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2020 Preseason Predictions

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It's that time of year again!  Starting these a week ahead of when I normally do them because someone thought it was a good idea to have opening day on March 26th.

Bobrob’s 2020 Preseason Prediction #1 – Jonathan Rufino Jezus Schoop

When I do these predictions I roughly go by best to worst player on the team.  I’ll be honest with you, I have no idea who the best players on this team will be.  I hope that it’s Miggy, but I don’t have much confidence that he will be the best (he wasn’t last year).  So I’m going to do things differently this year.  I’m going to start with the new guys.  New players, new team, new revived interest in watching these losers players.

Jonathan Schoop had 23 home runs last year, which would have led the Tigers team and his 59 RBI would have tied for the team lead. Schoop’s best year was in 2017 when he hit .293/.338/.503 with 32 home runs and a 120 wRC+, inflated by a .330 BABIP.  Aside from that year, Schoop has mostly been an average offensive player with a 100 wRC+ in 2019 and a 97 wRC+ for his career.  Suffice to say, Schoop is going to be a major improvement for the offense this year. Collectively, the Tigers’ second basemen hit .228/.271/.363 in 2019 compared to Schoop’s .256/.304/.473.

Jonathan Schoop’s major weakness is his walk rate.  Last year it was at 4.3%, about half of the league average of 8.5%.  His strikeout rate is also rising, 21% in 2017 to 23% in 2018 to 25% in 2019.  Finally, his durability is also in question.  After playing a full 162 games in 2016 and another 160 games in 2017, Schoop only played in 131 games in 2018 and 121 games in 2019.  The Tigers lack depth in the middle infield and if Schoop is out for a significantly long period of time, there could be a repeat of last year’s performance at that position.

Defensively, the numbers suggest he his slightly below average.  His zone rating of .661 RZR last year (by far the league's worst, minimum of 900 innings) is worrisome but could be related to his injuries.  Or it could be a sign of decline as he gets older.  If he repeats that, it could make for some interesting plays up the middle paired with a non-natural shortstop in Niko Goodrum.

Jonathan Schoop is only entering his age 28 season, so he should have a few prime years left.  I expect relatively a repeat performance of last year, hopefully with more playing time and better defense.  He’s about as average as you can get, which would be miles better than Josh Harrison.

 

Experts’ Predictions/Projections:

Steamer – 515 AB | .262/.306/.477 | 26 HR | 79 RBI | 2 SB | 27 BB | 127 K

ZiPS – 512 AB | .262/.304/.465 | 25 HR | 72 RBI | 1 SB | 24 BB | 122 K

THE BAT – 533 AB | .257/.301/.455 | 25 HR | 77 RBI | 2 SB | 27 BB | 129 K

RotoChamp – 473 AB | .260/.300/.463 | 23 HR | 67 RBI | 1 SB | 21 BB | 119 K

CBS Sports – 477 AB | .239/.277/.398 | 16 HR | 50 RBI | 1 SB | 18 BB | 139 K

ESPN – 527 AB | .256/.300/.471 | 27 HR | 75 RBI | 1 SB | 24 BB | 131 K

My Prediction:

2019 Prediction – N/A

2019 Actual – 433 AB | .256/.304/.473 | 23 HR | 59 RBI | 1 SB | 20 BB | 116 K

 

2020 Prediction – 542 AB | .253/.295/.448 | 25 HR | 69 RBI | 1 SB | 24 BB | 139 K

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Bobrob’s 2020 Preseason Prediction #2 – Christopher John Cron Jr.

In a lot of ways, C.J. Cron and Jonathan Schoop are similar. 

2019 stats:

Cron – 101 wRC+ | .216 ISO | 5.8% BB% | 21.4% K%

Schoop – 100 wRC+ | .217 ISO | 4.3% BB % | 25% K%

Cron’s strikeout rate was lower last year, but it was over 25% in 2017-18.  His walk rate is better, but still below average.  He also has a bit more home run power with 55 home runs over the last two years, compared to Schoop at 44.  Having two players that are capable of hitting over 20 home runs is much needed in the Tigers middle of the order as no one was able to hit more than 15 last year.

Also similar to Schoop is Cron’s durability.  Cron has played in six seasons in the Majors and only once has he gotten over 500 PA, back in 2018.  Having a durable first baseman is key as again the Tigers lack depth at that position.  The Tigers’ primary first basemen last year, Brandon Dixon and John Hicks, are gone and Miggy is cemented at DH.  Niko Goodrum also saw some time at first base, but he is currently planted at SS.  I guess Jordy Mercer is the backup plan at this point, who played five games at 1B for the Tigers last year.

