Without further ado, here is my opening day Detroit Tigers lineup prediction.
- Akil Baddoo LF
- Robbie Grossman RF
- Javier Baez SS
- Jeimer Candelario 3B
- Miguel Cabrera DH
- Spencer Torkelson 1B
- Jonathan Schoop 2B
- Tucker Barnhart C
- Riley Greene CF
I’d like to see the Detroit Tigers plug Akil Baddoo in at the lead-off spot to begin the regular season. Baddoo has the perfect blend of speed and developing power and has the makings of being a problem for opposing pitchers right out of the gate.
A year ago, the 23-year old and Rule 5 pick of the Tigers burst onto the scene as a rookie slashing .259/.330/.436 while belting 13 home runs and driving in 55. The left-handed-hitting Baddoo also stole 18 bags.
The safe choice to hit lead-off is certainly Grossman, but I would like to see Baddoo begin the year at the top of the lineup in hopes of seeing significant growth between years one and two. If Baddoo finds himself in a sophomore slump, it’s easy to simply slide him to the bottom third in an attempt to preserve his confidence.
In a perfect world, I’d flip Riley Greene and Grossman in the lineup I’ve predicted above, but I feel like that is just adding pressure to Greene right off the hop; I’d like to see him settle in at the big league level first.
The same can be said for Cabrera and Torkelson. I’d prefer to see the Tigers’ top prospect hitting fifth to begin the season, but sliding Cabrera down to the five-hole still gives the Tigers a reliable contact hitter with diminishing power to hopefully drive in a few of those bodies that can get on base in front of him.
Torkelson has shown big-league power but has yet to provide the Tigers with enough contact to be an everyday top half of the lineup hitter. It will come, and hopefully, it comes this season, and he moves up into the clean-up spot where he’ll likely remain for years to come.