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Inbox: Who will bat leadoff for Tigers?

Beat reporter Jason Beck fields fans' questions
MLB.com @beckjason

One more inbox for 2017 as we await the frozen tundra of Michigan in January. …

Are Burrows, Manning, Perez or Faedo considered top-of-the-rotation pitchers? Are any of them potential number ones?
-- @KenWieczorek

One more inbox for 2017 as we await the frozen tundra of Michigan in January. …

Are Burrows, Manning, Perez or Faedo considered top-of-the-rotation pitchers? Are any of them potential number ones?
-- @KenWieczorek

No. 1 starter projections have always been relative to me. There are aces out there who don't necessarily have No. 1 starter stuff, but pitch like top starters based their competitiveness and ability to read hitters. Other pitchers have top-starter stuff but not top-starter mentality. Justin Verlander and Chris Sale have both, but not many do. That said, MLB Pipeline.com's scouting reports on Matt Manning and Beau Burrows both include front-line starter ceilings. Franklin Perez is ranked higher than both of them on the top 100 prospects list, but is listed with No. 3 starter potential.

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In the end, it comes down to this: Who do you trust to pitch against anybody else's top starter in a must-win game?

Will the Tigers sign one more inning-eater-type pitcher before Opening Day?
-- @_RyanKraus 

They'd like one more workhorse-type starter, but that might depend on how the market plays out. It might end up being a waiting game to see who's still out there looking for a spot as Spring Training nears.

Video: CWS@DET: Candelario's three-run shot to center

I keep hearing "wiry" to describe these returns. Does Candelario, or any of them have power upside? Looks like a handful of role guys. I'm getting even more nervous.
-- @Migilini

Not sure I'd call Jeimer Candelario wiry at 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, but his top home-run total coming up through the Minor Leagues was 15 this past season. His track projects to more of a line-drive-doubles approach. Dawel Lugo has a power grade of 40 on the 20-80 scouting scale, according to MLBPipeline.com, but the ball seemed to jump off his bat in his short time at Double-A Erie, where he hit six home runs in 175 at-bats. Isaac Paredes has a 45 power grade and 15-homer projection, but had a torrid stretch upon arrival at Class A West Michigan. Both have thicker body frames than you'd expect for middle-infield prospects, especially for a teenager, in Paredes' case.

Video: Jim Callis discusses Dawel Lugo on MLB Tonight

I think if you're looking for power potential, you're more likely to find it in hitters the Tigers drafted. Christin Stewart has a 55 power grade and 58 homers over the past two seasons, while the Tigers had Reynaldo Rivera as a second-round Draft pick in June based on his 6-foot-6 frame and power projection.

Who will be the lead off hitter?
-- @Blastellanos_

For all the trouble that the Justin Upton and J.D. Martinez trades created in the middle of the Tigers' order, Detroit could have a tougher challenge filling the leadoff spot that Ian Kinsler manned for the past couple years. Leonys Martin has leadoff experience and speed, but just a .308 on-base percentage and .652 OPS batting atop a lineup. Jose Iglesias batted leadoff in a handful of games over the past couple years, but former manager Brad Ausmus clearly preferred him batting near the bottom of the order. Mikie Mahtook might have close to a leadoff skill set, but very little experience there.

Video: OAK@DET: Iglesias plates McCann with a double

Who do you see as internal utility infielder candidates besides the newly signed Ronny Rodriguez? Are there any FAs available that could still be targets for the Tigers for that role?
-- @acanceroncancer

Rodriguez joins former Twins utility infielder Niko Goodrum, who signed a Minor League deal with the Tigers in November. Goodrum will be in big league camp as a non-roster invite. The free-agent market has no shortage of utility types, so I would expect the Tigers to add some more candidates on camp invites after the holidays. Among those still unsigned as of last week were Arismendy Alcantara, Erick Aybar, Darwin Barney, Andres Blanco, Dusty Coleman, Chase d'Arnaud, Nick Franklin, Cliff Pennington, Jhonny Peralta and Adam Rosales.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.

 

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