It looks like the Detroit Tigers will be starting from the bottom floor in their rebuilding effort.
The Tigers, fresh off a 98-loss season in which they traded away big pieces of their present to help build for their future, are dead last in ESPN’s “way-too-early” baseball power rankings for 2018.
The Tigers will enter the season with a new manager in Ron Gardenhire, and a young team after trading away stars last season, including ace Justin Verlander, who helped the Houston Astros win their first World Series on Wednesday night. Gone, too, are outfielders J.D. Martinez (dealt to the Arizona Diamondbacks), Justin Upton (traded to the Los Angeles Angels) and catcher Alex Avila and reliever Justin Wilson (sent to the Chicago Cubs).
The Tigers restocked their farm system as a result, and also will have the No. 1 overall pick in next year’s draft, but there will be plenty of growing pains in Detroit, writes David Schoenfield of ESPN.
“They lost 98 games with a team that had Justin Upton and Justin Verlander on the roster for most of the season and J.D. Martinez for 57 games,” Schoenfield writes. “Without those three in September, they went an abysmal 6-24 while getting outscored by 90 runs. That’s a shocking three runs per game, even though two of the six wins were by scores of 13-2 and 12-0. Even a bounce-back from Miguel Cabrera won’t be enough to save this team from 100 losses.”
The champion Astros, with Verlander fronting the rotation, tops ESPN’s rankings.