A triple crown winner and a Cy Young candidate were not enough to get the Detroit Tigers even one win in the World Series against the Giants.
Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera were two of the hottest players in the league last year, showing no signs of slowing down.
They’ve been the faces of the franchise for a number of years, but even the addition of Prince Fielder wasn’t enough in the postseason.
Cabrera became the first triple crown winner since 1967 when Carl Yastzremski won it for the Red Sox.
Tigers skipper Jim Leyland has looked at the 2012 season for about five minutes and decided that it was time to add more weapons to beef up the lineup.
They have great continuity, as far as key components in the infield, but they needed to drastically improve their outfield.
Detroit brought in former Angels outfielder Torii Hunter and could have an emerging star in their top prospect Nick Castellanos.
They’re going to get back a key bat in Catcher/DH Victor Martinez, to replace a slumping Alex Avila.
The lineup should be much rejuvenated, but the biggest question could come from the bullpen.
The Tigers allowed Jose Valverde to walk this offseason and are hoping that prospect Bruce Rondon will be a viable replacement.
Rondon hasn’t had a very good spring, which is why they could be in the market for a closer.
Detroit has been rumored to take a look at former Giants closer Brian Wilson, but he’s still recovering from a season-ending surgery in 2012.
If the Tigers can establish chemistry with some of their new pieces and solidify the closer role, there’s no reason why Detroit shouldn’t be one of the more dangerous teams in the league.
Let’s see if they have what it takes to get the job done this season…
TIGERS PROJECTED LINEUP
1. Austin Jackson CF All of his numbers were up in ’12, except with his base stealing. Jackson continues to work towards being a more well-rounded player and he is slowly becoming a viable fantasy OF, but he’s still a late option.
2. Torii Hunter RF Hits for a great average, doesn’t steal a lot of bases anymore, 90+ runs/rbi’s, but needs to get his home run totals back up. He’s a great option for your OF spots late if you’re scrounging at the end of your draft.
3. Miguel Cabrera 3B The guy won the triple crown last year, is there any reason he shouldn’t be one of the top 5 players off the board?
4. Prince Fielder 1B He’s a home run hitting machine, he hits for a great average, and should be gone by the mid 2nd round.
5. Victor Martinez DH You’re not sure how to view V-Mart in his return this season. He’s one of the best catchers to own because of the power he brings, but it might take him a while to warm up. He’s a .300 hitter that can get 20+ home runs, so what’s not to like.
6. Andy Dirks LF His job isn’t safe, as the Tigers are waiting for prospect Nick Castellanos to be ready by June. Don’t bother in investing in him.
7. Jhonny Peralta SS His numbers are down for batting average, runs, rbi’s, and home runs. He’s nothing more than a mid-season desperation waiver wire claim.
8. Alex Avila C Battled injuries throughout the 2012 season. He could be a sleeper option this year, but one that you’ll want to wait and claim in waivers after your draft. The catcher position is so deep that Avila is no longer elite.
9. Omar Infante 2B He was one of the hottest bats out of the gate last season, but slowed down to his typical numbers with a .270 AVG and 50+ runs/rbi’s. He did have a career high in stolen bases with 17 and his highest HR total in 7 seasons with 12. Infante is nothing more than a second tier 2B option.
1. Justin Verlander He’s one of the best pitchers to own in fantasy, do you really need convincing to draft him?
2. Doug Fister He shows flashes of brilliance at times,but took a step back from his stellar second half in 2011. He can strikeout a lot of batters, he’s durable, and consistent. Look for him in the later rounds.
3. Max Scherzer Had career highs in just about every category since being a full time starter. He had a career-high 231 strikeouts last season and will look to get close to that number against this year. If he can continue to sport a 3+ ERA, with those strikeout totals, then Scherzer could be one of the best late round draft choices.
4. Anibal Sanchez He doesn’t produce a lot of strikeouts, his ERA is near a 4, and he’s only registered double digit wins twice in his seven year career. Look elsewhere.
5. Rick Porcello Detroit’s been trying to trade him, so you might not want to invest in Porcello. His strikeout totals and ERA are pedestrian anyways. Don’t bother considering him.
RP-Bruce Rondon He’s on a short leash this season, you can invest in him on draft day, but just keep in mind that he could be replaced if he doesn’t pan out instantly.
Nick Castellanos is one of the top prospects in Detroit’s minor league system. He’s naturally a third baseman, but there’s some triple crown winner that’s got that position locked up. The Tigers will look for move him to the outfield, specifically left field. He hits for more average than he does for power, but can contribute in every category. In order to avoid early arbitration, the Tigers sent Castellanos back down to the minors, but is projected to be promoted somewhere around June. Keep him on your watchlist as he could be a great second half contributor.
Brian Wilson is just one season removed from being a must-own fantasy closer. If he hadn’t had the season-ending injury in 2012, he’d be right back up there with the other elite options. Right now he’s 80% recovered and will not try out for any teams until he’s completely healthy. He did have a lackluster tryout with the Mets, but that isn’t the end of the tryouts. The Tigers have reportedly reached out to Wilson, with interest in bringing him in later in the season. Rookie closer Bruce Rondon is on a short leash and Wilson’s health could put pressure on him. If Wilson is signed by the Tigers, he could start off as a setup man, but could be a key second half closer option to get in waivers.