual – 78 IP | 5-4 W/L | 3.58 ERA | 1.038 WHIP | 50 K | 21 BB

 

2024 Prediction – 116 1/3 IP | 6-9 W/L | 4.56 ERA | 1.272 WHIP | 81 K | 33 BB

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Bobrob’s 2024 Preseason Prediction #11 – Jacob Ray Rogers

The last remaining player from the Justin Verlander deal, Jake Rogers had his breakout year in 2023, hitting .221 with 21 home runs and a 96 OPS+ in 365 plate appearances.  Rogers had shown promise in 2021 when he had a 119 OPS+ in 127 plate appearances before undergoing Tommy John surgery and missing the whole 2022 season. Still under 30 years of age, can Rogers break out even more in 2024?

Jake Rogers’ biggest asset is his power.  He led the Tigers team in ISO (.224) and home run to fly ball ratio (23.3 percent).  How much of his power will he be able to maintain for 2024?  Well, his xSLG was .449 compared to his real SLG of .444 and his xwOBA was .321 compared to his real wOBA of .312, indicating that there wasn’t any luck involved at all.  According to Baseball Savant, his sweet spot percentage was at 40.3 percent, which was in the 95th percentile.  

2019 – 128 PA | 10.2% BB% | 39.8% K% | 3.1% HR%

2021 – 127 PA | 8.7% BB% | 36.2% K% | 4.7% HR%

2023 – 365 PA | 7.7% BB% | 32.3% K% | 5.8% HR%

Jake Rogers’ walk rate has fallen to below league average (8.6 percent in 2023).  While his strikeout rate has improved, 32.3 percent was the 11th highest in baseball among hitters with at least 350 plate appearances in 2023.  Yikes!  However, given the small sample sizes in both 2019 and 2021, these years’ stats may be irrelevant.  Rogers had a BABIP of .175 in 2019 that increased to .344 in 2021.  His .268 BABIP last year seems to be where he should be, which does lead to a low batting average (and still lots of strikeouts).    

Being a right-handed hitter, Jake Rogers does hit left-handed pitchers better than right-handed pitchers:

Vs. RHP – 257 PA | .215/.281/.395 | 4.7 HR%

Vs. LHP – 108 PA | .235/.296/.561 | 8.3 HR%

Looking at Rogers’ other splits, he did hit .286/.315/.543 in his last 73 plate appearances with 6 home runs.  Although, he also hit .172/.217/.391 in the month of August and .286/.386/.592 in the month of June, so chances are he is just a very streaky hitter.  Rogers is entering his age-29 season, so I think it’s reasonable to see him somewhat duplicate his 2023 numbers again for 2024.  That does mean I think he can hit close to 20 home runs again with a low batting average, but it also means that he won’t be more than a league average hitter in OPS+.

I don’t think I can end this without showing how good of a defensive catcher Jake Rogers is.  He had 8 blocks above average according to Baseball Savant (only five catchers were better at preventing wild pitches and passed balls).  His pitch framing was also above average, in the 80th percentile.  So even if Rogers cannot duplicate his offensive production, his defense can make up for it.

Experts’ Predictions/Projections:

Steamer – 301 AB | .214/.280/.405 | 15 HR | 41 RBI | 3 SB | 26 BB | 106 K

ZiPS DC – 337 AB | .205/.277/.389 | 15 HR | 50 RBI | 1 SB | 30 BB | 122 K

THE BAT X – 321 AB | .216/.291/.393 | 13 HR | 43 RBI | 2 SB | 31 BB | 114 K

ATC – 324 AB | .217/.286/.417 | 16 HR | 45 RBI | 2 SB | 29 BB | 116 K

FGDC – 336 AB | .209/.279/.397 | 16 HR | 48 RBI | 2 SB | 30 BB | 120 K

RotoChamp – 327 AB | .214/.290/.404 | 15 HR | 46 RBI | 2 SB | 30 BB | 117 K

CBS Sports – 372 AB | .247/.317/.462 | 22 HR | 56 RBI | 1 SB | 34 BB | 119 K

ESPN – 354 AB | .220/.284/.438 | 21 HR | 50 RBI | 2 SB | 29 BB | 124 K

My Prediction:

2023 Prediction – N/A

2023 Actual – 331 AB | .221/.286/.444 | 21 HR | 49 RBI | 1 SB | 28 BB | 118 K

 

2024 Prediction – 338 AB | .213/.282/.417 | 19 HR | 50 RBI | 1 SB | 30 BB | 124 K

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Bobrob’s 2024 Preseason Prediction #12 – Reese Olson

Reese Olson was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 13th round of the 2018 draft and was traded to the Detroit Tigers for Daniel Norris in 2021.  Dealing with various injuries, the Tigers promoted the 23-year-old to the Major Leagues last year (despite a 6.87 ERA in AAA) and he ended up pitching over 100 innings at the Major League level with a 3.99 ERA and 103 strikeouts. 

