Tagged: Detroit Tigers

2010 Detroit Tigers Preview

Normal
0

false
false
false

EN-CA
X-NONE
X-NONE

/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-priority:99;
mso-style-qformat:yes;
mso-style-parent:””;
mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin:0cm;
mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
line-height:115%;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:11.0pt;
font-family:”Calibri”,”sans-serif”;
mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;
mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;
mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-bidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”;
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;
mso-fareast-language:EN-US;}
table.MsoTableGrid
{mso-style-name:”Table Grid”;
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-priority:59;
mso-style-unhide:no;
border:solid black 1.0pt;
mso-border-themecolor:text1;
mso-border-alt:solid black .5pt;
mso-border-themecolor:text1;
mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt;
mso-border-insideh:.5pt solid black;
mso-border-insideh-themecolor:text1;
mso-border-insidev:.5pt solid black;
mso-border-insidev-themecolor:text1;
mso-para-margin:0cm;
mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:11.0pt;
font-family:”Calibri”,”sans-serif”;
mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;
mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;
mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-bidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”;
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;
mso-fareast-language:EN-US;}

tigers.gif2009 Record: 86-77, 2nd AL Central

2009 Prediction: 91-71, 1st AL Central

2010 Prediction: 3rd AL Central

 

Impact Player: Miguel Cabrera

Impact Pitcher: Justin Verlander

Top Prospect Player:
OF Austin Jackson

Top Prospect Pitcher:
RHP Jacob Turner

 

Manager: Jim Leyland, 5th Season
(343-306, .528)

 

Significant
Acquisitions
: OF Austin Jackson,
C Robinzon Diaz, RHP Max Scherzer, RHP Jose Valverde, LHP Phil Coke

Significant Losses:
2B Placido Polanco, OF Curtis Granderson, OF Marcus Thames, 1B/DH Aubrey Huff, RHP Edwin Jackson, RHP Fernando
Rodney
, LHP Jarrod Washburn, RHP
Brandon Lyon, RHP Freddy Dolsi

 

The Tigers were well on their way to proving me right last
season until a Mets-esque collapse ruined everything.  Those pesky, over-achieving Twins were able
to fight their way back from a huge deficit and force a one game playoff for
the division for a second straight year. 
In ’08 the Twins lost to the White Sox, but in ’09 they beat the Tigers
in one of the best games I’ve ever had the privilege to watch.  To make things worse, Tigers ownership,
feeling the pinch of the economic crisis that is much worse in Detroit than
anywhere else (We Windsorites feel your pain) is cutting back on payroll.  This led to the trading of the popular Curtis Granderson to the hated Yankees
and a relatively inactive hot stove season. 
Ownership also realized that you don’t need to spend with the likes of
the Yankees and Red Sox to win in this division.  Can the acquisition of some fine young talent
in return for Granderson and Edwin Jackson
along with the signing of a tested closer bring the Tigers back to the
playoffs?  In the AL Central, anything’s
possible.

 

Pitching

justin verlander.jpg

The Tigers have one of the few truly elite number one
pitchers in the game in Verlander who was just signed to a 5 year extension
which shows that ownership hasn’t turned into the Marlins.  After a less-than-impressive 2008 season that
saw him lose 17 games, Verlander returned to form in ’09 notching a league high
19 wins and a 3.45 ERA.  He also led the
AL in innings pitched (240.0) and strikeouts (269).  He became just the third pitcher this century
to throw that many innings with at least one strikeout per inning.  Randy
Johnson
did it four times and Curt
Schilling
did it twice.  The Tigers
do have some depth after Verlander with rising stars Rick Porcello and Max
Scherzer
who was acquired from the Diamondbacks in that massive 3-team
trade.  Porcello was third in Rookie of
the Year voting after posting a 14-9 record and a 3.96 ERA while Scherzer was
only 9-11 in Arizona but had 174 strikeouts in only 170.1 innings pitched and
rivals Verlander in terms of pure stuff. 
The final two spots are up for grabs between overpaid, oft-injured vets Dontrelle Willis and Jeremy Bonderman although they are only
28 and 27 respectively.  Disgruntled
lefty Nate Robertson, Tommy John
recoveree Armando Galarraga and
long-relief specialist Zach Miner are
also in the mix.