Over the last two years, Cron has hit massively better versus left-handed pitching.

2018 - .307/.376/.553

2019 - .326/.385/.636

Ideally, Cron would be a platoon player, but given the Tigers current player setup, that just isn’t feasible.  They could hope for a breakout season, but at this point Cron has pretty much established what he is.

Just like second base, the Tigers production at first base was horrible.  The Tigers got 19 home runs and a .710 OPS at that position last year, ranked 28th in all of baseball.  If Cron can duplicate his 25 home runs and .780 OPS, it’ll be a big boost for the Tigers, despite the average wRC+. 

Finally, C.J. Cron’s defense is average to below average with a 3 DRS and a -0.6 UZR in 2019.  Out of the 25 guys with at least 3000 innings at 1B since 2014, Cron ranks 20th in UZR/150 at -0.3.  At age 30, it’s hard to image his defense improving.  For as little as Cron produces from offense at his position compared to the league, it’s almost completely negated by his defense; in 2019 his fWAR was 0.3.  In the six years he has been in the Majors, four of them have produced an fWAR of below 1.0.  But hey, it’s an improvement over Dixon’s -0.1 fWAR.  Baby steps. 

Below, CBS Sports and ESPN show two extremes that we could see from Cron.

Experts’ Predictions/Projections:

Steamer – 484 AB | .262/.324/.495 | 28 HR | 80 RBI | 2 SB | 36 BB | 122 K

ZiPS – 455 AB | .264/.321/.492 | 26 HR | 74 RBI | 1 SB | 29 BB | 103 K

THE BAT – 488 AB | .259/.320/.472 | 25 HR | 75 RBI | 2 SB | 35 BB | 116 K

RotoChamp – 398 AB | .254/.312/.470 | 21 HR | 65 RBI | 1 SB | 26 BB | 100 K

CBS Sports – 455 AB | .226/.281/.402 | 18 HR | 57 RBI | 0 SB | 27 BB | 132 K

ESPN – 501 AB | .265/.324/.501 | 30 HR | 87 RBI | 1 SB | 32 BB | 123 K

My Prediction:

2019 Prediction – N/A

2019 Actual – 458 AB | .253/.311/.469 | 25 HR | 78 RBI | 0 SB | 29 BB | 107 K

 

2020 Prediction – 461 AB | .247/.310/.479 | 27 HR | 71 RBI | 0 SB | 32 BB | 128 K

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Just saw that Brandon Dixon is in today's lineup for the Tigers. I had no idea they brought him back.  

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Bobrob’s 2020 Preseason Prediction #3 – Ivan Manuel Nova Guance

The only pitcher the Tigers signed in the off-season was Ivan Nova.  They signed him to eat up innings because they don’t want to bring up Mize, Manning, or Skubal.  Blah, blah, blah, we heard this all before when they signed Francisco Liriano, Mike Fiers, Tyson Ross, and Matt Moore.  Unlike the two they signed last year, they hope that Nova will actually pitch more than one month.  He has averaged a little more than 174 innings/year since 2016.  Will he be any good?  I don’t think the Tigers really care.  And probably not.

Just like the hitters that they signed, Nova has turned in average performance in recent years.  Since 2017, his ERA+ is 98.  Two of those years were spent in the NL with an ERA of 4.16.  Then the White Sox signed him last year and his ERA spiked to 4.72.  Entering his age-33 season, it appears that Nova is exiting his prime and starting to decline.

Ivan Nova’s strikeout rate dropped from 16.7% in 2017 and 2018 to 14.1% in 2019.  His walk rate went up from 4.6% in 2017 to 5.1% in 2018 to 5.8% in 2019.  Finally, his HR/FB rate went from 5.8% in 2017 to 14.8% in 2018 and back up to 15.8% in 2019.  None of these trends are a good sign.

There is one sliver of hope with Ivan Nova.  He reintroduced a slider last year in which opponents hit .243 against and he had a 30.3% strikeout rate.  Nova’s stats also improved in the second half.

