The Detroit Tigers have made for a lively case study this offseason. Transitioning from a team full of lumbering thumpers to a more energetic and athletic group should be fun to watch. What has most certainly changed is the level of certainty regarding the team’s performance in 2014.
Expectations were pretty clear heading into last year. Not much was left to debate. This year is different, which makes for a great time to bust out my Detroit Tigers’ 2014 bold predictions.
In this article I’ll take stabs, some wilder than others, about how each of the boys in the Old English ‘D’ will perform this year.
- Last year I said they’d win 95 games (and they would have had they not put the B-team in against the Marlins and gotten swept in the season’s final series). They finished with 93. This year – 92 wins. Book it.
- Miguel Cabrera won’t win the Triple Crown but he will knock in 160 runs. He’ll also be the only Tiger to eclipse 20 home runs.
- Ian Kinsler will hit .280 with 18 homers and 25 steals. He’ll also score 110 runs.
- Don Kelly will hit 10 bombs. What? Yeah, you heard me. 10.
- Jose Iglesias will play less than 120 games and hit under .250.
- Torii Hunter will spend at least one stint on the 15-day disabled list but will still hit .290 with 15 homers and 70 RBI’s.
- Phil Coke won’t break camp with the Tigers. His run in Motown is all but over. And on a related note, teach your kids to throw mid-90’s gas from the left side. Coke hasn’t been good in his 4 years in Detroit but his arm kept the team interested. Life lessons.
- Justin Verlander doesn’t miss a start all year, bounces back to the tune of a 2.95 ERA, 220 K’s, and an 18-8 record. He finishes 4th in the Cy Young balloting, one spot behind…
- Max Scherzer, who has a tremendous season, finishes 17-6 with a 2.85 ERA and 235 K’s, but manages just a 3rd place finish in the Cy Young, one spot behind…
- Anibal Sanchez. The returning AL ERA leader from ’13 does it again, this time posting a 2.40 ERA, a 17-5 record, and 225 K’s, finishing 2nd in the Cy Young voting to Texas’ Yu Darvish.
- Austin Jackson finds a way to be a consistent player. JUST KIDDING! But he does start running again and steals 20+ bags and his end of the season numbers are tolerable.
- Nick Castellanos finally tells America how to pronounce his last name. Is it ‘yanos’ or ‘lanos’? I’ve heard both multiple times from people in the know. Oh, and he also finishes 3rd in the AL Rookie of the Year voting by hitting .265 with 12 homers and 65 RBI’s.
Still with me? Let’s wrap this up:
- Victor Martinez provides mafia-like protection to Cabrera in the lineup and drives in 120 runs of his own while hitting just 10 homers.
- Rajai Davis becomes just the 6th player in team history to swipe 50 bases, joining Ty Cobb (8 times), Ron Leflore (3), Donie Bush, Roger Cedeno, and Brian Hunter.
- Joe Nathan saves 50 games in 54 opportunities, breaking Jose Valverde’s single-season team record of 49.
- Alex Avila hits 18 homers but his average doesn’t climb north of .230.
- Rick Porcello posts career-bests in ERA at 3.75, K’s with 152, and fewest walks with 36.
- Drew Smyly manages 165 innings, an 11-10 record, and 145 K’s.
- Quirky Al Alburquerque strikes out 85 in 60 innings of relief. But he also walks 35.
- Bruce Rondon finishes in the top 5 in the AL in holds.
- The permanently frowning Luke Putkonen is seen smiling on camera at least three times, maybe four.
- Ian Krol implodes, sports a 5.00 ERA, and finishes the season on the disabled list.
- Joba Chamberlain bounces back, for half the season, but ultimately ends up being left off the postseason roster.
- Backup catcher Bryan Holaday can’t get his average over the Mendoza line and is out of favor and back in the minors before July 1st.
- Steve Lombardozzi wins fans over in a Brandon Inge’ian sort of way, all the while hitting just .240 with 2 home runs.
- Andy Dirks makes it back to the Tigers just after the All-Star break and hits .300+ the rest of the season.
There you have it. See you in October.
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