Dreaming on the Detroit Tigers’ 2024 Lineup (Help is on the Way)

Aug 10, 2023; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Tigers designated hitter Riley Greene (31) celebrates after he hits a home run in the sixth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 10, 2023; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Tigers designated hitter Riley Greene (31) celebrates after he hits a home run in the sixth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

The disappointment that Detroit Tigers fans have endured over the past decade is hard to fathom, and it might finally be coming to an end.

Tigers fans watched their team get swept by the Giants in the 2012 World Series only to never return – going into a sustained rebuild that they haven’t been able to escape.

But after watching Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson BOTH hit home runs in the 7th to propel the Tigers to an 8-7 win over the Twins on Wednesday, it’s hard not to believe in this team’s future.

Let’s have some fun and envision what next year’s lineup could look like as the Tigers continue to climb toward contention.

Detroit Tigers’ Potential 2024 Lineup

This might not be what the lineup looks like on Opening Day, but we’re thinking of a best-case scenario at SOME POINT next season.

Justin Henry-Malloy (3B)

Let’s start off with a new face right away. Henry-Malloy has been looking like one of the first wins of the Scott Harris Era – acquired from the Braves late in 2022 for Joe Jimenez.

Henry-Malloy, 23, is a 45-grade prospect who is the ninth-ranked player in the Tigers’ farm system. He’s particularly excellent at getting on base, with a .405 OBP across 979 minor league at-bats. Henry-Malloy could be the perfect player to set the table for Detroit.

2. Riley Greene (CF)

Greene has been electric since an early-season slump, leading the Tigers in: batting average (.309), on-base percentage (.368) and WAR (2.1).

It looks like this breakout is for real, too, as Greene is in the top 15% of MLB in: average exit velocity (92 mph), max exit velocity (114.4 mph) and hard-hit percentage (49.1%) – encouraging signs after slugging just .362 in 94 games last season.

3. Kerry Carpenter (DH)

Seeing Carpenter batting third a little over a year ago would have been cause for concern, but it’s safe to say he’s won over Tigers fans by now.

Carpenter has displayed impressive contact (.274 career batting average), power (.838 career OPS with 21 home runs in 107 games) and an avoidance of strikeouts (62 Ks in 259 ABs).

However, Carpenter’s outfield jump is in the bottom 10% in the league, according to StatCast, so let’s get him out of the field.

4. Spencer Torkelson (1B)

FINALLY! Tork has arrived as the power threat he was advertised as after being selected No. 1 overall out of Arizona State in the 2020 MLB Draft.

Tork has hit six home runs in his last seven games – reaching 21 home runs in 118 games after hitting just eight in 110 games last season.

The batting average (.230 this season, .217 career) is still worrisome, but Torkelson has in the top-10% of MLB in both average exit velocity (92.4 mph) and hard-hit percentage (52%) this season. That’ll play just fine even if the average doesn’t improve much.

5. Javier Baez (SS)

It’s hard to imagine that Baez will opt out of his contract with the Tigers and test the open market after his abysmal play the past two seasons, so Detroit will have to extract as much value as possible here.

Baez is still excellent on defense, recording 10 outs above average (top 3% in MLB) at shortstop this season. He should definitely not bat any higher than fifth, but he still has some pop (85th percentile in max exit velocity) that could provide a spark.

6. Colt Keith (2B)

Keith could play either third or second for Detroit, but there is a MASSIVE hole at 2B for the Tigers, so it only makes sense to fill it with a talented bat – at least until Jace Jung can graduate from the minor leagues.

Possibly the most improved of any Tigers prospect, the 55-grade Keith is the second-ranked prospect in Detroit’s system, boasting 60-grade power that’s produced 19 home runs in 93 games this season across Double-A and Triple-A.

7. Free Agent Acquisition/Parker Meadows (RF)

Miguel Cabrera will be retired by this point, which means the Tigers’ front office will have some extra money to spend on a free agent.

A big splash isn’t necessary (money might be needed to re-sign E-Rod), but a plus-WAR player with pop – think Harrison Bader or Hunter Renfroe – could make a huge difference. If not, Parker Meadows should make his debut at some point and has been impressive with 18 home runs and 18 steals through 110 games at Triple-A Toledo this season.

8. Jake Rogers/Dillon Dingler (Catcher)

Rogers isn’t a very exciting hitter, but has proven to be worth the roster spot for his defense and pitch framing alone.

Dingler, who has a .911 OPS in the minors this season, could provide a fun spark off the bench at the least when he’s eventually called up.

9. Matt Vierling (LF)

Vierling alone has made the Gregory Soto trade a success for Detroit, and he could prove to be a very valuable player for next year’s Tigers team. He’s performed better than a nine-hole hitter, but it’s always fun to have a high-OBP guy batting last to turn over the lineup.

His .324 OBP has been fourth-best on the team this season and he’s been a solid defender – with above-average stats in outs above average, outfielder jump and arm strength, along with 94th percentile sprint speed.