1st Half – 5.58 ERA | 5.9% BB% | 15.1% K% | 4.3% HR%

2nd Half – 3.72 ERA | 5.7% BB% | 13.0% K% | 3.0% HR%

It is possible that he got more comfortable using his slider in the second half and that produced better results.  Or just a fluke since most of the experts predict an ERA north of 5.00 for Nova in 2020.

Experts’ Predictions/Projections:

Steamer – 160 IP | 7-12 W/L | 5.31 ERA | 1.40 WHIP | 100 K | 33 BB

ZiPS – 147 IP | 8-10 W/L | 5.20 ERA | 1.44 WHIP | 92 K | 32 BB

THE BAT – 160 IP | 7-12 W/L | 5.15 ERA | 1.42 WHIP | 95 K | 44 BB

RotoChamp – 158 IP | 7-11 W/L | 4.56 ERA | 1.35 WHIP | 109 K | 39 BB

CBS Sports – N/A

ESPN – 180 IP | 7-13 W/L | 4.70 ERA | 1.33 WHIP | 113 K | 44 BB

 

My Prediction:

2019 Prediction – N/A

2019 Actual – 187 IP | 11-12 W/L | 4.72 ERA | 1.455 WHIP | 114 K | 47 BB

 

2020 Prediction – 179 1/3 IP | 7-13 W/L | 5.02 ERA | 1.416 WHIP | 109 K | 47 BB

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3 minutes ago, IdahoBert said:

I’m expecting the worst so I’m building an ark. 

a Tardis might be more appropriate to the level of  hazard we're facing.

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24 minutes ago, Gehringer_2 said:

a Tardis might be more appropriate to the level of  hazard we're facing.

F6E9EB89-A8CE-4C3A-BEA0-82AEC9FCD354.thumb.png.98a2142bf8bdec706db276106726b5fb.png

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39 minutes ago, IdahoBert said:

F6E9EB89-A8CE-4C3A-BEA0-82AEC9FCD354.thumb.png.98a2142bf8bdec706db276106726b5fb.png

?

---you are waaay too good at this stuff. 

  • Haha 1

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Bobrob’s 2020 Preseason Prediction #4 – Austin Allen Romine

Stop me if you heard this one before, “the Tigers signed an average player in the offseason to a one year deal as a stopgap during their rebuild.”  The Tigers should print that on t-shirts.  Anyway, Austin Romine had an OPS+ of 95 over the last two years with a batting line of .262/.302/.428.  Not bad for a catcher who was a negative WAR player until 2018. 

Tiger catchers hit a combined .176/.226/.300 during the 2019 season.  Yikes!  They could have resigned Brad Ausmus back at catcher and he would be an improvement.  As long as we get the Austin Romine of the last two years instead of the one from his first five years, the Tigers will be alright.  Bad news though, is that Romine has never played in more than 80 games during the course of the season.  If the Tigers intend to give him full time duties, he could burn out in the second half.  If not, they are going to have to rely on one of the failures from last year at that position for part-time duty.  Either way, they are likely to be doomed for half the games at catcher.

Defensively, Austin Romine seems about average.  He ranked 27th in pitch framing, a few spots ahead of Grayson Greiner, who was at 30.  He had a -1 DRS last year, again ranking him about average.

Austin Romine is entering his age 31 season.  On one hand, catchers usually peak early and by age 31 are past their prime.  On the other hand, Romine doesn’t have nearly the innings that a regular catcher would have by his age.  It’s an interesting case that can go either way now that Romine has the opportunity to become an everyday catcher.

 

Experts’ Predictions/Projections:

Steamer – 211 AB | .257/.304/.418 | 7 HR | 27 RBI | 2 SB | 13 BB | 51 K

ZiPS – 228 AB | .254/.292/.399 | 7 HR | 29 RBI | 1 SB | 12 BB | 49 K

THE BAT – 225 AB | .240/.288/.374 | 6 HR | 25 RB1SB | 14 BB | 53 K

RotoChamp – 321 AB | .252/.292/.396 | 10 HR | 48 RBI | 1 SB | 18 BB | 76 K

CBS Sports – 326 AB | .252/.292/.380 | 8 HR | 39 RBI | 1 SB | 18 BB | 89 K

ESPN – 325 AB | .258/.295/.406 | 10 HR | 47 RBI | 1 SB | 17 BB | 77 K

My Prediction:

2019 Prediction – N/A

2019 Actual – 228 AB | .281/.310/.439 | 8 HR | 35 RBI | 1 SB | 10 BB | 50 K

 

2020 Prediction – 253 AB | .233/.271/.399 | 9 HR | 41 RBI | 0 SB | 12 BB | 61 K

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I will predict that at least one of those young gun pitchers will make a start or two with the big club this year. The Tigers have nothing to lose bringing those guys up to get their feet wet.  Let's see what they've got at the big league level.

