January 24th, 2011 at 12:35 PM ^

I mean, Porcello has to round into a consistent front line starter, but it's a good bet he will. Martinez provides that consistent middle of the order bat, and is a very solid club house presence. The Brad Penny pick up, may prove to have been one of the better pick ups in all of baseball. The guy just has a sneaky way of churning out 15 win seasons. Health is going to be a factor (obviously), but if Ordonez, and Guillen can stay healthy, this team should be the front runner for the AL Central, if not the American League in general. 


January 24th, 2011 at 12:44 PM ^

and they're definitely not the front runners in the AL.  

Outside of Cabrera, that lineup is likely to be pretty brutal this year.  Ordonez was a valuable player last year, but he's not young, and who knows how much he'll fall off.  Austin Jackson is going to take a huge step back (he had one of the highest BABIPs of all time last season), and Brennan Boesch's minor league track record suggests he's probably closer to the player he was in the second half of last season than the player he was at the start of the year. Martinez is a good bat, but he's going to lose a ton of his value if they DH him rather than playing him at catcher.  

The staff should be good, and they've definitely got a shot at the playoffs, but I think the Twins are probably still the favorites in the Central, and 4 of the 5 teams in the AL East are better on paper than the Tigers.  


January 24th, 2011 at 12:50 PM ^

Batting Average on Balls in Play.  Basically, just how often any ball hit into the field of play (i.e., not a homer, strikeout or walk) fell in for a hit.  Research has shown that pitchers have very little control over what happens when a ball is hit, and that every pitcher over a large sample will have a BABIP somewhere between like .285 and .310 (average is .300).  

Hitters have more control over it, so a guy like Manny Ramirez who hits the living crap out of the ball will have a higher BABIP than Juan Pierre.  That being said, Austin Jackson isn't a power hitter, and his BABIP was somewhere around .400 last season, which is 30 points higher than Manny's career high, and 60 points higher than Manny's career average. Jackson got really, really lucky last year at the plate.  He's still a very good young player, and he plays excellent defense, but his numbers should take a big step back even if you factor in continued development.  

PF 34

January 24th, 2011 at 12:56 PM ^

While I agree that he will somewhat regress this year (he probably won't bat .295 again), if he can cut down on the strikeouts and add a little bit more pop I think he can have a great year again. Somewhere around .275 10 HR 50RBI's 30SB and 100runs would be awesome. He's got a great future and i'm excited to watch him lead off for years to come.


January 24th, 2011 at 1:02 PM ^

a strikeout is, at most, a tiny bit worse than a regular out.  The bigger issue is getting his walk rate up.  He had a .293 average and a .345 OBP.  You'd like to see a bigger spread between those numbers.  

Increased power would be cool, but the RBI and runs are too team/context dependent to be meaningful.  The key for him, I think, is just to walk more, so that he's less dependent on a high batting average and can compensate for a lower BA.  Luckily he's a really strong defender, so he'll provide value regardless of how well he hits.  


January 24th, 2011 at 3:31 PM ^

While Jackson is likely to take a step back, I don't think it will be as big as you indicate. He was definitiely lucky at the plate last year, but there's little reason to think that his offensive skill and approach won't improve. Specifically, look for him to start walking more (he struck out a lot and didn't walk much, like lots of rookies, and will probably adjust), and will thus have a lower average but his OBP will remain in the same area as last year.

As for Boesch, I agree that we're not going to see much out of him. Yes, he had an incredible start last year, but that was helped in large part by his willingness to swing at the first pitch. Once he'd been around for a little while, pitchers clued in to the fact that they couldn't just throw a fastball down the middle on the first pitch against him and his numbers plummetted.

I do think you underestimate Martinez's value. While he does not add a tremendous amount of value from an absolute standpoint if he's DH as opposed to catcher, he does add a lot to the team from a relative standpoint. Last year, our primary DH (Damon) had a .756 OPS. Martinez had a .844 OPS. Even if Martinez is a DH exclusively, he represents a big plus over last year. Furthermore, Martinez will probably get a fair number of games at catcher, either because Avila needs a day off or because Avila has a similar season to last and Leyland doesn't want to play him much.


