2008 MLB Preview: Detroit Tigers

Explanation of ratings system and other team previews here

DETROIT TIGERS

Ranks

Overall – 86 points (2nd MLB, 2nd AL)
Starting Rotation – 33 points (7th MLB, 5th AL)
Line-Up – 39 points (1st MLB, 1st AL)
Bench/Bullpen/Defense – 14 points (T-18th MLB, T-8th AL)

Offseason Additions – Miguel Cabrera, Dontrelle Willis, Edgar Renteria, Jacque Jones
Offseason Subtractions – Sean Casey, Chad Durbin, Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller

Biggest Strength– Line-up

The Tigers sport the best line-up in the majors, and like many Yankees teams of years past, they will likely win 95+ games just by outhitting everyone. 5 of the 9 players in their line-up were all-stars last year, and 2 that weren’t (Renteria and Curtis Granderson) very well could have been. They have to great hitters and baserunners at the top in Curtis Granderson and Placido Polanco followed by 2 legit MVP candidates in Magglio Ordonez and Miguel Cabrera. Following them are two guys that are threats to put up 100 RBI (Carlos Guillen and Gary Sheffield) and even at 7-8 you have to deal with professional hitters Edgar Renteria and Ivan Rodriguez. The only hole in the line-up is Jacque Jones at #9, but they could really just take an out there every time and still put up 5 runs a game.

Biggest Weakness– Bullpen

Any team that has Todd Jones as their closer concerns me. Added to that, the 2 arms that made them dominant in 2006, Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney, have both had health issues in the past year. If they can get healthy, and Zumaya is throwing 103 MPH heat again, this team will be very tough to deal with come playoff time.

Key Player in ’08– Jeremy Bonderman

Bonderman seemed destined for big things after his 2006 season, but things fell apart last year and he finished the year with a 5.01 ERA. The Tigers despirately need Bonderman to pitch in the #2 spot behind Justin Verlander and show the stuff that he did 2 years ago. He is only 25, and has already logged 923 innings in his career. My guess is that last year was a cause of fatigue, and that hopefully, for the Tigers sake, he worked real hard in the offseason to make sure it didn’t happen again.  

Player to Keep an Eye On– Dontrelle Willis

For all the publicity he gets because of his great personality and funky wind-up, Willis was awful in 2007. He had by far the worst year of his career and posted a 5.17 ERA in the very weak National League. However, Willis thrives on energy, and if you saw the hundreds of people that attended Marlins’ games last year, you have to think it was hard for him (or anyone) to get pumped up for games. It will be interesting to see if the year he had last year was a result of his surroundings, or his stuff deteriorating.  

Outlook/Prediction– 1st Place, AL Central. As I said before, the offense on this team will lead them to the playoffs one way or the other. Adding one of the top-5 hitters in the league in Miguel Cabrera to an already potent line-up must have Tigers’ fans dying for opening day. Justin Verlander is a stud at the top of their rotation, and could very well win the Cy Young this year. If this teams wants to bring home the World Series trophy, they will need comeback years from Bonderman and Willis (both possible) and solid work out of their bullpen. They are among a handful of teams I may pick to win it all.

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7 Responses

  1. Although this team looks outstanding on paper, there is just something about this team that doesn’t pass the “smell test.” I might be in the minority on this one, but hear me out.

    First of all, as Pete accurately says, there bullpen is going to be a big problem.

    I’m not sure what to make of their starting rotation. First, I don’t think Dontrelle Willis is that good. He has only had a winning record 1 of the last 4 years (albeit he did play for the Marlins). Each of the last three years his walks have gone up, his strikeouts have gone down, and his ERA has gone up. Perhaps like the Japanese pitchers with unorthodox motions, he has been “figured out.” If this is the case it should help that he has gone to a new league but he won’t be able to sustain it. I think Kenny Rogers is too old to be consistently good and healthy. Robertson has not had a winning record in any of the last three years. Even in Bonderman’s good years he’s only once had an ERA below 4.57.

    Their dominant lineup is filled with injury prone players: Shef, Mags, Guillen. I think injuries will slow down their offense.

    There’s something about this team that makes me hesitant to jump on their wagon. Am I alone on this?

  2. They’re going to miss Andrew Miller, but their offense will carry them into the postseason, where Verlander and Bonderman will be able to do lots of damage.

  3. you do not no what your talking about “Gargs”,the detroit tigers will be the best team in the MLB in 2008, they will go to the playoffs they will go to the world series and they will win, so shut up.

  4. ok gargs.. #1 the “smell of a team dosent affect my judgement much, but maybe im just in the minority on that one..#2 willis is a stud and was a great pickup for the tigers.#3 they dont need your ignorant comments on their bandwagon, they have enough true fans that you can take your bandwagon jumping ass to another club, perhaps the yanks, plenty of your kind there meat….who openly admits to being a bandwagon jumper…such a plug move

  5. Listen the tigers are by far the best offensvive team on paper…I am a true tiger fan and have been waiting for a team like this for a long time. But i am going also to be truthful …There are many issues at hand. (the bull pen), injuries, bonderman returning back to the pitcher of 2006. keeping the rest of the pitching staff rested because of age and last years fatigue problems with the starting pitching because of late innings to make up for the struggling bull pen. Will Dontre Willis return to the pitcher he once was in a detroit tiger uniform…My answer to that is yes. many people forget how good of a catcher mr pudge is. he is great at calling games from behind the plate one of the best ever to play the game…dontre’s best year was the year pudge caught him in flordia the year they won the world series…the tigers are going to score alot of runs this year giving the pitching some room for error. they may make a run at the mlb record for runs scored by a team if everyone stays healthy. But everybody seems to forget are bench players for offensvive depth… marcus thames who as already been told he will get his full share of at bats this season by manager leyland. He is 6th in all of baseball at homeruns to at bats ratio last year. Marcus didn’t even play half the season. Ramon santigo will share time in the infield while in the offseason worked with polanco on his hitting and was one of are best hitters in spring training. He is showing major signs of hitting improvement as well as patience at the plate. Vance Wilson will be making his comeback sometime in may who is a proven hitter and had a great year on the bench in 2006. brandon inge, ryan ryburn, mike hessman and watch out for left fielders timo perez and our upcoming rookie Wilkin Emilio Ramirez he could be something special. Look for these detroit tigers to win 90 games with a crappy bull pen. Also look for Tiger GM Dave Dombroski to make some moves one or two mid season for some bull pen help. He is a true genius and has brought baseball back to detroit thank you some much Mr. dombroski. Tigers will make the playoffs not a doubt in my mind. But the world series is a different question we will have to wait and see if all the players will last the season its a long season but it sure will be a fun one for detroit fans and a much longer one for opposing pitchers.

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