Besides that, the Tiger' hitting stats can't possibly be worse than last year.  Gotta cut down on the strikeouts and take more walks.  And please, please, please,  quit listening to Lloyd.   BTW, why does he still have a job after the dismal hitting last year?  

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8 minutes ago, roarintiger1 said:

I will predict that at least one of those young gun pitchers will make a start or two with the big club this year. The Tigers have nothing to lose bringing those guys up to get their feet wet.  Let's see what they've got at the big league level.

Besides that, the Tiger' hitting stats can't possibly be worse than last year.  Gotta cut down on the strikeouts and take more walks.  And please, please, please,  quit listening to Lloyd.   BTW, why does he still have a job after the dismal hitting last year?  

To be fair, Joe Vavra is now the hitting coach.  McClendon is now the bench coach. Dave Clark and Ramon Santiago also swapped jobs.  Just moving chairs on the Titanic.  

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On 3/1/2020 at 12:34 PM, IdahoBert said:

I’m expecting the worst so I’m building up a big fart. 

There ..fixed that for you.

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Bobrob’s 2020 Preseason Prediction #5 – Jose Miguel Cabrera Torres

Miguel Cabrera is a two-time MVP player, a perennial all-star player, and one of the best hitters in the game today.  The previous statement was brought to you from 2016.  Over the past three years, Cabrera is a .270/.345/.404 hitter.  Not bad…if you’re Niko Goodrum.

There are several excuses for Cabrera’s decline, injuries (he only played 38 games in 2018), age (he’ll be 37 this year), off-field problems (where do I begin?).  The reality of the situation is that Cabrera is past his prime and his days of hitting .330/.440/.600 with 40 home runs are behind him.  He can still be useful, but he is nowhere near the hitter that he once was.

Miguel Cabrera is still capable of having a good batting average.  He hit .282 last year and .299 in those 38 games in 2018.  It’s not .330, but still good.  His walk rate was 8.7% last year, while lower than his career of 11.1%, still above average. 

Now the bad news.  What happened to his power?  Cabrera had a 9.7% HR/FB ratio last year, way below his career average of 18.3%.  It was around 13.5% in 2017-18, so that’s a big drop in just one year’s time.  His ISO was .116 last year, another huge drop off from his .228 career average.  Again, it was another big drop from his .149 ISO in 2017-18.  If Miggy can get back to 2017 production, he might hit 20 home runs.  Is he healthy?  Can he keep his weight off? Supposedly he lost a lot of weight in the off-season.  Will he be able to stay motivated in another losing season? Well, I guess we’ll find out.

 

Experts’ Predictions/Projections:

Steamer – 504 AB | .278/.350/.443 | 18 HR | 72 RBI | 1 SB | 54 BB | 117 K

ZiPS – 408 AB | .262/.327/.373 | 9 HR | 48 RBI | 0 SB | 39 BB | 87 K

THE BAT – 515 AB | .270/.341/.412 | 15 HR | 65 RBI | 1 SB | 55 BB | 111 K

RotoChamp – 441 AB | .281/.352/.426 | 14 HR | 59 RBI | 0 SB | 48 BB | 96 K

CBS Sports – 546 AB | .282/.352/.438 | 20 HR | 74 RBI | 1 SB | 57 BB | 127 K

ESPN – 478 AB | .272/.340/.395 | 13 HR | 60 RBI | 0 SB | 48 BB | 105 K

My Prediction:

2019 Prediction – 265 AB | .291/.367/.460 | 9 HR | 41 RBI | 0 SB | 32 BB | 54 K

2019 Actual – 493 AB | .282/.346/.398 | 12 HR | 59 RBI | 0 SB | 48 BB | 108 K

 

2020 Prediction – 478 AB | .276/.350/.421 | 14 HR | 61 RBI | 0 SB | 54 BB | 108 K

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Seems folks are afraid to forecast better things for Miggy.

I'll guess:

440 AB | .298 BA | .375 OBP | .454 SLG | 29 HR | 88 RBI | 0 SB | 54 BB | 88 KO's

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29 HR in 440 AB and a 0.156 ISO?

