Spring training typically carries a refreshing winning optimism for a fan base. A fresh start. The chance to reset the records and dream of a postseason run.
Unless you're a Detroit Tigers fan. Any sort of a reset with a new season for Detroit fans is replaced with the impending doom and likelihood of another losing year. The Tigers remain in a rebuild and any World Series aspirations are simply a dream.
Sportsbooks currently have the Tigers as the longest of longshots in the MLB futures market as teams begin spring training.
On DraftKings, Detroit is tied with the Pittsburgh Pirates at +25000 for the worst odds to win this season’s World Series. The Tigers are last to win the American League at +6000 and tied with the Kansas City Royals at +4000 as the biggest underdogs to win the American League Central.
This season will mark the first that bettors in Michigan will be able to wager online after the state officially launched its mobile sports betting and online casino platforms on Jan. 22. Hoping for a miracle on any of the futures is likely not the best way to turn a profit on the Tigers. And while the on-field product will likely leave something to be desired, there are still storylines and reasons to watch this season.
Cabrera’s Milestone Chase
Miguel Cabrera remains the team’s most popular player and one of the remnants from Detroit’s last successful run. He’s entering his 19th season in the majors and is still one of the team’s biggest draws.
Cabrera will garner most of the attention on this team as he pursues two career milestones: 500 home runs and 3,000 hits. He currently is 13 homers and 134 hits away from reaching those marks. Barring any injury setbacks, Cabrera will become the next player to reach those achievements this season.
"Sitting down with him over the next few days, we'll lay out his spring for him and tell him what our expectations are and get his feedback on the at-bats and totals that he wants," Detroit Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said in a press conference. "When you get into Year 19, you’re into a separate category in terms of preparation and planning. We want to keep him healthy, but we also need to get him ready. Getting feedback from him is going to be key."
The Development of the Prospects
The future is the one thing Detroit fans can look toward as the season progresses. Pitchers Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal made their MLB pitching debuts last season and the team hopes they can be the starting points of a strong rotation going forward.
Third baseman/shortstop Isaac Padres is a top 10 prospect who had more than 100 at-bats last season, while outfielder Daz Cameron is on the Tigers roster because of his speed and defense. Both can improve their hitting approaches after Paredes had eight walks compared to 24 strikeouts and Cameron batted under .200.
The Tigers’ other top prospects likely won’t see Detroit this season, and that’s fine. Spencer Torkelson was the No. 1 pick of the 2020 draft and is projected as a perennial All-Star, while Riley Greene, the No. 5 overall selection in the 2019 draft, gives the Tigers another highly-rated prospect to hold fans over for the future as the losing in 2021 probably continues.