Detroit Tigers 2020 Season Preview: Starting Rotation

The starting rotation for the Detroit Tigers is still going to be led by their ace Matthew Boyd and with addition of inning eater Ivan Nova hopefully the Tigers can take some pressure off of the bullpen. Michael Fulmer is healthy again and Detroit is going to implement the opener strategy as he eases back into every fifth day pitching. Daniel Norris is back and also healthy and Tyler Alexander is going to get his chance in the rotation as well. While the rotation may be the week point of the team, if they stay healthy they should be good enough to win more games than last season. Below is a breakdown of all five starters and what to expect from them.

Matthew Boyd

Matthew Boyd is the unquestioned ace of the staff and will be leaned upon to eat some innings and protect a very unproven bullpen. In the past, Boyd has been a high strikeout, high pitch count, type of pitcher and the next evolution will be for him to become more effective. The Tigers decided to keep Boyd at the trade deadline, so that signals that they are willing to build out the rotation around him. Detroit’s best prospects are all high end pitchers so as long as Boyd can hang around a couple of years, reinforcements are coming.


Ivan Nova at this point of his career is just in the rotation to eat innings and preserve some bullpen arms. He is going to have a good outing here and there, but wont be able to lead the rotation. Nova is a stop gap option until the prospects are ready to go. Nova has evolved to a contact pitcher and with that, he knows his role, and that is to go out every fifth day and last six innings.


Tigers fans have been waiting a couple of years now to see exactly what they are going to get out of Daniel Norris and as of now we are still waiting. Norris has dealt with injuries his entire career and this may be his last chance to hang around in the rotation. The Tigers feature more lefties in the rotation than most teams and if Norris doesn’t start to show his worth, his future may be in the bullpen. Casey Mize, Matt Manning, Alex Faedo, and Tarik Skubal are all waiting in the wings to take a spot in the rotation.


SEATTLE, WA – JULY 27: Starter Tyler Alexander #70 of the Detroit Tigers delivers a pitch during the first inning of a game against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park on July 27, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

Tyler Alexander is getting his chance in the rotation and will get the full opportunity to show what he can do. Alexander saw limited action last season and struggled giving up the long ball. He is a contact pitcher and with this shortened season I look to see how he develops and see what his role is going to be long term with the Tigers.


Michael Fulmer is finally healthy after a year and a half and will be used mainly as an opener to start this season. The Tigers are going to be very careful with him, as the prized prospect he once was might not still be in there. This season is important for Fulmer to stay healthy, and build confidence. I don’t think Detroit is going to be super invested in his numbers this season and just want him to go out there and log some innings.

UP NEXT: Detroit Tigers vs Cincinnati Reds game preview at 5:00 PM

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