 

After the departure of Fernando
Rodney
, the Tigers were in the market for a closer and were able to sign an
elite one in Jose Valverde.  Valverde led the NL in both ’07 and ’08 in
saves and posted 25 last year for an awful Houston team.  Baseball’s hardest thrower Joel Zumaya is back in setup and the
Tigers are hoping this is the year he develops a complimentary pitch that
hitters can’t sit on.  Lefthanders Bobby Seay and Fu-Te Ni are back and expected to be in the bullpen along with
fellow southpaw Phil Coke who may
end up starting with the wealth of lefties already in the ‘pen.  Ni was the most impressive of that group in
’09 with a 2.61 ERA in 31.0 innings.  Ryan Perry is in the mix as well, but
the Tigers will eventually want him starting, just not this year.  The long-relief job will go to one of the
pitchers not in the rotation.

 

ROTATION

Age

B/T

Justin Verlander

27

R/R

Rick Porcello

21

R/R

Max Scherzer*

25/6

R/R

Jeremy Bonderman

27

R/R

Phil Coke*

27/8

L/L

 

 

 

BULLPEN

 

 

Jose Valverde*

30/1

R/R

Joel Zumaya

25

R/R

Bobby Seay

31/2

L/L

Fu-Te Ni

27

L/L

Ryan Perry

23

R/R

Zach Miner

28

R/R

Armando Galarraga

28

R/R

 

 

 

POSSIBILITIES

 

 

Nate Robertson

32/3

R/L

Eddie Bonine

28/9

R/R

Dontrelle Willis

28

L/L

Daniel Schlereth*

23/4

L/L

Casey Fien

26

R/R

Alfredo Figaro

25/6

R/R

Brad Thomas*

32

L/L

Enrique Gonzalez*

27/8

R/R

Phil Dumatrait*

28/9

R/L

Ruddy Lugo

29/0

R/R

*=newly acquired

 

Lineup

miguel-cabrera.jpg

With the trading of the popular Granderson to New York,
there’s a big hole in centerfield and at the top of the lineup.  The Tigers are hoping that one of the pieces
they received in return for that deal can fill the void in both spots.  Austin
Jackson
was acquired from the Yankees where he was considered their top
prospect and centerfielder of the future. 
He’ll play center for the Tigers. 
Last year in AAA he hit .300 with 4 HR and 65 RBI as well as 24 stolen
bases.  It is believed that he’ll
eventually hit for similar power as Granderson and in many ways is considered
very similar to the ex-Tiger.  Magglio Ordonez is back in rightfield
but may find himself DHing more often this year.  He’s still a .300 hitter but his power is
down a lot; he hit only 9 HR last season. 
Leftfield will be played by Ryan
Raburn
or, when he’s not DHing, Carlos
Guillen
.  Guillen is serviceable but
not at all what he used to be.  If the
Tigers can move him at some point during the year, they may do so.  Raburn can play almost anywhere and had a
breakout year in ’09 hitting .291 with 16 HR and a .892 OPS.

 

The infield is anchored by Miguel Cabrera at first who admitted to struggling with alcohol in
the offseason.  With all of his troubles,
Cabrera still hit .324 with 34 HR and 103 RBI in ’09.  Imagine what he could do with less off-field
trouble.  Pujolsian numbers are within
his reach and people forget that he’s still only 27.  He was almost traded in the offseason but the
Tigers appear content to keep him if he bounces back after rehab.  Placido
Polanco
signed with the Phillies in the offseason so his steady bat and
terrific glove are gone.  The Tigers are
taking a massive leap of faith by handing the job to rookie Scott Sizemore (no relation to
Grady).  Sizemore was terrific between AA
and AAA last year, but is still very much unproven.  If he struggles, Ramon Santiago could step in. 
Defensive wizard Adam Everett
is back to play short but won’t provide much of anything with the bat.  If Sizemore works out at second, Santiago is
more than capable of spelling Everett when more offense is needed.  Third base will be manned by franchise
stalwart Brandon Inge who has become
an elite defensive third-bagger.  He was
an All-Star last season and cranked 27 homeruns.  His .230 average and .314 OBP have to be
better, however.  The catching job
belongs to Gerald Laird for now, but
he’s ultimately better suited as a backup. 
Prospect Alex Avila may get a
look before the end of the season, but will likely start in AAA.  He is the future of catching for the Tigers.

 

On the bench, the Tigers are thin outside of infielder
Santiago.  Clete Thomas will likely be the fourth outfielder and journeyman
minor-league utility-man Don Kelly
could also get a spot.  Robinzon Diaz, who was acquired from
the Pirates, will likely start the year as the backup catcher.

 

Pos.

