Thu 12/03/2015 - 15:13 EDT

Detroit Tigers 2015 Season Preview

Detroit Tigers 2015 Season Preview
With one of the most dangerous lineups in baseball and two further CY Young winners in the rotation, the Tigers have a deep and talented roster. Even with the loss of 40% of their starting rotation, the Detroit Tigers remain one of the favourites to win the American League and World Series in 2015.

Futures

Odds To Win Division: +225

Odds To Win AL Pennant: 8/1

Odds To Win World Series: 18/1

Regular Season Win Total: 84.5

Most Significant Offseason Changes

Biggest Additions:

Yoenis Cespedes, OF

Anthony Gose, OF

Alfredo Simon, SP

Tom Gorzelanny, RP

Shane Greene, SP

Biggest Losses:

Rick Porcello, SP

Max Scherzer, SP

Torii Hunter, OF

Phil Coke, RP

They’ll Be Successful If…

The Tigers have a lethal lineup as expected, which will give opposing pitchers nightmares all season long. Even with the loss of Rick Porcello and Max Scherzer, the Tigers have a dominate pitching staff. With the addition of Yoenis Cespedes, the Tigers have one of the most well rounded lineups in the Majors. Miguel Cabrera is a two-time Triple Crown Winner and AL MVP. Victor Martinez may have actually been the best hitter in all of baseball last season, leading the AL in On-Base Percentage and having an astonishing 1.67 Walks per Strikeout (only two other players had 1 or higher in all of baseball in 2014). The signing of Anthony Gose to pair with Rajai Davis (36 steals in 2014) and Ian Kinsler (40 doubles in 2014), gives the Tigers depth and speed, to go with the home run power of Cespedes, Cabrera and Martinez. Even though the Tigers lost 40% of their starting rotation, they still have two further CY Award winners in David Price and Justin Verlander. If Anibal Sanchez can stay healthy, and Alfredo Simon and Shane Green can pitch well in the 4 and 5 spots, the Tigers rotation will be just as effective.      

They’ll Be Unsuccessful If…

If Verlander has another sub par season, and Alfredo Simon has difficulty moving to the AL, the Tigers pitching staff will considerably under perform. The Bullpen was a liability last season and  a substantial improvement seems very unlikely. Coming off the 2011 season as the AL MVP and Cy Young award winner, Verlander subtly declined in 2012 and 2013 and noticeably declined in 2014. If Verlander cannot recapture the 2011 magic (or at least perform at 2012/2013 levels), Verlander’s days as an elite pitcher may be over (though he is dating Kate Upton, so he will be fine). If Anibal Sanchez suffers any sort of injury and Alfredo Simon does not transition from the National League well, the pitching staff will flounder. If the pitching staff has issues, it is unlikely the Bullpen will pick up the slack. Tom Gorzelanny was a good offseason pickup, but essentially just replaces Phil Coke. The Tigers bullpen ranked 27th in ERA in 2014, and will need Joe Nathan and Joba Chamberlain to make large improvements in 2015. Nathan is now 41 years old and nearing the end of his career, and Chamberlain has been an enigma his entire career and is quite difficult to predict.   

Fantasy Bargain: Anthony Gose, OF

For the first time Anthony Gose will be playing opening day and for the first time Gose is worth playing in fantasy. With undeniable speed, Gose is threat to steal 50 bases or more this season and hit double-digit triples (he hit 5 in 52 games in 2013). If he can improve on his contact, and be used more effectively than he was during his tenure in Toronto, Gose has huge upside, and is a great late pick for a team lacking a base stealer.   

Outlook:

The Tigers are primed for another playoff appearance in 2015. With a pulsating lineup and a roster stocked with award winners, they are well equipped to overcome any shortfalls from the bullpen. If the pitching staff stays healthy and Verlander and Simon produce strong season, the Tigers could be representing the AL in the 2015 World Series.   

Prediction: 2nd In AL Central

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Tag : baseball , Detroit Tigers , Detroit Tigers 2015 Season Preview , mlb , Tigers

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