Well after a few days off, a few spring training games, and a little rest on my brain, I am very excited to preview the 2012 American League Central Champion Detroit Tigers….I know I may be jumping the gun a little early, but hey….who we kidding here? The Tigers are the elite team in the Central division and will run away with the title! Manager Jim Leyland was quoted as saying “It should be a fun year”, well no kidding….the fact that they have one of the most feared lineups in the Majors, an arsenal in their pitching and one hell of a closer! Lets take a look at the off season moves the Tigers did this past winter.
Well, the off season for the Detroit Tigers wasn’t too busy, although after they lost catcher Victor Martinez for the entire 2012 MLB season they turned right around and brought the big man Prince Fielder in from Milwaukee. Not a bad move! So lets see…you’ve got Austin Jackson leading off, followed by Delmon(doubles) Young, then that guy Miguel Cabrera, then the new Prince at cleanup, followed by a few other good hitters in Alex Avila, Boesch, Raburn, and Jhonny Peralta. Wow do I wish I had season tickets this year…going to be so much fun for the fans.
The other side of the two headed monster is Detroit’s pitching staff. They have young up and comer Rick Porcello, who is only getting better and better by the year. Then the Tigers have Max Scherzer who I believe will be a huge rebound candidate and put up career numbers. Then they have that really good pitcher who won the American League MVP and CY Young….Justin Verlander. The Detroit Tigers also have Jose Valverde who only got 49 saves last year. I think this is the “Year of the Tiger.” Lets take a closer look at a few players…Prince Fielder, Justin Verlander, Brennan Boesch and Ryan Raburn.
The Detroit Tigers signed Prince Fielder to a 9 year/214 million dollar deal. I think it was well worth it as they prepare to win a World Series Championship in 2012. Fielder’s rookie year he hit 28 bombs for the Milwaukee Brewers and in his sophomore season he mashed 50 home runs. Fielder who is 27 (turns 28 in May) has a career .282 AVG and averages 35+ home runs per season. Prince Fielder brings with him the power, the positive attitude and also big time protection for one of baseball’s best hitters in Miguel Cabrera, who should also have career high numbers at season’s end. So all in all it’s going to be good to be Prince this year!
The reigning American League MVP and CY Young winner will once again be ready to try and capture both titles plus a World Series Championship. Justin Verlander is a phenomenal pitcher, who in fantasy sense will or should be the very first pitcher off the board. Verlander shaved a full run off of his ERA from the previous year, 2010 his ERA was 3.37 and last year 2.40. So while it’d be nice if he could shave another run off this year…that’s probably not going to happen, but we can expect another sublime season from Verlander. He anchors a staff that is good, but if the Tigers didn’t have Verlander how good would their pitching staff be? Justin Verlander will be ready to get going in 2012 and try and repeat last year’s numbers, which could be tough…but doable.
Well at the age of 26, Brennan Boesch will have a career year…barring injury. Let’s get that out of the way. Boesch is going to see more fastballs than a kid in the batting cages. Boesch kills the ball in the first half of the season(12HR/.306AVG), But he came out slow after the all star break last year and seasons before. Not this year, though. Mark my words!!! Boesch will be a guy you wished you drafted/bought in your fantasy leagues this year, because you’ll get him cheap and later in the draft, and come next season he will be a top 25 outfielder. Boesch doesen’t need a platoon partner either. He is great against lefty pitchers and just as good against right handers. The signing of Fielder only makes Boesch that much better because, like I said earlier, he’s going to see a ton of fastballs.
Another one of the Detroit Tigers hitting machine in training is Ryan Raburn. So far this spring he has 6HR/16RBI/.462AVG and, yes, I know it’s spring training, but man is he crushing the ball right now and this year it will carry forward into the season. The problem with Raburn in the past is he has always been platooned. Jim Leyland already said that 2B is his to lose and if he keeps this up there’s no way he will be going to a bench role. Ryan Raburn will be another key to the Detroit Tigers this season. If he does what I think he is going to do this year he will be in the upper tiers next year as a 2nd basemen who will also be OF available. Raburn will have career high numbers at season’s end, and I’ll be the one who said “I told you so.”
In closing out the Detroit Tigers 2012 preview, I believe they finish one game shy of the 100 win mark finishing the season with a record of 99W-63L. Fortunately for the Tigers they got a free pass into the upcoming 2012 post season thanks to the 4 teams way behind them in the American League Central. As a baseball fan in general, I would be very shocked if we don’t see the Detroit Tigers in a seven game battle with the Texas Rangers in the American League Championship Series this upcoming October.
Well I have nailed down the AL Central previews and I’m coming down the back stretch to cover everyone’s favorite American League East Division. I will start with who I believe will finish last in the division and work towards 1st in the division. First article will be up soon, please keep reading!
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