I think the lowest possible slugging he could have with 29 HR in 440 AB and a 0.298 BA (131 hits) is 0.495.  That presumes 0 doubles.

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Posted (edited)

If he stays healthy I think .300+ is very possible. His HR have been in decline for years but I do think a rebound to 22-24 could happen. And 35-40 doubles. At 37 I doubt it would be more than that, but I appreciate the optimism. Maybe he'll take whatever stealth PED Big Papi, Aaron Judge and others took/take and surprise us all.

Edit: after today, maybe 29 dingers ain't a stretch. My cat once had 29 dingleberries. Maybe it's kismat

Edited by leflore

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Bobrob’s 2020 Preseason Prediction #6 – Matthew Robert Boyd

It was a tale of two halves for Matt Boyd in 2019:

1st Half – 3.87 ERA | 32% K% | 4.5 BB% | 4.3% HR%

2nd Half – 5.51 ERA | 27.9% K% | 8.7% BB% | 5.8% HR%

The biggest surprise from Matt Boyd was the increase in strikeouts.  His strikeout rate was around 20% since joining the Major Leagues, but it jumped up to 30.2% last year.  His walk rate also improved, from 8.8% in 2017 to 7.2% in 2018 to 6.4% in 2019.  These trends are very positive for a guy about to breakout.  Unfortunately, his ERA was higher in 2019 (4.56) than it was in 2018 (4.39).

There are several reasons for Matt Boyd’s disappointing second half.  Fatigue from pitching the most innings in his career, hitters figuring him out, or just a lack of effort for a team that challenged the 2003 team for the worst record in American League history.  Still only 29 years old, Boyd can still turn in a breakout year if he can duplicate his first half numbers for a full season.

Matt Boyd was mainly a 5-pitch pitcher for his career, fastball, slider, curveball, sinker, and changeup.  In 2019, he significantly increased his fastball usage and was basically a 2-pitch pitcher with his fastball and slider.  He occasionally threw his other pitches, but the usage for those three pitches were under 10% each.  It’s hard for a starting pitcher to only rely on two pitches, which may have factored into his second half demise.

I’m going to be optimistic on Boyd for 2020.  I think he learned from both halves last year and is ready to put it altogether, despite his 2-pitch tendencies.  I believe the strikeouts are real and the walk rate is going in the right direction, two main things I look for in a pitcher. Hopefully his second half last year was more of a fluke than his first half.

Experts’ Predictions/Projections:

Steamer – 173 IP | 10-11 W/L | 4.32 ERA | 1.22 WHIP | 191 K | 51 BB

ZiPS – 173 IP | 10-10 W/L | 4.37 ERA | 1.24 WHIP |193 K | 51 1BB

THE BAT – 168 IP | 10-11 W/L | 4.05 ERA | 1.19 WHIP | 51 BB | 187 K

RotoChamp – 182 IP | 10-10 W/L | 4.25 ERA | 1.28 WHIP | 198 K | 56 BB

CBS Sports – 174 2/3 IP | 8-13 W/L | 4.69 ERA | 1.29 WHIP |191 K | 51 BB

ESPN – 186 IP | 8 W | 4.40 ERA | 1.19 WHIP | 209 K | 54 BB

My Prediction:

2019 Prediction – 177 IP | 11-11 W/L | 4.07 ERA | 1.232 WHIP | 165 K | 53 BB

2019 Actual – 185 1/3 IP | 9-12 W/L | 4.56 ERA | 1.230 WHIP | 238 K | 50 BB

 

2020 Prediction – 186 IP | 12-9 W/L | 3.92 ERA | 1.194 WHIP | 218 K | 51 BB

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Bobrob’s 2020 Preseason Prediction #7 – Cartier Niko Goodrum

Niko Goodrum had two nearly identical seasons with the Tigers:

2018 - .245/.315/.432

2019 - .248/.322/.421

With the Tigers rebuilding, Goodrum’s offensive numbers have stood out as one of the best on the team. In 2019, he led Tiger hitters in fWAR and walk rate, and was 2nd on the team in OPS (just one point below Miguel Cabrera).

Unfortunately, Niko also led the team in strikeouts with 138.  His 29.2% K% ranked 11th in the league among hitters with at least 450 plate appearances. However, his walk rate increased from 8.5% in 2018 to 9.7% in 2019. 

