The Detroit Tigers won the AL Central in 2014, but Kansas City was the team to make the most noise in the postseason. Miguel Cabrera has broken down late in the season in back-to-back years. He had surgery this offseason to fix his nagging ankle injury.
The Tigers let former Cy Young winner Max Scherzer walk, but added Yoenis Cespedes this offseason. He is expected to further protect Victor Martinez and Cabrera in the lineup. Detroit should light up the scoreboard this season.
Can Detroit’s bullpen hold up this season? Will Joe Nathan keep the closer job for the entire year?
Here is the 2015 MLB season preview for the Detroit Tigers.
2014 Win/Loss Record: 90-72
Key Additions: OF Yoenis Cespedes, SP Alfredo Simon, SP Shane Greene, OF Anthony Gose, RP Alex Wilson, RP Josh Zeid, RP Tom Gorzelanny, RP Rafael Dolis & RP Joel Hanrahan
Key Losses: SP Max Scherzer, SP Rick Porcello, RP Phil Coke, OF Torii Hunter, RP Jim Johnson, SP Robbie Ray, OF Don Kelly, SS Eugenio Suarez, OF Ezequiel Carrera & RP Chad Smith
Interleague Schedule: NL Central
Projected Starters: Alex Avila, Miguel Cabrera, Ian Kinsler, Nick Castellanos, Jose Iglesias, Rajai Davis, J.D. Martinez, Yoenis Cespedes & Victor Martinez
Projected Starting Rotation: David Price, Justin Verlander, Anibal Sanchez, Alfredo Simon & Shane Greene
Closer: Joe Nathan
Fantasy Sleeper: OF Anthony Gose – If you can’t get Rajai Davis earlier in the draft and want a cheap source of steals, Gose is perfect for you. He will be in a platoon with Davis. Gose will face right-handed pitching and Davis will face lefties. Both have speed and should both eclipse 20 stolen bases. I expect Davis to get more than that, but Gose could be a nice streamable option and possibly an everyday player in five-outfielder leagues.
Prospect To Keep Your Eye On: OF Steven Moya – Moya had an excellent season in Triple-A in 2014. He hit 35 homers, drove in 105 runs and hit .276. He was even called up very late in the season (he went 3 for 8 in 11 games). If Moya played for nearly any other team, he’d be a sure thing to be on the Opening Day roster. Detroit is loaded in the outfield. Yoenis Cespedes, Rajai Davis and J.D. Martinez will start while Anthony Gose and Tyler Collins sub for them. Detroit will keep Moya in Triple-A until they have a place for him to play everyday.
Team Analysis: Detroit looked destined for another World Series appearance, but they hit a wall. Miguel Cabrera’s ankle caused his power to diminish and Justin Verlander seemed to never get on track. They even added former Cy Young winner David Price and they couldn’t make it out of the ALDS.
Detroit comes into this season with a chip on their shoulder. They are playing for a ring this season. They decided to pass on signing Max Scherzer and traded Rick Porcello to Boston for Cuban slugger Yoenis Cespedes. They replaced Scherzer and Porcello with Alfredo Simon and Shane Greene. It is a step down, but they added some depth to the bullpen. Their bullpen was a joke last season.
The AL Central appears to be Detroit’s division to lose. Chicago and Kansas City were busy this offseason in hopes of taking the crown. Detroit’s offense should be much better once Victor Martinez and Cabrera are healthy from offseason surgeries. Yoenis Cespedes is an insurance plan in case one of their power hitters gets injured.
Detroit will once again win the AL Central. I expect big things from them this season.
2014 Wins Over/Under Betting Line: 85 (Prediction: OVER)
2014 Projected Win/Loss Record: 91-71 (1st in AL Central)
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.