MLB prediction: 5 longshots who could contend in 2024

The Reds, Royals, Tigers, Nationals and Marlins all could make major gains next season.

Kansas City Royals shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. (7).
Kansas City Royals shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. (7). / Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
3 of 5

3. Detroit Tigers. The Tigers won just 66 games two seasons ago, and just 78 in 2023.They haven’t had a winning season since 2016. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that the Tigers have used the high draft picks acquired as a result of all those bad finishes wisely. Spencer Torkelson, the team’s No.1 pick from 2020, hasn’t made his mark yet, but the potential clearly exists. Riley Greene, the top pick of 2019, established himself as a solid every-day outfielder in 2023.

The Tigers are also out from under the albatross of a $30 million long-term contract that had bound them to Miguel Cabrera’s declining production, freeing up those funds to be used elsewhere.

What isn’t clear is whether second-year GM Scott Harris is the guy to lead the rebuild. That makes this winter a huge test for Harris.

But the Tigers improved by 12 games from 2022 to 2023, climbing all the way to a runner-up position in the readily available AL Central. That still left them nine games behind the division champion Twins, but nobody thinks the Twins are inviolate next year.

That means that depending on what transpires this winter, the Tigers could be a team to watch out for.