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Detroit Tigers Preview

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The Tigers’ offseason looks to be pretty much finished, so here goes. Last season, they finished last in the division with a record of 74-88. Their pythag record was 78-84 and this season, PECOTA projects them to finish 3rd with a record of 77-85.

Let’s start out by looking at their positional players:

Position

Age

’08 Triple Slash

OPS+ (‘06-08)

+/- (’06-08)

Comment

C-Gerald Laird

29

.276/.329/.398

105, 64, 92

N/A

Supposedly a good backstop, but I wouldn’t expect him to repeat last year’s offense.

1b-Miguel Cabrera

26

.292/.349/.537

 

159, 150, 130

-12, -24, -6

’06 and ’07 was at 3rd.

I tend not to look too much into first half/second half splits, but Cabrera was significantly better in the second half and it had nothing to do with BIP.

2b-Placido Polanco

33

.307/.350/.417

 

80, 122, 102

+5, +10, +14

Second baseman tend to have short careers, so a sharp drop off is not out of the question.

3b-Brandon Inge

32

.205/.303/.369

98, 80, 76

+27, +22, N/A

Played C last year.

Phenomenal defender that almost has to hit for a better average next year.

SS-Adam Everett

32

.213/.278/.323

64, 56, 64

+41, +18, -1

Small samples in the last 2 seasons.

One would think the injuries and age have taken a toll on his defensive capabilities.

Lf-Carlos Guillen

33

.286/.376/.436

136, 123, 114

This will be his first extended action in left.

 

Not the asset he used to be now that his offense is declining and he’s a Lf, but the Tigers owe him 36 million over the next 3 years.

Cf-Curtis Granderson

28

.280/.365/.494

98, 136, 124

+12, +20, -12

For a player on one of the Tribe’s rivals, I like this guy way more than I should.  

Rf-Magglio Ordonez

35

.317/.376/.494

112, 167, 127

-16, +3, -11

He needs  457 PA this year to guarantee his options of 18 million in ’10 and 15 million in ’11.

DH-Gary Sheffield

40

.225/.326/.400

107, 120, 90

N/A

A great talent like Sheff may have one more good season in him, but that seems unlikely.

OF-Marcus Thames

32

.241/.292/.516

123, 99, 108

-8, +4, -13

He’ll be the primary backup in left and at DH.

INF-Ramon Santiago

29

.282/.411/.460

N/A

N/A

Hasn’t played much the past 3 seasons but with Adam Everett as the only other SS, he’ll see plenty of action.

 

This is a pretty good, but old offense. Cabrera is most likely going to be better this season, but I don’t see where else improvements are going to come from. They have some other guys like Raburn, Larish, and Clete Thomas that are decent placeholders, but their system lacks impact positional players. Last season, they were bad on both the basepaths and in the field. BPro’s two team metrics had them at 25th and 24th respectively. The defense should probably be better, if both Inge and Everett are healthy.

The starters. Using Rich Lederer’s criteria for starting pitchers, the average GB% was 43.45%. Average for K/BF% was 16.90%. Average for BB/BF%  7.89%:

Pitcher

Age

ERA+ (’06-08)

IP (’06-08)

GB% (’08)

K/BF %

(’08)

BB/BF%

(’08)

Comment

Justin Verlander

26

126, 125, 92

186, 201, 201

39.9%

18.52%

9.89%

He had a flukey rookie season, legit second season, and a hard-luck third season.

Jeremy Bonderman

26

112, 91, 104

214, 174, 71

47.4%

13.79%

11.29%

Health experts: Is Bonderman’s illness something that is likely to be a recurring problem?

Armando Galarraga

27

N/A, 119

0, 8.7, 178

43.5%

16.89%

8.18%

He looks very average, not that there is anything wrong with that.

Edwin Jackson

25

N/A, 78, 101

36, 161, 183

39.1%

13.64%

9.72%

Scouty types love this guy so there may be a possibility that he breaks out, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Nate Robertson

31

119, 96, 70

208, 177, 168

44.5%

14.19%

8.15%

I think he will bounce back to being a decent back end guy.

 

There are too many wild cards (4) for the rotation to be a real asset. There is some upside, but I think more likely, this rotation could be a train wreck.  Miner and Dontrelle will probably get some starts as well.

The bullpen, like the last couple of season, will not be good. Lyon is a closer in name only. Rodney and Zumaya have perpetual health issues. Not much to like here, though Bobby Seay is pretty decent.

 

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