As opening day kicked off the Detroit Tigers are looking to improve on their 90-72 record from last season. The Tigers have won their division the past 4 years but when it comes to October the bats in Detroit start to go cold. Behind the power of Miguel Cabrera, J.D Martinez and Victor Martinez the Tigers are poised for another big season. When you factor in the big names in the bullpen as well, you have to consider the Tigers are title contenders if they can stay healthy and get over the usual humps of choking come playoff time.
The Tigers made some key moves this offseason that will definitely solidify their lineup moving forward. The addition of Yoenis Cespedes will be a tremendous one. Cespedes is one of the better outfielders baseball. He is known for his quick bat and defensive prowess in the field. Detroit fans will get used to him throwing guys out at home plate from about 300 feet out. Cespedes is looking like he will be batting 5th or 6th depending on where catcher Alex Avila lands in the rotation. Cespedes hit an impressive 22 Home Runs and drove in 100 runs last year. His offense and defense is a definite plus to a team in need of that little boost.
The addition of Cespedes will give the Tigers an added threat on the defensive side of field. But one guy the Tigers are happier than ever to have back is the defensive gem that is shortstop Jose Iglesias. Iglesias is one of the few players to miss all of last season due to injury. He is coming off of having stress fractures in both legs. According the training staff Iglesias has been making great improvements as his rehab will continue throughout the season as his injury was near debilitating. Iglesias is poised to have a strong comeback year at shortstop if he can get his bearings back under him early in the season.
The Tigers pitching staff took a blow in losing Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello this off season. If Detroit wants to contend for a pennant this year it is going to have to come on the shoulders and strong arm of David Price. Price is coming off a solid year in which he won 15 games with a 3.26 ERA. If Price can manage to play like he was in Tampa then Detroit will be on the uprise. Since the trade to Detroit , Price has been shaky at best. He has looked like a future superstar some games while others looking as if he needs some time to warm up in triple AAA. The guy is great talent but if the Tigers want to win they will need him to step up from a 15-12 record last year. If Price can manage 20 wins behind the solid bats and defensive he has been provided he could easily be a front runner for the Cy Young award given his reputation.
That being said all the pressure shouldn’t be on just David Price to perform this year. The Tigers success also depends on their #2 pitcher Justin Verlander. Verlander is coming off one of his more forgettable seasons as Tiger after posting a 15-12 record with a 4.54 ERA and 159 K’s . Many have said Verlander just isn’t focused on baseball anymore to put it simply. But can you blame the guy? His girlfriend is Kate Upton. All jokes aside the guy is one hell of a pitcher when he is totally focused which is why I am confident in saying that he will make a resurgence this season and definitely get his ERA back down to around 3. Verlander admitted last year to being caught up in the media storm that surrounded his relationship with the model. Verlander stated that at some points he felt as if he it was his mechanics or his mental focus would be off during games leading the Tigers to do everything possible to help the guy out. Fortunately for them an off Justin Verlander could start on about 20 other teams. If Verlander with a year under his belt dating Upton has finally gotten his mind on baseball he could easily turn this pitching staff into one of the MLB’s elite.
The Tigers started their 2015 campaign off with a series vs the Minnesota Twins. The Tigers are looking to win the series outright and prove they are here to make a name for themselves this year. Detroit will be led by the big bats of Miguel Cabrera who hit (.313/.371/.524) and had 25 HR’s and 109 RBI and Victor Martinez who hit (.335/.409/.565) with 32 HR’s and 103 RBI.
If the Tigers can continue to hit well, keep men off base and stay healthy, along with getting the continued solid pitching performances from their staff they should be a bright surprise in the Fantasy Baseball world come early to mid October.