The Tigers have six starting pitchers (Tarik Skubal, Kenta Maeda, Jack Flaherty, Matting Manning, Casey Mize, and Reese Olson) but only five spots in the rotation.  Olson could be the odd one out, starting the year in the bullpen, piggybacking off of Manning, Flaherty, or Mize or he could start in AAA.  Whatever the case, I think Olson will have a significant number of innings (either due to injuries or poor performances, or trades) to warrant a prediction.  But how good will he be in only his second year?

Some stats from the last few years:

2022 (AA) – 119 2/3 IP | 12.64 K/9 | 2.86 BB/9 | 3.31 FIP

2023 (AAA) – 36 2/3 IP | 11.54 K/9 | 5.40 BB/9 | 4.75 FIP 

2023 (MLB) – 103 2/3 IP | 8.94 K/9 | 2.86 BB/9 | 4.01 FIP

Reese Olson’s biggest asset is the ability to get strikeouts.  In his first game with the Tigers, he recorded six strikeouts in five innings and had as many as 10 strikeouts in his start on August 28th in just 4 1/3 innings.  The high walk rate in AAA stands out, but that could be attributed to a small sample as it went back down in more innings in the Major Leagues.

Some batted ball data:   

2022 (AA) – 13.9% HR/FB% | 42.2% GB% | .333 BABIP

2023 (AAA) – 14.3% HR/FB% | 51.0% GB% | .374 BABIP

2023 (MLB) – 13.5% HR/FB% | 42.8% GB% | .255 BABIP

Home runs seem to be an issue but that can be expected with a young pitcher, and it can certainly get better as he matures.  The .255 BABIP worries me a little as it could be an indicator of being lucky, but there are pitchers who can sustain a lower BABIP, so it’ll be interesting to see if Olson is one of them.

Reese Olson throws a slider, 4-seam fastball, sinker, changeup, and curveball:

Slider – 30.6% Usage | .217 BAA | .433 SLG Against

4-Seam Fastball – 28.6% Usage | .179 BAA | .396 SLG Against

Sinker – 19.8% Usage | .270 BAA | .348 SLG Against

Changeup – 15.1% Usage | .208 BAA | .283 SLG Against

Curveball – 5.8% Usage | .167 BAA | .22 SLG Against

The most surprising thing about this is that he used his slider more than his fastball.  41 of his strikeouts came off the slider, as opposed to 27 against the fastball, so it’s obvious that he sets up with the fastball and then tries to put them away with the slider.  His average fastball velocity is 94.8 MPH, and while hitters struggled with it, his XBA was .267 and his xSLG was .587, showing that he may have to make some adjustments. 

It's always hard to predict what players will do in their first few seasons as they are making adjustments and tweaking their mechanics and pitch usage.  It’s possible that Olson could go through a “sophomore slump” as his scouting report gets around the league.  However, he finished with a 4-2 record in his last 6 starts with a 1.51 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 35 2/3 innings.  Olson just seems like a smart pitcher who is able to make the most out of his talent.  It’ll be interesting to see what type of changes he’ll make in 2024.

Experts’ Predictions/Projections:

Steamer – 134 IP | 8-9 W/L | 4.21 ERA | 1.34 WHIP | 128 K | 50 BB

ZiPS DC – 118 IP | 7-8 W/L | 4.35 ERA | 1.35 WHIP | 113 K | 49 BB

THE BAT – 127 IP | 7-9 W/L | 4.39 ERA | 1.32 WHIP | 115 K | 44 BB

ATC – 132 IP | 7-8 W/L | 4.30 ERA | 1.30 WHIP | 126 K | 49 BB

FGDC – 126 IP | 7-8 W/L | 4.28 ERA | 1.34 WHIP | 120 K | 50 BB

RotoChamp – 128 IP | 7-9 W/L | 4.29 ERA | 1.32 WHIP | 121 K | 48 BB

CBS Sports – 142 IP | 7-11 W/L | 3.87 ERA | 1.18 WHIP | 136 K | 49 BB

ESPN – 144 IP | 6 W | 4.69 ERA | 1.49 WHIP | 133 K | 73 BB

My Prediction:

2023 Prediction – N/A

2023 Actual – 103 2/3 IP | 5-7 W/L | 3.99 ERA | 1.119 WHIP | 103 K | 33 BB

 

