Detroit Tigers: A new shortstop settling in, but not the expected name

(Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
(Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

The Detroit Tigers have seen Willi Castro settle in at shortstop in 2020, while initially, it was Niko Goodrum was recently expected to maintain that role.

The 2020 Detroit Tigers season has been full of prospect debuts and just new opportunities for some of the organization’s youth. Shortstop Willi Castro has been one of the players who has started to find a home for the Tigers during his 2020 opportunities with the team.

Coming into the 2020 season, it was thought that Niko Goodrum was going to become the everyday shortstop for the organization. However, that is becoming less likely as time goes on, and Goodrum struggles big time.

Frankly, it seemed like Goodrum moving away from a utility role and into an everyday shortstop role for him was going to be a gift-wrapped scenario for him. It turns out that Goodrum’s role in 2020 was going to leave him struggling to get hit for a batting average above .200 for the Tigers.

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On the other hand, Castro has settled in nicely and played exceptionally well for the Tigers. Through 16 games in 2020, Castro is hitting .345/.351/.527 with two home runs and eight RBI. He has five total extra-base hits and has stolen five bags, but struck out 16 times.

Castro’s time with the Tigers in 2020 has been quite productive; one of his most significant issues was his defense.

Particularly his throwing, Castro has been able to settle down, still making two errors at shortstop, though.

He has played almost even amounts of time between third and shortstop, but Castro’s time at short has shown he can hold his own.

Allowing Castro to grow into the shortstop role while the Tigers somehow stay in a postseason race could be a perfect opportunity for him.

Niko Goodrum was supposed to be a vital component of the Detroit Tigers in 2020, but instead, he is struggling and probably belongs back in a utility role.

Goodrum’s struggles at the plate should be a little alarming. Through 31 games in 2020, Goodrum is hitting .186/.264/.381 with five home runs and 17 RBI for the Tigers. All of Goodrum’s appearances in the field in 2020 have been at shortstop, unlike the past.

In prior seasons, Goodrum has played all over the field and been a utility help for the Tigers organization. But given his struggles at the plate, he might be better off being slotted into a utility role, buried near the bottom of the lineup while he shakes the struggles.

It seemed that Goodrum was going to figure things out in 2020 and be a “force” in the Tigers lineup. Keep in mind that a “force” for the Tigers versus a “force” for a team like the Los Angeles Dodgers are vastly different definitions.

Nonetheless, Goodrum seemed like he was going to break out and find success, but the stats and performance of Goodrum say otherwise. It appears that the youth of the organization is going to weasel its way into the shortstop conversation.

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For now, it seems Willi Castro is slated for the best opportunity to grow into the shortstop role with the Detroit Tigers, but time will tell.