The Tigers were once one of the best teams in the majors, but have recently hit a snag the last couple of seasons. Basically, the Tigers are expected to go .500. Check our opinion on this MLB pick.
Best Player in Baseball For the Last Decade
This is the label that has been given to Miguel Cabrera and when it comes to ball to eye contact, there is nobody better. Two factors have affected Cabrera the last couple of seasons is his lack of power and injuries.
These two factors could actually be combined as Miggy registered less than 500 at-bats last season and although he finished the season with a .338 batting average, he only had 18 HR and 76 RBI. Mind you, this is still one of the most feared hitters in baseball and he also has a tremendous eye in earning the free passes. Cabrera's on-base percentage was .440.
This is a career .321 hitter with 408 home runs at the age of 32. In order for Detroit to have some major success, Cabrera will need to start going yard again as opposing pitchers aren't fearing him like they once did. Another offensive factor that is vital to this team is Cabrera need's support and protection in order to be part of the MLB picks for the upcoming season.
This is a player that has certainly moved up the food chain in this batting order. With Victor Martinez losing his power in 2015 for some inexplicable reason, J.D. has been the man to carry the lineup where power is concerned. In my opinion, he might be more important than Miggy if Cabrera doesn't start to display power again.
Last season, Martinez was a beast in the American League, slugging 38 HR and 102 RBI with a .282 BA. I definitely don't expect any dropoff from the Miami native as he's entering the prime of his career. Martinez could be a major factor where the Tigers win total is concerned.
Yet again, Upton, was thought of as a top talent, has moved to Detroit and quite frankly, Commerica Park is a hitters park, Upton is a right-handed hitter, and we may see him eclipse 30 home run mark and then some.
Upton had somewhat of a rough time in San Diego. He started off the season fairly well as the Padres leader, but his batting average tailed off to a mere .251 at the end of the season.
This batting average certainly isn't indicative of how good Upton can be. That said, I'm a bit shocked as Petco Park is known for being a pitcher's park, but that's where Upton did most of his damage. Last season, he hit just .225 on the road with 11 HR and 39 RBI. Change of venue and a better lineup should aide in the re-emergence of Justin Upton.
Justin Verlander (5-8, 3.38 ERA) needs to return to the player that made him one of the most feared pitchers in baseball. He somewhat reminds me of Tim Lincecum with his rise to power and then fall from fame.
However, I think JV is better than this and this is a Tigers pitching staff that is much improved with Jordan Zimmerman as the #2 man in the rotation. It's a very consistent staff with very few weaknesses.
Expect Verlander, who has a career 157-97 record and Jordan Zimmerman (13-10, 3.66 ERA) to provide this team with a second wind. They know that they will get the run support. The pitchers just need to do their part and avoid big innings and attempt to keep the baseball in the ball park on the defensive end. If they do so, the numbers will change in the MLB odds boards.
While I don't think that this team is completely back, they have a strong pitching staff and the trio of Cabrera, J.D. Martinez, and Justin Upton should provide plenty of production. I would also look at the Tigers as a future bet to win the World Series as their odds should be long. That said, over 81.5 wins should be a given.