Detroit Tigers: Niko Goodrum will make big leaps in 2020 season

(Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Tigers should expect major stride from Niko Goodrum during the 2020 season.

The Detroit Tigers are officially underway with the 2020 Major League Baseball season, which may be more of a 60-game sprint than anything. The Tigers have Niko Goodrum penciled in as the shortstop after his time as a utility player with the organization in the past.

He is an unlikely talent, who has morphed himself into the everyday switch-hitting shortstop for this Tigers team. Detroit Free Press writer Chris McCosky even suggested that Goodrum could settle into the leadoff spot for the Tigers lineup under manager Ron Gardenhire.

It is valid to say that Goodrum’s prior stats do not point to a leadoff type player, as McCosky mentions, but Goodrum has made changes, and the stats may not be all that telling. Now that Goodrum has found a home at shortstop, things have gone much smoother for the 28-year old.

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In 2019, Goodrum would hit .248/.322/.421 with 12 home runs, 45 RBI, while swiping 12 bags for the Tigers.

He is one of the team’s better hitters, and the fact that he has made changes to his swing and approach in the box only makes him more of a threat.

As McCosky mentioned, seeing Goodrum in the leadoff spot might not be that farfetched of an idea after all.

The shortstop has a knack for finding his way on base, throughout Summer Camp, and in exhibitions between Spring Training and Summer Camp, he appears more patient.

The sky is the limit for Goodrum, who has seen a rise in power with the Tigers, which makes it odd for him to be a leadoff hitter.

Giving the generic hitting response, Goodrum has evolved his ability to see his pitch and drive it, but it is truthful. Goodrum will look to improve in the box as 2020 goes on, but it will be his year to grow and prove he should be given that everyday shortstop role.

There is a lot of positives to Goodrum’s situation, given that he should be dominant in the box, whether hitting leadoff or a bit lower. Expect Goodrum to show that he has made strides in the box and in the field for that matter.

The Tigers defense was horrendous in 2019, but Goodrum’s 38-game trial at shortstop produced a .952 fielding percentage, which may be below average, but that is in a condensed time period. Nonetheless, he is looking to show improvements in the field just as much as in the box.

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The Detroit Tigers should expect Niko Goodrum to breakthrough and become their everyday shortstop and possibly even leadoff hitter, but a hitter they can count on at minimum.