We head to the motor city for number #13 in our power rankings with the Tigers.
Projected Record: 86-76 3rd in the AL Central
Potential Lineup: 2B Kinsler #3, LF Upton #8, 1B Cabrera #24, DH V Martinez #41, RF JD Martinez #28, 3B Castellanos #9
C Mccann #34, SS Iglesias #1, CF Gose #12
Potential Rotation: 1.Verlander #35, 2.Zimmerman #27, 3.Sanchez #19, 4.Norris #44, 5.Pelfrey #37
Potential Bullpen: CL Rodriguez #TBD, 8th Lowe #TBD, 7th J.Wilson #TBD Mid Relief Wilson #30, Hardy #65, Rondon #43, VerHagen #54
Potential Bench: C Saltalamacchia #TBD, IF Romine #27, OF Maybin #4, IF Aviles #TBD
The Tigers four year AL Central championship streak came to an end in 2015 as the team went from first to worst finishing last in the division. Injuries plagued the team throughout the year as both Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez missed significant amount of time during points in the season. As the offense that is usually a top five offense in the sport finished just league average at 15th in runs scored. Yet now with a healthy Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez, and having JD Martinez coming off a season where he hit 38 long balls, and drove in 102 runs not to mention Detroit added slugger Justin Upton to play left field so the Tigers offense should be back to being among one of the more feared in the league. The Tigers pitching staff fell apart after the departure of Max Scherzer last offseason, and then the eventual trade of David Price after the team’s playoff hopes came to an end by the July Trade deadline. Tigers starting pitchers pitched to the combined fourth worst starting ERA in the majors at .478 in 2015. The Tigers will hope the big name signing of Jordan Zimmermann will help improve the pitching staff and bring a front line starter back to Detroit after the loesses of Scherzer and Price. The Tigers will also look for Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez who when on their game are among the best in the business. The Tigers despite having made it to October four of the past five seasons have always had problems closing out games. This offseason they finally made key moves to bolster the back end of their bullpen. They added three arms to lock down the late innings trading for hard throwing lefty Justin Wilson coming off a great year in the Bronx for the Yankees where he pitched to a 3.10 ERA and struck out 66 batters in 61 innings of work. The Tigers also signed set up man Mark Lowe who had an ERA under 1 splitting the year between Seattle and Toronto. As for the closer’s role they traded for K Rod Francisco Rodriguez one of the game’s most respected and dominant closers. The Tigers really improved their pitching this offseason and in a crowded AL Central the extra edge in the back end of the bullpen should help them but with so many veterans in the everyday lineup and starting rotation the Tigers may have trouble staying healthy in 2016. If the team stays healthy look for them to try to make a jump from worst to first in the AL Central.