Monday, March 13, 2017

Detroit Tigers 2017 season preview

     With a record of 86-75, the Detroit Tigers finished second in the AL Central, 8 GB of the first place Cleveland Indians. They finished 4 GB of the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles, missing the playoffs. They also suffered a big loss in the offseason, with 87 year old owner Mike Ilitch passing away. But at least SP Michael Fulmer won the AL ROY. GM Al Avila had some work to do in the offseason. Let's look at what Avila did.

      Key additions: C Alex Avila, OFs Mikie Mahtook, David Lough, 2Bs Omar Infante, Brendan Ryan, RP Edward Mujica.
      Key subtractions: OF Cameron Maybin, C Jarrod Saltalamacchia, SSs Erick Aybar, Mike Aviles.

      Biggest move: The Tigers had one of the most uneventful offseasons. The biggest name they acquired was Alex Avila, GM Al Avila's son, who previously left the Tigers. He'll fight with James McCann for the starting catcher job, but that will most likely be a platoon, with Avila in against righties and McCann in against lefties.
       X-factor: It's still up in the air on who will be the Tigers starting CF. JaCoby Jones, Mikie Mahtook and Tyler Collins are all fighting for the job. The winner, who I think will be the newcomer in Mahtook, will play a big role. Comerica Park's center field is humongous, and it will take a good fielder to start for the Tigers. Mahtook can save games in CF.
        Biggest bounce back: After signing a 5 year, $110 million deal with the Tigers, SP Jordan Zimmerman had an ERA of 4.87 (his first 4.00+ ERA season since 2010) in just 105.1 IP (his first non 195+ IP since his breakout year in 2011). Stats prove that Zimmerman needs to turn around in 2017. Those numbers are definitely not $110 million numbers.
        Biggest breakout: Though he had over 100 less ABs in 2016 than 2015 and 2014, 3B Nick Castellanos had his best season yet, hitting career highs in average (.285) and homers (18). I have a feeling Castellanos still hasn't shown his best yet. If he can have at least 500 ABs, with a .275+ average and 20+ HRs for the first time, we'll have proof Castellanos is a solid player.
         Guaranteed star: If you don't know this name, you're not a baseball fan. Miguel "Miggy" Cabrera has hit 30+ HRs 10 times. He has 100+ RBIs 12 times. He's also won 2 MVP trophies. Winning 7 Silver Slugger trophies isn't bad either. Oh, he's been named to 11 All-star games, 7 consecutives. He's a no doubt hall of famer.
          The Tigers lineup should look like this:

1. 2B: Ian Kinsler
2. RF: J.D. Martinez
3. 1B: Miguel Cabrera
4. DH: Victor Martinez
5. LF: Justin Upton
6. 3B: Nick Castellanos
7. C: Alex Avila (platoon with James McCann)
8. SS: Jose Iglesias
9. CF: Mikie Mahtook
                Their rotation will probably be this.

1. Justin Verlander
2. Michael Fulmer
3. Jordan Zimmerman
4. Daniel Norris
5. Mike Pelfrey

                   C James McCann (platoon with Alex Avila), 3B Andrew Romine and CF Tyler Collins will be on the bench.
                   Francisco Rodriguez will be their closer, with Justin Wilson and Bruce Rondon setting him up.

                  For my prediction, I think the Detroit Tigers will fight with the Kansas City Royals for 2nd in the AL Central. They'll also be in the wild card chase, but lose by a slight amount.       

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