MLB American League Preview: No. 3 Detroit Tigers

Updated: April 18, 2015
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2014 Record: 90-72 (1st in AL Central)

2015 Projected Record: 91-71 (1st in AL Central)

Much like the Seattle Mariners, the Detroit Tigers have a perennial MVP candidate and a Cy Young candidate with Miguel Cabrera and David Price. Their supporting cast includes guys like Justin Verlander, Yoenis Cespedes, Anibal Sanchez, and more. Although, Detroit has been stacked for the past few years, they’ve never been quite stacked like this.


Bullpen Remains Only Weakness

Bullpen has been an ongoing issue for a few years now. Last season, Detroit’s relievers posted an E.R.A of 4.29 — in which only three teams were worse. In 2013, the Tigers’ relievers finished 24th in bullpen ERA, finished 18th the season before that and 25th before that — see a pattern here?

Former closer Joe Nathan is now 40, and hit his decline years ago. Joakim Soria has some experience as a closer and was impressive last season with the Texas Rangers. It would be smart to move on from Nathan, and move forward with Soria as the closer. Bruce Rondon would be a good setup man for Soria. He throws hard, but is coming off of Tommy John Surgery. That leaves Joba Chamberlain and Al Alburquerque as only other setup man candidates by default. The bullpen is slightly improved with Soria as the closer, but still will struggle significantly.


Best Lineup In Baseball

Cabrera’s health has slowly become a concern for the Tigers organization. He has been playing through injuries for a couple seasons, and even now is battling an ankle injury. If he is at full health, Detroit’s lineup will be dangerous.

J.D. Martinez is emerging as a star outfielder for Detroit and could finally have a “break out,” season. The middle of the batting order is what is so intimidating to opposing pitchers. The middle of the order features guys like 1B/DH Victor Martinez, Cespedes, Ian Kinsler, and of course Cabrera.

The Tigers don’t have much depth, though, and that could be a huge problem if key players get injured and miss a significant amount of time. Tigers manager Brad Ausmus will have a tough task at hand since there wasn’t much help brought in to address the bench which was a huge off-season need. As long as all of the big name guys stay healthy throughout most of the season, Detroit will produce one of the best offenses in all of baseball.


Projected Depth Chart (via with 2014 statistics)

C: Alex Avila — .218 average, 11 home runs, and 47 RBI

1B: Miguel Cabrera — .313 average, 25 home runs, and 109 RBI

2B: Ian Kinsler — .275 average, 17 home runs, and 92 RBI

SS: Jose Iglesias — missed 2014 season due to shin injury

3B: Nick Castellanos — .259 average, 11 home runs, and 66 RBI

LF: Yoenis Cespedes — .260 average, 22 home runs, and 100 RBI (with OAK and BOS)

CF: Anthony Gose — .226 average, 2 home runs, and 15 stolen bases ( 94 games with TOR)

RF: J.D. Martinez — .315 average, 23 home runs, and 76 RBI

DH: Victor Martinez — .335 average, 32 home runs, and 103 RBI

SP1: David Price — 15-12 record, 3.26 E.R.A, and 271 strikeouts (with TB and DET)

SP2: Justin Verlander — 15-12 record, 4.54 E.R.A, and 159 strikeouts

SP3: Anibal Sanchez — 8-5 record, 3.43 E.R.A, and 102 strikeouts

SP4: Alfredo Simon — 15-10 record, 3.44 E.R.A, and 127 strikeouts (with CIN)

SP5: Shane Greene — 5-4 record, 3.78 E.R.A, and 81 strikeouts (15 games with NYY)


Photo Credit: (Mike Mulholland/

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