2018 Tigers: Expect Another Long Season for Motor City Kitties

Mark Lathrop

Thursday, March 1, 2018 12:19 PM UTC

Thursday, Mar. 1, 2018 12:19 PM UTC

Our MLB handicapper Mark Lathrop is off to Disneyland for a few days but still had time to look at the Detroit Tigers before leaving. Read up as he looks at the chances of the Tigers' 2018 campaign being a successful one.

We will be breaking down each division team-by-team as we approach the 2018 MLB season to identify futures value and upcoming betting trends. Today, we will take a look at the Detroit Tigers out of the AL Central. The Tigers were one of the stronger 'Under' calls in my sabermetrics model, even with a low 69.5 total set at Bovada. They indeed failed to reach that mark with a 67-win campaign in 2017. The futures markets don’t think that the Tigers have improved much for 2018 and have set a 68-win mark for them this year.

Pitching Staff

The bright spot for the Tigers' pitching staff in 2017 was Michael Fulmer, but that diminished somewhat in the second half of the season. Fulmer put up a 4.63 FIP in the second half after a 3.27 FIP in the first. He’s expected to be the best Tigers starter by far in 2018 with a projected WAR of 2.7. After Fulmer, the Tigers boast a bevy of middling starters who should be fade worthy options in 2018. Especially those with name recognition who have lost their stuff in Jordan Zimmermann and Francisco Liriano. The Tigers enter 2018 with a closer projected to put up an FIP over 4, so yeah, that should end well. Shane Green has 11 career saves and will try to keep the ninth inning clean for the entire season for the first time.

Lineup

The best projected batter for the Tigers is former MVP/Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera, who also happened to fall off of a cliff in 2017 while putting up -0.2 WAR over 130 games. Cabrera has all of the signs of an albatross contract as he is 34 and signed through age 41 for ungodly sums of money. He’s projected for 2.2 WAR in 2018, or about half of his production in any year prior to 2017. Behind Cabrera is catcher James McCann, who is projected to put up nearly as much value as Cabrera at 10% of the cost. McCann is 27 and a great piece whom the Tigers should be building around. The outfield is anchored by Nick Castellanos in right field, who, although plays terrible defense, should put up 20+ HR’ in 2018.

[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "

.@jeimer24C is staying cool at the hot corner. 🍬 #TigersST#CandyMan ➡️ https://t.co/NX0FGqnOPq pic.twitter.com/wP3U0dxTwF

— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) February 28, 2018
\n\n"}[/]

Wild Cards and Betting Trends

Jeimer Candelario is a prospect to watch on the Tigers, as he is removed from a 2016 Triple-A season with the Cubs organization where he put up a 155 wRC+. At age 24 he has the tools to take a step forward if he can find the drive. The Tigers will need it, too, as their starting pitching will have them trying to overcome deficits more often than not. I’m not betting on the Tigers to make that step forward yet, and neither should you.

Current Wins Total: 68Best Line Offered: Bovada
comment here