January 24th, 2011 at 2:02 PM ^

1-2 rotation is just as good as anybody IMO.  Scherzer has been dazzling since the AAA demotion and he is a strikeout pitcher.  If Porcello can bounce back, the Tigers have the top 3 pitchers who can win them most games.  Brad Penny has to be a inning eater though he has never been able to stay healthy.  I'm not sure about Phil Coke as the 5th starter, but he is an outstanding setup man last year.  The bullpen will improve IMO.


Beside Cabrera, the Tigers need to find players who can step up to the plate and produce some offense.


January 24th, 2011 at 12:45 PM ^


I'm sadly i'm an Indians fan but lets just say ive been to about 250 tigers games in the last 10 years or so and the biggest thing that has stuck out to me in the 20 years of my life had to of been on the day victor signed with the tigers. The headline on the tigers website : Victor signs, Tigers still working out other contracts. On the cleveland website was : Indians go sledding. REALLY! tigers are hard at work signing all-stars and the tribe is talking about the team sledding event. Thats when I decided cleveland was doomed til shapiro leaves the organization,  Tigers should take central this year as long as the pitching comes around. So much talent up and down that line up. 


January 24th, 2011 at 12:56 PM ^

Very true -- Philly is another East Coast town viewed fondly from Bristol, CT.  It reminds me of how, during football season, every 5th or 6th segment seems to be Sal Paolantonio talking about the Eagles in his standard cadence ("Wah wah wah WAH, wah wah wah WAH, wah wah wah WAH.")  You could substitute "Rachel Nichols" and "Redskins," too.


January 24th, 2011 at 1:31 PM ^


so true man. I don't mind that part because I am and eagles fan but it does get over hyped. I think outside of the occasional highlight of the game and the new coach hiring every 4-5 years the lions don't get any news. on another note the Cinny bengals are on there allot but thats usually because 3 or 4 of them get arrested every week.

Steve Lorenz

January 24th, 2011 at 1:53 PM ^

Those two teams have the most massive fanbases in baseball. We've gotten to the point where you can get your information elsewhere if you desire it. Stop blaming ESPN for running a profitable's not as if they sit around and say "fuck everyone else let's just show Red Sox/Yankees shit again this year". 


January 24th, 2011 at 12:47 PM ^

Thanks for this link! I am so excited for spring training - pitchers and catchers report Feb. 14. I'm looking forward to some more dominance from Scherzer this season - he's was pretty awesome after coming back from Toledo last year.

Can't wait, especially after the last few months surrounding Michigan football!

st barth

January 24th, 2011 at 1:24 PM ^

...I think that if the Tigers can just get in the playoffs that they'll have a great chance to win the World Series.   But then it's always those fucking Twins getting in the way...ergh!


January 24th, 2011 at 1:41 PM ^

I like the way Dombrowski has gone about building this team, it's really the way it has to be done. Get a large, dependable stable of arms, focus on beating out your division rivals, then use that pitching to level the playing field against the Yankees and Red Sox in the playoffs. Dombrowski's more of an old-school guy than a saber guy, and the Tigers do spend a lot, but there's still a hint of the Moneyball approach there. More questions than answers in the lineup still, but they don't all have to be answered as long as the pitching holds up like it should.


January 24th, 2011 at 1:51 PM ^

The Tigers can't stand still in the Central and hope to competer.  Tthe Twins have been their nemesis, and the White Sox have added Dunn and may well have Peavy the whole season.

Steve Lorenz

January 24th, 2011 at 1:56 PM ^

Adding Martinez and Benoit isn't exactly standing still. 

The Werth contract killed the entire market this offseason and I don't blame DD for standing relatively pat down the FA stretch. Detroit still has a lot of money freed up and some solid assets in the minors to maybe swing a trade or make a run at some free agents next year, especially when you get Guillen's contract off the books. 

Steve Lorenz

January 24th, 2011 at 1:58 PM ^

Raburn is the key player this year. If he can sustain a healthy amount of production from April to July, Detroit can win the division. He's been one of the best hitters in the majors during the August/September stretch the last two years. Hopefully he can put it together this year. 

EDIT: Porcello is the other key....but he kinda was last year too. If he can become a solid #3 starter, our rotation will be among the best in baseball this year. 


January 24th, 2011 at 2:40 PM ^

My friends and I discussed this but do you see Raburn possibly hitting in the 2 hole this year, he honestly seems like one of the only viable options. I suppose Guillen could too, but he'll break/tear/sprain something by July leaving us to wonder when he'll retire.