The Detroit Tigers went from AL Central division winners in 2014 to basement dwellers within a calendar year. Al Avila took over as general manager and spent the offseason correcting some of the wrongs former GM Dave Dombrowski made.
The Tigers have more firepower on their roster right now than the roster that made it to the World Series a few years ago. That’s a scary thought…but their starting rotation isn’t up to that level.
Can Victor Martinez and Miguel Cabrera play in more than 120 games this season?
Here is the 2016 MLB season preview for the Detroit Tigers.
2015 Win/Loss Record: 74-87
Key Additions: OF Justin Upton, SP Jordan Zimmermann, RP Francisco Rodriguez, OF Cameron Maybin, SP Mike Pelfrey, RP Justin Wilson, SS Mike Aviles, RP Mark Lowe, C Jarrod Saltalamacchia, OF John Mayberry Jr., RP Bobby Parnell, OF Nate Schierholtz & 3B Casey McGehee
Key Losses: C Alex Avila, OF Rajai Davis, RP Al Alburquerque, RP Tom Gorzelanny, RP Ian Krol, RP Neftali Feliz & SP Kyle Lobstein
Interleague Schedule: NL East
Projected Starters: James McCann, Miguel Cabrera, Ian Kinsler, Nick Castellanos, Jose Iglesias, Justin Upton, Cameron Maybin, J.D. Martinez & Victor Martinez
Projected Starting Rotation: Justin Verlander, Jordan Zimmermann, Anibal Sanchez, Mike Pelfrey & Daniel Norris
Closer: Francisco Rodriguez
Fantasy Sleeper: SP Daniel Norris – There’s a reason the Tigers pulled the trigger on trading David Price to Toronto. They got Norris in return. He has a high ceiling and could turn into a #2 or #3 starter on the Tigers. It may not happen this season, but I have high hopes for Norris to have a breakout season for Detroit.
Prospect To Keep Your Eye On: SS JaCoby Jones – Jones ended last season in Double-A after having success in both levels of A-ball. He’s a taller shortstop that has power at the plate. If Detroit suffers an injury in middle infield, Jones could get a call-up. If everything goes as planned, I could see him getting a September call-up.
Team Analysis: Detroit imploded last season. There’s no better word to describe it. Injuries struck major players, starting pitching was mediocre and their bullpen was one of the worst in the Majors.
The Tigers made upgrades by adding Justin Upton, Jordan Zimmermann and rebuilding their entire bullpen this offseason. The lineup is balanced and love the way it looks from #1 to #9. I could really see this team competing with the Royals in the AL Central.
I am a bit worried about Zimmermann. He had success in Washington, but he did not finish strong last season. His velocity was down and his arm just appeared to be exhausted. He’s only 29 years old, so he could have just been dealing with dead arm late in the year.
If Detroit is neck-and-neck with Kansas City on top of the AL Central by July, I’d love to see them trade for another front-line starter. I’m not very excited about Detroit if they trot out Verlander/Zimmermann/Sanchez for a seven-game series. I really like Detroit this season. They will battle for a playoff spot this year.
2016 Wins Over/Under Betting Line: 81 (Prediction: OVER)
2016 Projected Win/Loss Record: 84-78 (2nd 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.