 

Age

B/T

CF

Austin Jackson*

23

R/R

RF

Magglio Ordonez (DH)

36

R/R

1B

Miguel Cabrera

27

R/R

DH

Carlos Guillen (1B, LF)

34

S/R

LF

Ryan Raburn (RF, CF, 1B, 3B)

29

R/R

3B

Brandon Inge

32/3

R/R

2B

Scott Sizemore

25

R/R

C

Gerald Laird

30

R/R

SS

Adam Everett

33

R/R

 

 

 

 

 

BENCH

 

 

INF

Ramon Santiago (SS, 2B, 3B)

30/1

S/R

OF

Clete Thomas (CF, LF, RF)

26

L/R

C

Robinzon Diaz*

26

R/R

UTIL

Don Kelly (CF, RF, 3B, 1B)

30

L/R

 

 

 

 

 

POSSIBILITIES

 

 

INF

Jeff Larish (1B, 3B)

27

L/R

INF

Brent Dlugach (SS, 2B)

27

R/R

OF

Wilken Ramirez (LF, RF)

24

R/R

C

Alex Avila

23

L/R

C

Mike Rabelo*

30

S/R

 

I find it hard to believe that both Porcello and Scherzer will be capable of being 2
and 3 starters on a contending team; not this year, at least.  And a team with an aging Carlos Guillen as the
cleanup hitter has more troubles on offense than it would appear.  If Cabrera deals well with his off-field
troubles and Verlander and Porcello carry the load of the staff, the Tigers
might compete for the AL Central…might.  However, the White Sox have a much deeper
pitching staff and the Twins have Mauer and Morneau.

Final Prediction:
79-83, 3rd AL Central

Advertisements

3 Days

That’s right…only 3 more days until the Jays open their season against the Detroit Tigers in Rogers Center.  Living in Windsor, there are obviously a lot of Tigers fans here and the smack talk has started

Tom Lucier, owner of Phog Lounge (recently voted the best live music venue in Canada by CBC Radio 3), is a massive Tigers fan so he has be delineating my inadequacy as a human being for liking the Jays, as has one of my professors. 

I however, won’t sink that low.  Just because Tigers fans’ mothers wear army boots (oh, that’s right I went 1986 on their *****), doesn’t mean they’re inadequate as human beings…well not completely anyway.

So aaanyway…I guess I’ll have to wait until next year to join the bloggers fantasy pool…which is fine, I figured someone had to have started something already. 

And finally…I will be live-blogging during the Jays/Tigers game on Monday.

P.S.  How dumb of Major League Baseball was it to schedule Opening Night in Toronto at the SAME TIME as the National Championship in NCAA Basketball?  I’m the biggest baseball fan I know and I’ll still be switching back and forth on Monday to make sure I don’t miss much of the championship game…especially if MSU is in it.

’09 Preview — Detroit Tigers

tigers logo.gif2008 Record: 74-88 5th AL Central
2009 Prediction: 1st AL Central

Impact Player: Miguel Cabrera
Impact Pitcher: Justin Verlander
Top Prospect: Rick Porcello, RHP

Significant Acquisitions: P Edwin Jackson, P Brandon Lyon, SS Adam Everett, C Gerald Laird, C Matt Treanor
Significant Losses: SS Edgar Renteria, OF/DH Matt Joyce, P Kenny Rogers, P Todd Jones, P Aquilino Lopez, P Casey Fossum, P Kyle Farnsworth, P Freddy Garcia

Although I grew up in the Toronto-area, I have now lived in Windsor, ON for about 6 years.  Windsor, as you geographically-inclined folks will know, is directly across a small river from Detroit.  In my six years here, I have witnessed an incredible bandwagon shift of Tigers fans.  Before the ’06 campaign (the year the Tigers won the pennant) no one in Windsor (and not many in Detroit) cared about the Tigers.  During the ’06 campaign and for the entire ’07 season you could not escape the hats, jerseys, or annoying car-window flags displaying the caligraphy ‘D’.  Now, we’re back.  After a terrible ’08 season that saw the Tigers finish LAST in the AL Central, behind even the lowly Royals, no one in Windsor gives a proverbial piece of feces about Le Tigres.  But I’m preparing myself for that bandwagon to be riding the axle again in ’09.  It looks like the Tigers will challenge for the wide-open Central.

