Saturday, March 10, 2018

Detroit Tigers 2018 season preview



          In a tanking season, the Detroit Tigers successfully landed the first overall draft pick, by finishing worst in the league with a 64-98 record. That included J.D. Martinez being traded, plus Justin Verlander, Justin Upton, Alex Avila and Justin Wilson. With more rebuilding to go, let's take a look at the Tigers' most recent offseason.

           Notable additions: OF Leonys Martin, LHP Fransisco Liriano, RHP Mike Fiers, INF Alexi Amarista, SS Pete Kozma, C Derek Norris, C Jarrod Saltalamacchia, RHP Johnny Barbato.

            Notable subtractions: 2B Ian Kinsler, RHP Anibal Sanchez, U Andrew Romine, RHP Bruce Rondon, OF Alex Presley, OF Tyler Collins.

             What they did well: It was a very quiet offseason for the Tigers. And by quiet, I mean not too good. Amarista is a very underrated signing, so there's that. They were at least able to trade Kinsler.

             What they did bad: They could have gotten more for Kinsler, but that's about it.

              Sneaky sleeper: Though he didn't play too much in 2017, Mikie Mahtook was good in his 348 ABs, hitting 12 homers and a solid .276 batting average. If Mahtook can get the starting left field or center field spot, he can finally get enough time.

                Unsuspected slump: Irregular heartbeats and the second lowest batting average of his 16 year career showed that at age 39, Victor Martinez is just a shade of his old self. He hit just 10 bombs, his lowest since 2008, when he wasn't that much of a power hitter. He can't run, he can't play the field, if his hitting game stops, that it might be all said and done for Martinez's career.

                 Incoming outbreak: The main return of the Avila/Wilson trade, Jeimer Candelario was solid in his short time o Detroit last season, going 31 for 94, for a .330 batting average. With a secured starting third base position, expect more from Candelario in 2018.

                 Blue-chip Bopper: Despite his worst season of his career, Miguel Cabrera is still the best player on this team. They might decide to trade him, and I'm surprised he wasn't dealt. He hit just .249 and slugged a low 16 homers in 469 At Bats. But, on a lowly team, he's the best player.

                 Astounding ace: Despite not having as good a season as his rookie year, 24 year old Michael Fulmer escaped trade rumors in the offseason. His 3.83 ERA was still pretty good, and even though he has a low strikeout rate, he still limited opponents to a .243 batting average as a starter. Still very effective.

                Here is the Tigers' projected roster, starting with their lineup.

 SS Jose Iglesias (R)
 RF Nick Castellanos (R)
 1B Miguel Cabrera (R)
 DH Victor Martinez (S)
 C James McCann (R)
 3B Jeimer Candelario (S)
 LF Mikie Mahtook (R)
 CF Leonys Martin (L)
 2B Alexi Amarista (L)


          Here's their rotation.

 RHP Michael Fulmer
 RHP Jordan Zimmerman
 LHP Matt Boyd
 LHP Daniel Norris
 LHP Fransisco Liriano

   Shane Greene (R) is their closer, with Alex Wilson (R), Daniel Stumpf (L), Mike Fiers (R), Buck Farmer (R), Joe Jimenez (R) and Blaine Hardy (L) in the bullpen.

   C John Hicks (R), INF Dixon Machado (R) and OF JaCoby Jones are on the bench.

   Finally, for my prediction, I think the Tigers, a rebuilding team, will not make the playoffs in 2018.

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