As far as power goes, Niko Goodrum’s HR/FB dropped slightly from 15.5% in 2018 to 13.3% in 2019 as well as his ISO, .187 in 2018 to .173 in 2019. 

After starting out slowly in 2019, Niko Goodrum had a 2nd half surge before suffering an injury that sidelined him for the last month of the year:

1st half – 330 PA | .235/.315/.389

2nd half – 124 PA | .277/.338/.492

Was his 2nd half a sign of breaking out, or was it a fluke?

Another interesting split was his left/righty splits:

Vs. RHP - .215/.296/.393

Vs. LHP - .361/.411/.515

In 2018, Niko Goodrum hit .303/.317/.412 vs. LHP, so I’m not totally buying that they power is real.  He also hit .225/.294/.440 vs. RHP in 2018, so he has always done better vs. southpaws.  I’ve seen these splits before and his name was James McCann.  McCann eventually broke out and had an All-Star season.  Unfortunately, he did that after leaving the Tigers.

Experts’ Predictions/Projections:

Steamer – 526 AB | .241/.309/.407 | 17 HR | 65 RBI | 12 SB | 50 BB | 161 K

ZiPS – 432 AB | .241/.305/.412 | 14 HR | 48 RBI | 11 SB | 39 BB | 136 K

THE BAT – 514 AB | .239/.309/.408 | 17 HR | 12 SB | 50 BB | 158 K

RotoChamp – 485 AB | .245/.317/.423 | 15 HR | 54 RBI | 13 SB | 50 BB | 155 K

CBS Sports – 498 AB | .259/.326/.426 | 14 HR | 61 RBI | 49 BB | 143 K

ESPN – 459 AB | .242/.309/.410 | 12 HR | 53 RBI | 44 BB | 144 K

My Prediction:

2019 Prediction – 460 AB | .228/.303/.420 | 17 HR | 54 RBI | 10 SB | 46 BB | 134 K

2019 Actual – 423 AB | .248/.322/.421 | 12 HR | 45 RBI | 12 SB | 46 BB | 138 K

 

2020 Prediction – 428 AB | .234/.313/.411 | 13 HR | 48 RBI | 12 SB | 46 BB | 134 K

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I'm running out of players with guaranteed starting jobs and I've only done 7.  

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11 hours ago, bobrob2004 said:

McCann eventually broke out and had an All-Star first half of last season. 

There, fixed that for you.

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11 hours ago, bobrob2004 said:

I'm running out of players with guaranteed starting jobs and I've only done 7.  

Pretty safe to say that, if healthy, J Zimmermann, Spencer Turnbull, and Daniel Norris are certain to begin season with starting jobs ..as well as Christian Stewart and Jacoby Jones

One or more may (will) lose their starting jobs, but again, gotta have 5 starting pitchers and at least 2 starting outfielders (probably platoon the other OF position and also platoon 3rd base.)

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Bobrob’s 2020 Preseason Prediction #8 – Daniel David Norris

Daniel Norris has always had to prove himself to keep a job in the starting rotation.  Last year, the Tigers signed two starting pitchers, Tyson Ross and Matt Moore, effectively leaving Norris as the odd man out.  Fortunately for Norris, both these pitchers suffered season-ending injuries early on, thus giving Norris 29 starts and his 4.49 ERA was the best among Tigers’ starters.  His decent season plus the Tigers only signing one starting pitcher to replace Ross/Moore, gives Norris more security this Spring to retain a starting job.

Daniel Norris stayed relatively healthy all year in 2019, giving him 144 1/3 innings, the most of his career.  Because he only pitched 44 1/3 innings in 2018, they limited his innings by having him go only 3 innings a game in his last 9 starts (with Drew VerHagen piggybacking).  Those stretch of games actually improved his stats; he had a 3.33 ERA in those 9 games with a 25.5% strikeout rate, a 6.6% walk rate.  Norris had a 4.76 ERA with a 19.6% strikeout rate and a 5.9% walk rate in the previous games.  It is unknown if they will have a Norris/someone else duel start in 2020 (most likely not), but if they did, he will likely succeed in that role.

Besides the bigger workload, the biggest change in Daniel Norris in 2019 was the walk rate.  His career walk rate prior to 2019 was 8.8% and Norris managed to lower it to 6.2% in 2019.  Probably as a direct result, his strikeouts also decreased, 25.5% in 2018 to 20.5% in 2019.  However, his overall ERA lowered by over a full run (5.68 in 2018 to 4.49 in 2019), so he will gladly take that tradeoff. 

