Detroit Tigers: Jeimer Candelario to battle with Dawel Lugo at Third Base

(Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images) /

With 2020 Spring Training underway, the Detroit Tigers have a battle for the third-base starting job up for grabs between Jeimer Candelario and Dawel Lugo.

The Detroit Tigers are in an interesting spot with their third basemen for this 2020 season as two players are going to battle it out for the starting role through 2020 Spring Training. Jeimer Candelario, who also played some first base last season, is in his make or break year with the team will be battling prospect Dawel Lugo for that role.

Candelario has shown some regression from the player he emerged as and what the organization anticipated he would become. Still, Lugo has the chance to earn a way into the everyday lineup to start the season.

In 2019, the Tigers saw Candelario take a severe regression, resulting in a demotion to the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens to get a little reset in before returning to the big leagues. Candelario would play in ninety-four MLB games in 2019, hitting .203/.306/.337 with eight home runs and thirty-two RBI on the season with the Tigers. He would spend time down in the minors as well after he posed a near 30% strikeout rate on the 2019 season, which the organization hopes he could improve upon in 2020.

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Moving into 2020, this is Candelario’s make or break year with the organization, especially with the emergence of Dawel Lugo. In 2019, when Lugo arrived with the big league club, and Candelario was dealing with his struggles, it resulted in Candelario got some reps in at first base due to some injuries and allowed Lugo to get acclimated at third base in the big leagues.

The 2019 season, where Lugo played in seventy-seven games, was his second stint in the big leagues, playing in twenty-seven games in 2018 for the Tigers.

With his seventy-seven game season in 2019, Lugo would hit .245/.271/.381 with six home runs and twenty-six RBI’s on the season for the Tigers. Lugo is a lot more exciting than Candelario in the sense that Lugo still has the possibility of being a more than serviceable third baseman in the big leagues. The best thing about Lugo that has not adequately shown up in the big leagues is his sneaky power tool, which has not been as evident in recent seasons.

As Spring Training continues and the two battle it out, watch for Candelario to earn the nod since this is going to be his make or break season.

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Lugo will be brought back to Detroit regardless of whether it is a bench role or in the starting role, but it seems that Candelario has the edge in this positional battle. However, both of these players are going to get opportunities with the Detroit Tigers during the 2020 regular season.