2024 Prediction – 129 1/3 IP | 7-9 W/L | 4.38 ERA | 1.322 WHIP | 130 K | 51 BB

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Bobrob’s 2024 Preseason Prediction #13 – Colten Keith

The Tigers biggest signing of the offseason wasn’t even for a Free Agent.  The Tigers signed prospect Colt Keith (currently ranked 28th best prospect in baseball by Baseball America) for 6 years and $28,642,500 guaranteed with three option years that could be worth as much as $62,000,000 over 9 years.  It’s the largest contract by a Tiger before they make their Major League debut.  This is how much the Tigers like the former 2020 5th round draft pick and think that he’s ready to contribute at the Major league level, despite his questionable defense at second base.

Colt Keith played at both AA and AAA last year:

AA – 276 PA | .325/.391/.585 | 9.1% BB% | 22.8% K% | 5.1% HR%

AAA – 301 PA | .287/.369/.521 | 11.6% BB% | 19.3% K% | 4.3% HR%

Keith had a .386 BABIP in AA, which could be indicative of good fortune, but it could be simply that he was too advanced for that level.  He also had a .260 ISO and a 163 wRC+ in AA.  His stats in AAA are also overall impressive with a .234 ISO and a 119 wRC+, showing that he is indeed ready for the Major Leagues.

Now it is always hard to predict how someone will do their first year in the Major Leagues.  For example, Spencer Torkelson had a 129 wRC+ in AAA the year before his Major League debut, but struggled so much that was demoted back to AAA during his first year.  A similar situation could happen with Keith this year, as he is entering just his age 23-season.  On the other hand, he could light it up right away and never see the Minor Leagues again. 

As far as actual stats, I could see him having ups and downs as he adjusts to the highest level.  Even though his batting average was exactly .300 in the Minor Leagues, I can’t see him hitting .300 in his first year.  Keith has always had a high walk rate, so I can he him around 10 percent this year (hopefully it’s higher) for a decent OBP.  Strikeouts are always a concern, and I can see it being higher than the 21.5 percent that he had in the minors.  Power usually comes later, and I can’t really see more than around 15 home runs (although he may have many doubles and triples at Comerica Park).  He had 3 steals between AA and AAA last year and 4 steals in 2022, so I can’t really see him stealing more than 2-3 bases this year.

Watching prospects is always fun, especially when they are as highly touted as Colt Keith is.  However, I’m keeping my expectations low when he is just learning and adjusting to the Major Leagues.  While I don’t think that Keith will struggle so much he needs to be demoted, I don’t rule out that possibility.  At the same time, I think there are going to be stretches where Keith will dominate.  Just a typical up and down year that any prospect will face is what I’m expecting and hopefully ending around league average production.  And I hope that his defense isn’t as bad as everyone says it is.

Experts’ Predictions/Projections:

Steamer – 429 AB | .261/.326/.427 | 14 HR | 54 RBI | 3 SB | 39 BB | 105 K

ZiPS DC – 458 AB | .252/.314/.434 | 17 HR | 68 RBI | 2 SB | 40 BB | 116 K

THE BAT X – 440 AB | .246/.305/.400 | 13 HR | 54 RBI | 3 SB | 36 BB | 114 K

ATC – 431 AB | .257/.320/.422 | 14 HR | 58 RBI | 3 SB | 39 BB | 108 K

FGDC – 456 AB | .257/.320/.431 | 16 HR | 63 RBI | 2 SB | 41 BB | 113 K

RotoChamp – 442 AB | .256/.327/.428 | 15 HR | 59 RBI | 3 SB | 39 BB | 111 K

CBS Sports – 377 AB | .263/.333/.430 | 13 HR | 50 RBI | 4 SB | 35 BB | 98 K

ESPN – 417 AB | .245/.327/.422 | 13 HR | 57 RBI | 4 SB | 50 BB | 103 K

My Prediction:

2023 Prediction – N/A

2023 Actual (AA & AAA) – 507 AB | .306/.380/.552 | 27 HR | 101 RBI | 3 SB | 60 BB | 121 K

 

2024 Prediction – 467 AB | .236/.299/.375 | 14 HR | 47 RBI | 1 SB | 42 BB | 131 K

Edited by bobrob2004
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Bobrob’s 2024 Preseason Prediction #14 – Giovanny Urshela

The Tigers’ third base production last year was .211/.294/.323 with a 72 wRC+ and a -1.0 fWAR.  Only the New York Mets had a lower wRC+ (67) and both the Oakland Athletics (-1.3) and Mets (-2.6) had a lower fWAR.  Needless to say, the Tigers needed an upgrade as they wait for prospect Jace Jung to be Major League ready.  Enter free agent signee Gio Urshela.