Pitching
The biggest problem for the Tigers since they went to the World Series in ’06 has been the inconsistencies of their pitching staff.  ’08 was a disaster on all fronts.  The Tigers were near the bottom of the AL in many categories: 12th in ERA, 11th in Saves, 11th in Home Runs Allowed, and 13th in Walk Allowed.  Injuries to key members was the biggest problem, but if everyone remains relatively healthy, the Tigers staff should rebound in ’09.  At the top is Justin Verlander who lost more games than anybody in the AL last year (17), but has 20-game winner stuff when he repeats his delivery well.  He has the ability to win a Cy Young Award any year.  Behind him, the Tigers will need a healthy and effective Jeremy Bonderman.  Bonderman has had flashes of brilliance throughout his career but consistency has eluded him.  This is the year that he needs to put it all together.  Armando Galarraga was the lone bright spot of Detroit’s rotation last year.  Seemingly out of nowhere, the 27-year-old Galarraga won 13 games and posted a 3.73 ERA.  He’s back as the #3 option.  Edwin Jackson was acquired from the Rays in the trade for Matt Joyce and will be the #4 starter; he won 14 games for the AL Champs in ’08.   The fifth spot will go to one of three underachievers: Lefties Dontrelle Willis and Nate Robertson and righty Zach Miner.  Willis has the inside track in raw talent but was a disaster in his first tour of duty with the Tigers last year.  The losers of that battle could end up in the bullpen.

In the bullpen, the Tigers lost closer Todd Jones to retirement.  Replacing him will be either off-season signing Brandon Lyon, who had 26 saves with the Diamondbacks in ’08 but also posted an erratic 4.70 ERA, or Fernando Rodney who also struggled last year with an ERA of 4.91.  The sleeper pick for closer could be Joel Zumaya.  If Zumaya stays healthy and continues to develop a second pitch to compliment is mammoth 101mph fastball, he could be dominant in the closer’s role.  Lefty Bobby Seay and righty Freddy Dolsi appear to be the only other locks in the bullpen.  Minor-league contract recipient Juan Rincon could also land a spot.

Rotation (Handedness/Age on June 30, 2009)

  • Justin Verlander (R/26)
  • Jeremy Bonderman (R/26)
  • Armando Galarraga (R/27)
  • Edwin Jackson (R/25)
  • Dontrelle Willis (L/27)

Bullpen

  • Brandon Lyon (R/29) — CLOSER
  • Fernando Rodney (R/32)
  • Joel Zumaya (R/24)
  • Bobby Seay (L/31)
  • Freddy Dolsi (R/26)
  • Nate Robertson (L/31)
  • Juan Rincon (R/30)

Lineup
The Tigers will have no problem scoring runs this year.  They ranked in the top 5 in the American League in every offensive, hitting-based category in ’08 except doubles and they return much of that same lineup this year.  In the outfield, Curtis Granderson is back in Center and should continue to be the spark plug of this offense.  Only Grady Sizemore has had more power out of the leadoff spot over the last two years than Granderson; he has real 30/30 potential.  Magglio Ordonez and his consistent, albeit aging, bat returns in Right.  In Left, the Tigers could experiment with Carlos Guillen who can’t seem to find a consistent position bouncing between Short, First, Third and the Outfield, but they will likely go with Marcus Thames most of the time.  Guillen will probably be the primary option at third for Detroit; Brandon Inge can play there on the days Guillen plays elsewhere.  Placido Polanco is back at second and is still one of the most consistent two-baggers in the AL.  At first will be Miguel Cabrera who is adjusting quickly to his new position and puts up MVP-type numbers every year.  ’08 Shortstop Edgar Renteria bolted to San Francisco leaving the job to free agent signing Adam Everett who comes over from division-rival Minnesota.  Catching will be the job of Gerald Laird who signed on from Texas and the DH job will be given to Gary Sheffield who has struggled in the past couple years.  His first home run of the season will be the 500th of his career.

The bench will consist of utility-man Inge, backup catcher Matt Treanor, infielder Ramon Santiago, First Baseman Jeff Larish and outfielder Clete Thomas.  Other options that could emerge during the year are proverbial Swiss-Army knife Ryan Raburn and outfielder Brent Clevlen.

Lineup
  CF  Curtis Granderson (L/28)
  2B  Placido Polanco (R/33)
  1B  Miguel Cabrera (R/26)
  RF  Magglio Ordonez (R/35)
  LF  Marcus Thames (R/32)
  3B  Carlos Guillen (S/33)
  DH  Gary Sheffield (R/40)
  C    Gerald Laird (R/29)
  SS  Adam Everett (R/32)

Bench
UTIL  Brandon Inge (R/32)
  C    Matt Treanor (R/33)
 INF  Ramon Santiago (S/29)
  1B  Jeff Larish (L/26)
  OF  Clete Thomas (L/25)

Outlook
The Tigers slide to last place should be a very temporary one.  I believe this team has all the pieces to contend in the competitive AL Central and I think their pitching staff is one that will perform well in October, should they get there.  With more consistency from the pitchers and another season with one of the best offenses in the AL, the Tigers could finish first.  Final Prediction: 91-71, 1st AL Central (Lose to Boston in the ALDS).