Wednesday, March 23, 2011

MLB 30 in 30: Detroit Tigers

The Tigers haven't made the playoffs since thier World Series appearance in 2006. They have been up and down since then., and now that they have made plenty of moves this offseason, they should be right back in the AL Central conversation.

What they Have: They have offense in spades. It starts with the re-signing of RF Magglio Ordonez, who batted .303 last season. They also re-upped with 3B Brandon Inge and SS Jhonny Peralta, to give themselves a steady left side of the infield. 1B Miguel Cabrera is coming off a career year in which he finished second to Josh Hamilton in AL MVP voting. Despite his offseason issues, he'll still be the impressive offensive force he was last year. The major offseason move was signing C Victor Martinez. He's not known for his defense, but that's not why the Tigers went after him. Martinez may be one of the best hitting catchers in baseball, and he and Cabrera will form a nice 1-2 punch in the middle of the order. The rest of the outfield is young, with CF Austin Jackson and LF Brennan Boesch bursting onto the scene. Pitching wise, the Tigers have a good rotation which underperformed last year. Justin Verlander is a Cy Young candidate every season, and Max Scherzer can come into his own this season. Rick Porcello is a flamethrower, and Armando Galarraga and Phil Coke aren't terrible either. The bullpen got a boost when the Tigers acquired reliever Joaquin Benoit from Tampa Bay. He'll help stabilize a bullpen that had some issues closing out games last season.

What they Don't Have: Their offense is pretty much centered on how Miguel Cabrera performs, and that isn't a very good thing. Adding Victor Martinez offers some protection for Cabrera, it may not be totally enough for Detroit. The rotation behind Verlander has some question marks, and with the youth and the up and down nature of the rotation last year, the Tigers may need another arm in the rotation. The bullpen needs to stay healthy in order to preserve the rotation, and if that happens, the bullpen may become one of the best in baseball very quickly

Any Help Coming? RHP Jacob Turner has drawn Rick Porcello comparisons, and has the flamethrowing ability to boot. He's a ways away from the big club, but could start in AA as a 19 year old. LHP Andy Oliver is a good prospect, but there are some questions about his stuff, and they need to be addressed in order for him to claim a spot in the rotation if necessary. 3B Nick Castellanos has some amazing power potential, and has a good frame for it at 6-4.

Outlook: They will challenge the White Sox and Twins for the division crown this season. They have a good lineup, decent rotation, and a bullpen with promise. There are subtle holes that need to be filled, but if all goes well, this team could be playing deep into October.

1 comment:

  1. Nice job. As a lifelong Tiger fan, I have seen some good times, and a lot of bad times.

    I hate the ChiSox and the twins, and that makes the Tigers misery that much worse.

    Thanks for a good write up on my Tigers.