Daniel Norris is entering his age 27 season, and everything seems to be aligning for him to have his best season yet.  He would probably succeed more in a bullpen/long relief role by not throwing more than 3 innings at a time like we saw in the last 2 months of 2019, but giving him every opportunity to succeed as a starting pitcher seems to be the smarter move.  Hopefully he is able to remain healthy again.

Experts’ Predictions/Projections:

Steamer – 130 IP | 7-9 W/L | 4.91 ERA | 1.39 WHIP | 113 K | 44 BB

ZiPS – 131 IP | 7-8 W/L | 4.74 ERA | 1.40 WHIP | 117 K | 46 BB

THE BAT – 141 IP | 7-10 W/L | 4.92 ERA | 1.39 WHIP | 123 K | 47 BB

RotoChamp – 155 IP | 8-10 W/L | 4.41 ERA | 1.37 WHIP | 140 K | 50 BB

CBS Sports – N/A

ESPN – 142 IP | 6 W | 4.75 ERA | 1.32 WHIP | 126 K | 41 BB

My Prediction:

2019 Prediction – N/A

2019 Actual – 144 1/3 IP | 3-13 W/L | 4.49 ERA | 1.33 WHIP | 125 K | 38 BB

 

2020 Prediction – 145 IP | 8-9 W/L | 4.34 ERA | 1.393 WHIP | 131 K | 42 BB

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I've have been one the biggest Norris boosters on the forum, but when I saw this spring that his delivery is still completely out out of control, I'm throwing in the towel. Maybe the bullpen.

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Bobrob’s 2020 Preseason Prediction #9 – JaCoby Mylon Jones

I have no idea who the Tigers’ starting outfield will be.  The best guess at this time will be Christin Stewart-JaCoby Jones-Cameron Maybin from left to right.  However, that could easily change to Victor Reyes-Harold Castro-Travis Demeitte by mid summer.  Not to mention they have Derek Hill and Daz Cameron on the 40-man roster along with some guy named Troy Stokes Jr. (who I know absolutely nothing about).

All that being said, JaCoby Jones may have the most secure job in the outfield, despite only appearing in 88 games in 2019 due to injuries.

There are several stats that JaCoby Jones improved on during 2019.  The biggest one might be the walk rate, which improved from 5.1% in 2018 to 8.1% in 2019.  I love players that can get on base, so this is a big one for me (too bad his batting average is weak).  The other area is the power.  Jones hit 11 home rusn in 88 games during 2019, the same amount he hit in 2018 in 129 games.  His ISO went up from .099 in 2017 to .156 in 2018 to .195 in 2019.  Jones is entering his age 28 season, so that number could go up even higher in 2020.

Unfortunately, JaCoby Jones still strikes out a lot.  His strikeout rate was 28.2% in 2019, not much different than the 30.4% he put up in 2018.  A surprising area of disappointment in 2019 was his defense.  After showing signs of being one of the best centerfielders in 2018 in terms of defensive stats, he was one, if not the the worst in 2019 with a -13 DRS and a -12.5 UZR.  Having good defense is important for a guy like Jones as he doesn’t have a lot of value in his hitting.  Overall, he had a -0.2 fWAR in 2019.

Experts’ Predictions/Projections:

Steamer – 454 AB | .234/.299/.397 | 14 HR | 53 RBI | 11 SB | 36 BB | 149 K

ZiPS – 396 AB | .220/.285/.381 | 12 HR | 36 RBI | 10 SB | 30 BB | 134 K

THE BAT – 467 AB | .233/.299/.396 | 15 HR | 51 RBI | 11 SB | 37 BB | 152 K

RotoChamp – 389 AB | .224/.289/.396 | 12 HR | 33 RBI | 10 SB | 28 BB | 130 K

CBS Sports – N/A

ESPN – 168 AB | .232/.297/.417 | 6 HR | 17 RBI | 3 SB | 12 BB | 55 K

My Prediction:

2019 Prediction – 374 AB | .206/.262/.353 | 10 HR | 30 RBI | 12 SB | 21 BB | 130 K

2019 Actual – 298 AB | .235/.310/.430 | 11 HR | 26 RBI | 7 SB | 27 BB | 94 K

 

2020 Prediction – 410 AB | .212/.276/.415 | 16 HR | 37 RBI | 14 SB | 32 BB | 140 K

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