Gio Urshela has primarily been a third baseman throughout his career, but he played all over the infield last year as a utility player for the Los Angeles Angels.  He has only been an everyday player a few times for the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins over his 8-year career.  While I think he’ll be the main third baseman for the Tigers this year, A.J. Hinch may still use a patchwork of Zach McKinstry, Andy Ibanez, and Matt Veirling along with Urshela at third base as he loves the flexibility to use players at multiple positions.

Gio Urshela had his best year in 2019 when he hit .314/.355/.534 with 21 home runs and a 133 OPS+.  He had just as good of a year in the COVID short 2020 season with a 137 OPS+.  However, he was never able to reach those levels again, hovering around league average over the last few seasons.

2021 – 442 PA | 4.5% BB% | 24.7% K% | .329 BABIP

2022 – 551 PA | 7.4% BB% | 17.4% K% | .326 BABIP

2023 – 228 PA | 4.4% BB% | 15.8% K% | .346 BABIP

Only once has Gio Urshela been able to have a decent walk rate, 10.3 percent in 2020.  Usually, it has been around 4.5 percent.  Strikeouts have been all over the place; it was as high as 24.7 percent in 2021 and as low as 14.4 percent in 2020.  The last two years, it has been a combined 16.9 percent in 779 plate appearances, so it is probably safe to say it’ll be below 20 percent again in 2024. 

The Tigers were 27th in batting average last year at .236.  Riley Greene was the Tigers’ leader in batting average last year at .288 (in 416 plate appearances) and most regulars were below .270.  Gio Urshela usually has an above average batting average, .285 in 2022 and .299 in 2023, so it will be nice to have another high batting average hitter in the lineup.  However, his expected batting average was .268 in 2022 and .259 in 2023, so we will see if he can outperform it again this year. 

Now for the power numbers:

2021 – 15.1% HR/FB% | .152 ISO | 7.7% XBH%

2022 – 9.1% HR/FB% | .144 ISO | 7.8% XBH%

2023 – 3.6% HR/FB% | .075 ISO | 4.8% XBH%

It is astounding how much of a decline Gio Urshela had in power last year.  His power numbers were steadily declining after his 21-homer 2019 season, but they fell off a cliff in 2023, only hitting 2 home runs in 228 plate appearances.  He is entering his age-32 season, so it’ll be interesting to see if he can bounce back in power or if this is going to be the new norm now that he is past his prime. 

Along with the uncertainty of Colt Keith at second base, the Tigers needed depth in the infield.  While I think most Tiger fans will be happy with a repeat of his 92 wRC+, Urshela is showing signs of declining.  We all saw how quickly someone can fall off with Jonathan Schoop.  Hopefully Urshela’s decline in power isn’t too much of a concern.  However, at $1.5 million, it’s worth the gamble, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Jace Jung is the starting third baseman by the end of the season (similar to when Parker Meadows took over for centerfield last year).      

Experts’ Predictions/Projections:

Steamer – 276 AB | .274/.323/.410 | 7 HR | 34 RBI | 2 SB | 19 BB | 55 K

ZiPS DC – 306 AB | .280/.321/.409 | 7 HR | 35 RBI | 2 SB | 18 BB | 57 K

THE BAT X – 285 AB | .268/.314/.400 | 7 HR | 35 RBI | 2 SB | 18 BB | 54 K

ATC – 297 AB | .275/.320/.405 | 7 HR | 36 RBI | 2 SB | 19 BB | 57 K

FGDC – 303 AB | .277/.322/.410 | 7 HR | 36 RBI | 2 SB | 19 BB | 59 K

RotoChamp – 295 AB | .275/.318/.410 | 7 HR | 36 RBI | 2 SB | 19 BB | 57 K

CBS Sports – 419 AB | .298/.342/.425 | 8 HR | 52 RBI | 3 SB | 29 BB | 82 K

ESPN – 342 AB | .278/.316/.401 | 7 HR | 40 RBI | 1 SB | 20 BB | 63 K

My Prediction:

2023 Prediction – N/A

2023 Actual – 214 AB | .299/.329/.374 | 2 HR | 24 RBI | 10 BB | 36 K

 

2024 Prediction – 347 AB | .277/.311/.375 | 6 HR | 43 RBI | 1 SB | 17 BB | 63 K

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Bobrob’s 2024 Preseason Prediction #15 – Casey Arthur Mize

Normally I would only do five starting pitchers, but the Tigers have six starters that I think will have a significant contribution to this team this year.  Since Casey Mize will actually start the season in the rotation with Matt Manning demoted to AAA, I can’t skip doing Mize’s prediction (although there is a chance that Mize will see some time in Toledo at some point during the season).  The Tigers have a depth in starting pitching, which also includes the likes of Sawyer Gipson-Long, Beau Brieskie, Wilmer Flores, Ty Madden, Brant Hurter, and Jackson Jobe, to name a few, all of whom could make starts for the Tigers this year due to injuries, poor performances, or a trade or two.  Eventually, everything will work itself out.

