The Detroit Tigers may not be playing games yet, but their third base positional battle looks pretty bleak until some of the prospects arrive in the big leagues.
The way things are going, the Detroit Tigers should be able to return to the field sooner rather than later for a second “Spring Training” to prepare for a shortened 2020 season. The return to the field will restart a positional battle for the third base position on this Tigers team.
Currently, the positional battle for the third base job is between Jeimer Candelario and Dawel Lugo, who are dueling it out. The issue with these two is the fact that neither has amounted to much in the big leagues and seems to offer a harsh reality that neither will be around for the long haul.
In all reality, it will be one of the younger prospects who is groomed and developed through the minors that get the shot to be the everyday guy in the big leagues. The Tigers have a few players who might live up to the hype and be a viable option at third base, but none of them are ready.
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In the big leagues, one of the hopefuls, Candelario, will be playing in his fourth season, having regressed since he emerged onto the scene.
Last year, in 94 games, Candelario hit .203/.306/.337, with only eight home runs and 32 RBI while striking out 99 times.
Sadly, it seemed like Candelario is going to struggle to get things figured out, meaning he will not be a piece that stays through the rebuild as a future starter.
A stint in Triple-A with the Toledo Mud Hens did not get the job done either, but he will be dueling Lugo for the third base job in 2020.
Lugo is less of a “veteran” than Candelario. Both are young but have at least a season under their belt in the big leagues.
Lugo is twenty-five years old, heading into year three in the big leagues. He hit .245/.271/.381 with six home runs and 26 RBI over 77 games for the Tigers in 2019. The year before, in 2018, Lugo would find his way into 27 games over the course of the season.
Lugo is someone who can play second or third base for the Tigers, but he is in the third base positional battle. His power numbers have not quite been where they were expected to be, but he looks to be the better of two “meh” players for the time being.
In terms of future help at the position, Isaac Paredes is the readiest and prevalent name that is in the mix. Paredes is on the 40-man roster, whereas 2019 second-round draft pick Nick Quintana is not. Both players are candidates for the position in the future, but Paredes looks to take the cake.
Paredes is the closest to earning a shot in the big leagues and grades out as a bat that should add considerable power to the Tigers lineup if he can make the jump to the big leagues smoothly. But until then, it will be more of Candelario and Lugo battling for the job.
The Detroit Tigers’ third base situation is not good, to be blunt, but the future does seem to be bright.