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2012 Detroit Tigers Predictions

April 06, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 126

For the first time in franchise history, the Detroit Tigers won the American League Central, with a 95-67 overall record. They would defeat the New York Yankees in the first round of the playoffs, but would ultimately fall short of the World Series, as they ended up losing the ALCS to the Texas Rangers in six games. With the addition of first baseman Prince Fielder, the Tigers are expected to easily defend their division title and be a serious contender to win it all in 2012. Here are the projected starting lineup, starting rotation and closer situation for the Tigers in 2012.

Projected Lineup

Alex Avila (Catcher) - The 24-year-old Alex Avila had a breakout season last year and will look to build on that success in the new season. He hit .295 with 19 home runs and 82 RBI over 464 at-bats in 2011. He was named to the All-Star team, won the Silver Slugger Award and led all catchers with a .895 OPS.

Prince Fielder (First Base) - With the addition of Fielder, the Tigers are suddenly an even more formidable team and have one of the more feared lineups in all of baseball. The All-Star first baseman hit .299 with 38 home runs and 120 RBI with the Milwaukee Brewers last year, and he now has at least 30 homers in the last five seasons. The son of former Tigers star Cecil Fielder is also one of the more durable players in the league. He has played in at least 157 games in each of the past six seasons.

Ryan Raburn (Second Base) - Raburn is a versatile player who figures to take over second base full time. He hit just .213 in the first half of last season, but progressed in the second half, when he hit .341. In 121 games last year, he had 14 home runs and 49 RBI, which is promising for a second baseman. But he needs to lower his strikeouts and raise his average if he is going to take that next step.

Jhonny Peralta (Shortstop) - After a strong season last year, Peralta solidified his position in the lineup and has now earned himself the starting job at shortstop. He has improved his game and has learned to strike out less, which resulted in him finishing with a career-high .299 batting average. He also put up solid power numbers of 21 home runs and 86 RBI.

Miguel Cabrera (Third Base) - Cabrera has agreed to move to third base to allow Fielder to play first, but where he plays is of no consequence because he is a dynamite player defensively. He is also considered to be one of the most dominant hitters in the game. He hit .344 with 30 home runs and 105 RBI in 2011, and the 28-year-old is still in his physical prime and has shown no signs of slowing down. He's hit at least .324 with 30-plus home runs and 100-plus RBI in each of the last three seasons.

Andy Dirks (Left Field) -It seems that Dirks will have every opportunity to hold down the open spot in left field, but after hitting just .251 with 7 home runs and 28 RBI in 78 games last year, it's hard to expect a lot from him offensively. He did just turn 26 in January, so there is still an outside shot for him to have a breakout season.

Austin Jackson (Center Field) - After hitting.293 in 2010, Jackson suffered a major drop in offense last year in his second season as the starting center fielder. He hit just .249 in 2011, but he made up for it by providing consistent Gold Glove-caliber defense. He is also extremely fast on the bases, which has resulted in 21 triples and 49 stolen bases the past two seasons.

Brennan Boesch (Right Field) - A thumb injury ended Boesch's season early in 2011. He was really coming along nicely, hitting .283 with 16 home runs and 54 RBI in 115 games. He is expected to be healthy and ready to go for 2012, and the Tigers are hoping he can continue from where he left off before the injury.

Delmon Young (Designated Hitter) - After the Tigers acquired Young from the Minnesota Twins via a midseason trade, the former No. 1 overall pick really came into his own and played extremely well for Detroit. Young hit .274 with 8 home runs and 32 RBI in just 40 games with the Tigers. At the age of 26, he is still relatively young, and even though he has never reached his potential, he still has a lot of time to do so in the future.

Projected Rotation

Justin Verlander (RHP) - Verlander had a season for the ages when he won both the 2011 Cy Young and AL MVP. He spent 2011 on a tear, going 24-5 on the year with a 2.40 ERA and 0.92 WHIP. Few pitchers have what it takes to win 20 games in a season, and Verlander has done it only once in his entire career. But he has totaled 61 wins over the last three seasons. He is almost a lock to win at least 18 games when healthy, making him a threat to win the Cy Young again in 2012.

Doug Fister (RHP) -At the trade deadline last year, the Tigers landed Fister from the Seattle Mariners and they simply can't wait to see what he can do in a full season in Detroit. In just 10 starts with the Tigers, he went 8-1 with a 1.79 ERA and 0.84 WHIP.

Max Scherzer (RHP) -Scherzer's numbers dipped a bit last year, as he saw his ERA jump from 3.50 in 2010 to 4.43 in 2011. But despite that, he was still able to win 15 games for the Tigers. What hurt him the most was that he gave up 29 home runs, but that seems to be more of a fluke instead of a trend moving forward. Expect him to go back to his usual self and improve his ERA this season.

Rick Porcello (RHP) - Despite posting a 4.75 ERA and 1.41 WHIP, he still managed to win 14 games last season. Even if his numbers are a little unconventional, he has come up with 38 wins in just three big league seasons. And with Porcello turning just 23 in December, it is safe to assume that the kid is only getting started.

Jacob Turner (RHP) - The Tigers are expecting Turner to nab the last spot in the rotation. The team is extremely high on its most heralded prospect. Although the 20-year-old posted a high 8.53 ERA in three starts last season, many still believe that he was what it takes to the AL Rookie of the Year in 2012.

Projected Closer

Jose Valverde (RHP)-Valverde showed his mettle for the Tigers when he became arguably the best closer in all of baseball last season. He converted all 49 of his save chances while posting a 2.24 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. With the much-improved offense and pitching that the Tigers are expected to send to the field in 2012, expect similar numbers and another 40-plus save season.

Be sure to visit us for help beating the baseball lines this season with expert baseball picks from the top handicappers in the industry.

Source: EzineArticles
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