Casey Mize was the first overall pick by the Detroit Tigers in 2018 and made his Major League debut in 2020, starting seven games with a 6.99 ERA in a little over 28 innings, skipping over AAA altogether.  Maybe he wasn’t quite ready for the Majors yet, but 2020 was a weird year without any Minor League games, so if the Tigers wanted Mize to pitch it had to be in the Majors.  In 2021, Mize started 30 games with a 3.71 ERA, with a team leading 150 1/3 innings, giving Tiger fans hope for what may come in the future.  However, he only started two games in 2022 and then was placed on the Injured List, eventually having Tommy John surgery and he hasn’t pitched until Spring Training this year.

Casey Mize’s numbers are kind of similar to Matt Manning’s numbers in that luck was likely on his side:

2021 – 6.7% BB% | 19.3% K% | 16.2% HR/FB% | 3.71 ERA | 4.92 xERA | 4.71 FIP

Among those with at least 150 innings in 2021, Mize was 13th lowest in strikeout rate and 6th highest in home run to flyball ratio.  His walk rate was above average, but control was an issue during Spring Training, which could be a factor in 2024 after coming back from Tommy John surgery.  Altogether, his FIP was a run higher than his ERA in 2021.  One encouraging stat was his groundball rate was at 48.1 percent.   

Casey Mize throws a four-seam fastball, slider, sinker, splitter, and knuckle curve.  Numbers are from 2021:

4-Seamer – 29.3% Usage | .226 BAA | .474 SLG Against

Slider – 28.1% Usage | .194 BAA | .335 SLG Against

Sinker – 22.7% Usage | .322 BAA | .557 SLG Against

Splitter – 13.2% Usage | .203 BAA | .304 SLG Against

Knuckle Curve – 6.7% Usage | .133 BAA | .200 SLG Against

He had the most trouble with the sinker in 2021 and he only threw it 3 times in his 10 innings in 2022, so maybe he was phasing it out in favor of throwing his fastball/splitter more often. Overall, opponents had a .254 batting average of balls in play against Mize that year, which will be very hard to sustain.  Mize throws his fastball around 93.5 MPH and just like Manning, had very good extension in 2021. 

Casey Mize needs to work on striking out guys more often, but also limiting the home runs (and walks may be an issue as well).  It’s going to be even harder for Mize to make these adjustments after not pitching for almost 2 years; it usually takes one full year to get back to full efficiency.  Mize is only entering his age-27 season, so he still has time to reach his full potential (and (he did have 20 strikeouts and allowed only 1 home run during Spring Training in 20 1/3 innings, but Spring Training stats should always be taken with a grain of salt).  I think the Tigers are going to be more worried about his health this year to make sure he doesn’t have any setbacks, so I don’t expect much of an improvement.  Hopefully I am wrong.   

Experts’ Predictions/Projections:

Steamer – 127 IP | 7-9 W/L | 4.63 ERA | 1.36 WHIP | 103 K | 38 BB

ZiPS DC – 114 IP | 5-7 W/L | 4.61 ERA | 1.26 WHIP | 85 K | 33 BB

THE BAT – 105 IP | 6-8 W/L | 4.97 ERA | 1.38 WHIP | 67 K | 32 BB

ATC – 103 IP | 5-7 W/L | 4.50 ERA | 1.29 WHIP | 80 K | 30 BB

FGDC – 120 IP | 6-8 W/L | 4.62 ERA | 1.31 WHIP | 94 K | 36 BB

RotoChamp – 109 IP | 6-8 W/L | 4.62 ERA | 1.32 WHIP | 81 K | 32 BB

CBS Sports – 162 IP | 7-10 W/L | 3.89 ERA | 1.22 WHIP | 152 K | 49 BB 

ESPN – 101 IP | 5 W | 4.19 ERA | 1.30 WHIP | 67 K | 31 BB

My Prediction:

2023 Prediction – N/A

2023 Actual – N/A

 

2024 Prediction – 122 1/3 IP | 5-9 W/L | 4.71 ERA | 1.357 WHIP | 89 K | 43 BB

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