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Free Press sports author Anthony Fenech breaks down the Tigers’ sixth straight loss, four-1, to A’s, an improvement. Filmed Saturday, Might 18, 2019.
Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Tigers hope to be them someday, a powerful assortment of talent — perhaps the perfect within the major leagues — a mix of homegrown players, celebrity gamers they traded for and position gamers signed in free company.

The Houston Astros got here to Comerica Park last week and played the part of Goliath to the Tigers’ David. But in contrast to the story in the Bible, the Tigers have been those being peppered with stones.

The Tigers and Astros have reversed roles from simply five years ago, when the Astros have been mired in a lengthy rebuilding process — complete with three straight one hundred-plus loss seasons — and the Tigers have been perennial postseason contenders.

Astros’ Carlos Correa and George Springer rejoice the 8-1 win over the Tigers, Monday, at Comerica Park. (Photograph: Kirthmon F. Dozier, Detroit Free Press)

But with each powerful Astros swing through the three-recreation sweep, the distinction within the Tigers’ path to rebuilding was obvious as third baseman Alex Bregman, the No. 2 general decide within the 2015 MLB draft, hit a home run to left subject; shortstop Carlos Correa, the No. 1 decide in 2012, hit a homer to lifeless middle subject; and proper fielder George Springer, the No. eleven decide in 2011, hit an inside-the-park homer.

At the conclusion of the collection — the Tigers have been outscored 24-6 — the group optioned Jeimer Candelario, their third baseman of the now-past and future, to Triple-A Toledo, once again underscoring the most important question of their rebuilding process: Where are the position players, who have powered different rebuilds, coming from for the Tigers?

With Bregman, Correa and Springer, the Astros gained the World Collection in 2017.

With third baseman Kris Bryant and infielder Javier Baez, the Chicago Cubs gained the Collection a yr before that.

And with a quartet of homegrown gamers — Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Salvador Perez — the Kansas City Royals gained it in 2015.

Those championships have been proof that rebuilding around position players can work fairly nicely, and the previous six months have shown a number of other teams — the Milwaukee Brewers, Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies — have graduated from rebuilding status around position players.

The Tigers, meanwhile, have put many of their eggs in the starting-pitching basket, structuring their rebuild around power-pitching prospects like right-handers Casey Mize, Matt Manning and Alex Faedo. 

Operating under a best-player available strategy, they have selected right-handers in each of the past four drafts. And that’s part of why they’re lagging behind on the positional end. 

It wasn’t necessarily by design: The Tigers are steadfast — and wise — in their desires to hoard as much starting pitching as possible, but there was not a comparable player to Mize last season when they held the No. 1 pick.