Well we are now 60 or so games into the season and thus far as I don’t need to tell you the Tigers are not living up to expectations……..so far. Some players are doing what we expected, some are breaking out, and there are alot who we can’t keep on the field healthy. So I will try to analyze each player who is a regular and try to make some new predictions for the rest of the season.
CF – Austin Jackson – Spent 3 weeks on the DL and we are so glad he is back. This is what the Tigers envisioned when they recieved him from the Yankees as part of the Granderson deal. Now who may win out on this deal? Quite possibly more valuable than Miguel Cabrera right now. End of season line: .315 Ave., 18 HR’s, 65 RBI’s, .405 OBP, .530 Slug. (Comeback player of the Year Candidate)
LF – Andy Dirks – So I told you all he will win EARN the starting left fielder spot and has taken off before the recent achilles tendon problem. Has great bat control, good base running skills and taking advantage of his chance at being a regular. End of season line: .290, 8 HR’s, 40 RBI’s
3B – Miguel Cabrera – Well everyone thought he couldn’t play at third base again and has done great. Don’t think we have to worry about what he does with the bat. Starting to heat up right now with his homerun pace. End of season line: .315 Ave., 35 HR’s, 125 RBI’s, .550 Slug
1B – Prince Fielder – Highest batting average thus far in his career hasn’t also meant an increase in production. Has had an increase in producing over the past 2 weeks. Hope it means his mashing has just begun. End of season line: .295 Ave., 30 HR’s, 105 RBI’s, .500 Slug
DH – Delmon Young – Aside from off the field issues, he has had a sub par start on the season. Has had a few 3-game stretches that he has put together, but nothing substancial. End of season line (if still with Tigers): .250 Ave., 12 HR’s, 50 RBI’s
RF – Brennan Boesch – Has struggled most of the season, had a good week long stretch recently, but looks to be going back to those bad habits. Needs to relax and stop thinking (i.e. Inge?) End of season line: .250 Ave., 15HR’s, 60 RBI’s
SS – Jhonny Peralta – Another player not performing up to expectations so far. has started to have some better swings and I think this is the one player on the team who will dig himself out of the hole before season’s end. End of season line: .280 Ave., 15 HR’s, 50 RBI’s
C – Alex Avila – Struggled for the most part of the year, got hot, then injured. I think the Tigers need to give him more time to make sure he is 100% when he comes back. Maybe even DH him more once he returns. Seems like the knees are already giving him problems this year, but Leyland has been giving him proper time away from behind the plate, just hasn’t worked out so far. End of season line: .260 Ave., 10 HR’s, 45 RBI’s
2B – Ramon Santiago – Typical contributions from Ramon this season. Won’t breakout, nor really weaken in his production. He is mainly on the field for his glove and above average speed on the base paths. End of season line: .210 Ave., 3 HR’s, 25 RBI’s
Overall the offense has actually done well with getting on base and getting hits. The difference between this year and last year is getting those hits with runners in scoring position and all that late-inning magic we saw in so many comebacks last year. This is where we are really missing Victor Martinez. Even though there is a slight chance he might be able to comeback in September I hope the Tigers just tell him to take it off regardless and make sure he is 100% next season. The Tigers will let Delmon Young walk and V-Mart will take over the DH spot. Now for the Starting Rotation…
1) Justin Verlander – As expected he is getting his fair share of work in and continuing isi streak of games consecutively pitching at least 6 innings. Has a very good ERA, leads the AL in K’s and is in top 10 of many categories. Furthermore, he is being more economical and more starts are near that 110-115 pitch limit I suggested instead of 120-125 each time. End of season line: 2.70 ERA, 16 Wins, 240 K’s (Top 10 in Cy Young)
2) Max Scherzer – 1 game phenominal, next 2 mediocre. Needs to be more consistent from game to game. I really like the new wind-up with going over the head to try to get more balance. I really want him to do well, has the potential to break-out any time and be the pitcher he knows he can be. I think in time in the second half we will see improvement as he gets more use to the new wind-up. End of season line: 4.80 ERA, 14 Wins, 200 K’s
3) Doug Fister – Has been dealing with an injury on and off all season. Hopefully that was the last of it and today’s start is what we see the rest of the year every 5 games. May of got his first win of season today, but his now 2.60 ERA can’t be ignored. So far has had bad luck in run support. I predict Doug will have the best second half of any AL pitcher due to him missing time, so the arm is much, much more rested. End of season line: 2.40 ERA, 12 Wins, 100 K’s
4) Rick Porcello – Another starter trying out the new over the head wind-up and has been inconsistent. I like the idea, but results have been not as good as Scherzer’s. Still hasn’t lived up to expectations of being a highly regarded draft pick and he may have already plateaued. I know he is a ground ball pitcher on a team that isn’t that athletic on the infield, but he has been hit hard this season. End of season line: 5.00 ERA, 10 Wins, 100 K’s
5) Drew Smyly – So far he has been the second best starter behind JV. Big knock against him is he hasn’t pitched into the 7th inning at all this season, but that is not entirely his fault. Only his 2nd season as a pro and team (Leyland) have said they have a plan for him on his pitch/inning counts. Some of his starts have gone 6 innings and he had only thrown 85-95 pitches and was pulled. Team seems to be set on 30 starts, 160 IP as a limit before his stint on the DL. Let that blister heal and he will be back to have a good rookie season. End of season line: 4.50 ERA, 8 Wins, 125 K’s (Top 10 in Rookie of the Year)
The bullpen has been shaky at times, but great seasons by Benoit, Villareal, Below are showing through though. Valverde st probably pitching his last season as a Tiger, has lost his confidence and feel on his splitter. Alberquerque is due back sometime in July and will be a boost to help take some relief off of Coke as long as Below and Villareal continue to put up lights out numbers. Benoit should get some consideration as an All-Star but won’t because he is a set-up/middle reliever and not a Closer.
Overall I still think this team has a real good chance to get back into the thick of things, but probably won’t win the division by 15 games as predicted by many. May use Casey Crosby and/or Andy Oliver to trade to get a second baseman or another starting pitcher near All-Star break.
Predicted All-Star(s) – Prince Fielder, Miguel Cabrera, Austin Jackson, Justin Verlander
Coming soon will be an interview with the Detroit Tigers 2012 3rd round pick (2nd team overall pick) Austin Schotts. Real good kid who I talk to on Twitter and has agreed to answer some questions for me to use on my blog. So if you have Twitter, go follow him (@austinschotts). He gets back to many of his fans on questions asked to him and even was kind enough to follow me back on Twitter.