At +2000 betting odds to win the World Series, the Detroit Tigers are somewhat in the middle of the pack, but with a legendary superstar such as Miguel Cabrera, one can't count them out. Let's put that aside as we take an in-depth look at the Tigers starting rotation.
Justin Verlander, who is the ace, was once thought of as the best pitcher in baseball. After a few sub-par seasons, JV has lost his luster. Can he get his confidence back? For the Detroit Tigers to win, it's essential.
I pretty much said it all. Justin Verlander pulled a Tim Lincecum and has went from the penthouse to the outhouse, Nonetheless, his version of the outhouse is still at an ace level where this pitching staff is concerned.
Verlander can pitch a ton of innings, but his problem is consistency. One game he can pitch a shutout and the next game, he can allow 7 runs in 2 innings. Verlander must be the Verlander of old for the Tigers to have success and I'm not ready to write him off.
He still provided the Tigers with a 3.38 ERA last season and held opposing batters to a .228 batting average. Those are certainly good numbers, but JV managed to go just 5-8 in 20 starts. The lack of run support was a killer and 5 wins in 20 starts is not ace-material under any circumstance.
This is a pitcher that's 157-97 for his career, therefore he knows how to win. At 33 years of age, he still has time and I look for Verlander to have a big season. He knows that the Tigers will rely heavily on him and my gut is telling me that he's due for a big win total.
Getting Jordan Zimmerman (13-10, 3.66) from the Washington Nationals was a superb acquisition as Anibal Sanchez is right behind him and can easily be the number 2 guy on this staff. For now, Zimmerman is the 2 pitcher and he will be out to prove something. This is a pitcher with a career 3.32 ERA, therefore we know that he's done it over the long haul.
Last season, Zimmerman pitched over 200 pitches and gave up too many hits. I'm not really concerned about that as much as I'm concerned about him switching leagues as the American League is more of a hitters league than the National League. Look for Zimmerman to play well as he wants to make a good impression on a team that might be a little bit underrated where their betting odds are concerned. They definitely have post-season potential and Zimmerman would be a key factor in that scenario.
The Tigers could not have a better #3 pitcher than Sanchez and their top 3 is extremely solid. I like to think of Sanchez as “Mr. Steady” as he'll never be Cy Young but he's a very consistent pitcher that will give everything that he has when it's his turn to pitch.
After all of the praise that I gave Sanchez, he was just 10-10 with a 4.99 ERA last season. We have to remember the underachieving team that he was on and this is a pitcher with a career ERA well below 4.00. Sanchez isn't a huge strikeout guy, but he will keep the Tigers in the game and with the offense that they have, that's all that they need from him. I expect a bounce back year from him.
This is where it get's a bit complicated as Mike Pelfrey is slated as the #4 pitcher and inexperienced Daniel Norris (3-2, 3.75) is the number 5 guy.
Folks, I remember when Pelfrey was a Mets prospect and supposed to be a superstar. I have very little faith in him. Whatever positive that they get out of him is gravy and if he implodes, Brad Ausmus will yank him.
As for Norris, he's only 22 years old and held his own last season in limited playing time. He could be the surprise of the staff and that would make Detroit dangerous. Of course this is a hypothetical prediction, but he did nothing last season to detract the Tigers from having some confidence in him. My guess is that well see improvement, but that's far from a guarantee and the Tigers will really need their top 3 pitchers to deliver if they want to beat the MLB odds.
Due to being a disappointing team last season, the Tigers are at a decent price to win the World Series at Bovada. This is a team that can't be written off and if the bettor has extra money to bet, it might be worth a chance with their MLB picks as they have a former Cy Young Award winner and the best hitter in the majors over the last decade. That speaks volumes.