Not much is expected from the Detroit Tigers in 2018, that is until you listen to all of the MLB experts. While the season is still in its infancy, Tigers fans, despite a 2-4 start, should feel optimistic about this season and beyond, and here is why.
Jeimer Candelario, Niko Goodrum, and Dixon Machado may not be household names right now, but these three youngsters are showing some serious potential. Candelario came over to Detroit last season from the Chicago Cubs as part of the trade that sent catcher Alex Avila and Justin Wilson to Chicago. Detroit also acquired 19-year-old prospect Isaac Paredes in the deal, who along with Candelario is coming off of a great season of winter ball.
Candelario was a high prospect for the Cubs organization, however, playing third base behind a guy named Kris Bryant isn’t the best way to try to break into the big leagues. The verdict is still out, but this trade looks like a winner for Detroit as Candelario has shown great glove work in the field and a great eye at the plate.
When the Tigers signed Niko Goodrum, they knew they were getting a utility player, but Goodrum may be the best around in terms of flexibility. Goodrum has already played shortstop and first base so far in 2018 and looked comfortable at each position.
His shining moment of the early 2018 season came on Thursday in Chicago. Not in the starting lineup, Goodrum came off the bench after Miguel Cabrera injured his ankle and went 2 for 5 with a home run as he helped lead the charge for the Tigers comeback 9-7 win in 10 innings.
Finally, there is Dixon Machado. Machado has been in the Tigers organization since 2015 and after three seasons of being a role player, he is getting his shot as a starter. When the Tigers traded Ian Kinsler to the Angels, the second base job was handed to Machado and it is his to lose. Through six games, Machado is hitting .280 and has five RBI.
The Tigers are hoping that along with these three rising stars, pitchers Michael Fulmer, Matthew Boyd and right fielder Nicholas Castellanos will help lead the charge for the new look Tigers to once again becoming a contender in the AL Central.
Detroit has not had a youth movement since 2006, and that season they went to the World Series. While the Tigers are most likely not going to make it to the Fall Classic this season, they are confident that a return trip isn’t far off.