Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
The end is mercifully near, while hope springs eternal for next year.
Well folks, the Detroit Tigers did it! On Wednesday evening, they clinched the worst record in the majors for the second time in three seasons with a loss to the American League Central Division-clinching Minnesota Twins . With the loss comes the ignominy of being the worst squad among the thirty teams in the majors, as well as the top pick in the 2020 amateur draft next June.
Tigers clinch top pick
As has been mentioned before, the Tigers clinched the worst record in baseball on Wednesday evening, and it was a rough road arriving to this point . Coming into the season, expectations were low for the ball club, but most could not fathom the depths that this team would sink to.
By the time the 2019 all-star break arrived, however, it became pretty clear how precipitous the fall for the Tigers would be, especially given the inevitability of the Shane Greene and Nicholas Castellanos trades heading towards the deadline. Due to a perfect storm of injuries, underperformance and simply a lack of viable talent, the team sunk to the bottom — but not without a fight. According to manager Ron Gardenhire, it has been a battle all year.
“This year, after all the injuries coming out of spring training, you knew it was going to be a battle and it has been, for our pitching staff, the whole year. We’ve been trying to find able bodies, we’ve used a lot of people… And a lot of kids are up in the big leagues right now getting an opportunity, which, that’s what rebuilds are. We’re seeing a lot of young guys, and sometimes, you know, if I had hair, I probably wouldn’t have hair by the end of this season.”
And despite some historically bad statistics put up by the Tigers, Gardenhire has managed to keep an even keel this season (with the exception of a handful of ejections ), which may be one of the few bright spots. Hopefully, for the fans and the franchise, the team can only get better from this point.
Tanking for Torkelson
Speaking of that number one pick in the draft, the general consensus at the moment is that Spencer Torkelson, a bat-first in-coming junior at Arizona State University, will be the top selection next June. Considering that Torkelson has 70-grade power and 60-level bat control according to many scouting reports, his profile fits the needs to the Tigers perfectly in a system that is suffering from a dearth of offense.
But June 2020 is still a long ways away, and anything can happen between now and then, be it injuries, breakout performances or sharp regressions. With that in mind, there are some other options at the top of the draft, including much-heralded RHP Emerson Hancock from the University of Georgia, as well as fellow SEC players LHP Asa Lacy of Texas A&M and 3B/2B Austin Martin of Vanderbilt. You can read the rest of the Tigers’ projected top ten in the article linked above.
There’s… no place like home?
There is no denying that the Tigers were bad, really bad, this season — it has been mentioned ad nauseum for at least the past couple of months. But maybe the most disappointing part of the losing was how many losses came at the friendly confines of Comerica Park. While the Tigers escaped the infamy of the 2003 season by collecting a few more wins than that squad, the 2019 club failed to win as many games as the former at home; in the process, they tied the record for most home losses in modern baseball history.
Tigers close out Comerica Park portion of their schedule at 22-59, tying 1939 St. Louis Browns for most home losses in modern MLB history. (Browns had lower winning percentage because they played fewer games) 10-4 final.
— Jason Beck (@beckjason) September 26, 2019
It is one thing to play poorly, but asking the fans to come out and support a team that is unlikely to win — even when given the home field advantage — is a tall order. Whether the team was improperly constructed for the dimensions of Comerica Park or it was just one giant fail, hopefully the front office is able to turn it around next season and bring some wins for a much-deserving audience.
Joe Jimenez gathering dust
Relief pitcher Joe Jimenez , the heir apparent to the closer role, had a rough 2019 season to say the least. But what might be an insult to injury is that he has been effectively shelved over the past couple of months despite ascending to ninth inning duties after Shane Greene was shipped out to the Atlanta Braves at the trade deadline. Despite a few rough outings earlier this year, his inactivity is not his fault according to Ron Gardenhire.
“We haven’t been able to get him enough chances… It’s not on his shoulders. He did the best he could when he got in there after Greenie left. If we could have given him more chances, he would have been fine.”
From the sounds of it, the manager still has faith in Joe, he just has not had the opportunities to give him in the role he has been assigned. Jimenez claims that he remains confident and works on preparing for each game equally. Perhaps next year he will get a better chance to prove his mettle on the mound.
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The great Hank Greenberg
— Tigers History (@TigersHistory) September 27, 2019
Around the horn
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