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The student news site of Fenton High School

Fenton InPrint Online

The student news site of Fenton High School

Fenton InPrint Online

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From the Bleachers: How the Detroit Tigers rebuilt their team to get where they are now

PHOTO Nick Gregory

Sometimes all you need is a good start to get things going, and that is all the Detroit Tigers needed this year to put themselves ahead of the rest. Even though it was early and didn’t count, the Tigers had a very nice spring training finishing 20-9 with the best record in the Major Baseball League (MLB). They only finished behind the Baltimore Orioles who finished at 23-6 on the season and put up a staggering 170 runs while only giving up 140. With some key questions on how this Detroit Tigers team would score this year, the 5.86 runs per game in Spring Training showed that this team could have some potential. 

There are always going to be MLB teams like the Yankees and Dodgers who will always be good no matter what year it is. And then there will be teams like the Tigers, Orioles and Pirates who have way cheaper payrolls and way less money to spend on their team. This year in 2024 the teams with the highest payrolls are the Mets, Yankees and Dodgers. Those three teams combined have a payroll of $858,769,975. All three teams also have good players and have played at high levels these last few years. The Phillies, Astros, Rangers, Blue Jays, Braves, Cubs and Giants round out the top 10 from this year. Those combined 10 teams have a combined record of 188-157 this year so far, winning about 54.5 percent of the games they have played. 

Meanwhile, the other MLB teams that aren’t as lucky like the Athletics, Pirates, Guardians, Orioles and Tigers have to find other ways to win. But it is not impossible. Back in 2019, the team with the lowest payroll of 65 million (Tampa Bay Rays) finished 96-66 and finished 12 games ahead of the Red Sox who finished 84-78, even though they had a payroll of $225 million. Even though it’s not impossible, the teams that don’t have or spend the money they need end up making crucial decisions for their club. 

The Tiger’s rebuild started a long time ago after they decided to rebuild their contending team. A few years later in 2019, they ended up having a record-breaking bad season as they finished with just 47 wins and 53.5 games back in their division from the Twins. The team with the second-worst record in the MLB (the Baltimore Orioles) also only finished with 54 wins, not many more than a terrible Tigers team. 

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In 2021, the Tigers started to get exciting. After winning 77 games and spreading hope for a franchise that needed it, people finally thought that all that time losing finally paid off. While the Orioles were stuck at 52 wins, the Tigers were a more exciting team than ever and had lots of reasons to be excited. In 2022 though they fell back down to 66 wins making people madder than ever at the organization. Meanwhile, the Orioles were finally doing good with a record of 83-79. 

After a few changes, the Tigers were back in business, finishing 78-84 with exciting prospects Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson on the verge the Tigers were looking like a competitive team. Other low-payroll teams like the Orioles and Pirates were also finally getting excited as the Orioles made the playoffs for the first time in seven years and finished 101-61 and the Pirates had young bats of their own and were 76-86. 

Now in 2024, all three teams look like they are heading in the right direction. The Pirates are 16-19 and playing good baseball early in the season. The Orioles, meanwhile, have put on a show yet again. Their young team and amazing prospects such as Jackson Holliday, Gunnar Henderson and Adley Rutchman make their team almost impossible to stop with a 23-11 record. Things are already looking good for Baltimore. Meanwhile, the Tigers have also put on a show of their own. 

This year many people were very skeptical about this Tigers team. Even though the pitching looked top notch, the hitting seemed like a work in progress. Other people however believed the Tigers could be the next Orioles team and finally take that next step. So far things have looked better than ever. After starting the season 5-0, the Tigers have gotten off to a fast start and are trying to make sure that the fast start they got keeps rolling. The Tigers this year finished above .500 for the first time since 2017 and are finally becoming competitive. With young talent on the brink, the Tigers could be in for a breakout season just like the Orioles were in 2023. 

In 2022 the Orioles started their season 35-43 before getting home late and finishing above .500 for the first time in six years. Last year in 2023, the Tigers also got off to a slow 39-50 start before also heating up late in the year. This Tigers team could be right on track to do things we have never seen before. 

Even though the Tigers find themselves 18-16 with a winning record going into May, they still have problems of their own. Of the 30 teams in the MLB, the Tigers rank 22 with a batting average of .226 and 23 with an on-base percentage of .301. With many hitting problems, the Tigers will need to find a way to break through. But even with the bats struggling to get going, the Tigers still find themselves 18-16 because of the pitching. This year the Tigers have an ERA of 3.17 which is the fourth best in the MLB. They have also only given up 240 hits which is also the fourth-best. Thanks to the stellar pitching from players like Tarik Skubal, Matt Manning, Casey Mize and Reese Olsen, the Tigers could be a dark horse in this year’s MLB season. 

Even though the hitting isn’t there, just quite yet the pitching has shown and that is a key thing to build on for this Tigers team. If the pitching continues to be dominant and the hitting gets just a little better this Tigers team can pass the Orioles, Pirates, Royals, and the rest of the 29 MLB Teams to try and finally win it all just like they did exactly 40 years ago. If the young bats can get going the final puzzle piece will finally be put in place and make this Tigers team even harder to beat than they are now. 

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