There is nothing that should keep the Detroit Tigers from winning the AL Central in 2012.
Last season, the team finished top four in runs scored, batting average, on-base and slugging percentage. The numbers can only get better with the offseason acquisition of first baseman Prince Fielder.
Fielder, 27, agreed to a $214 million, nine-year contract with the 2011 AL Central champions during the offseason and will be side-by-side in the lineup with future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera. Fielder is a career .282 hitter averaging over 32 home runs and 93 RBI per season over the last six years.
Cabrera led the Tigers in all major offensive categories last season with a .344 batting average, 48 doubles, 30 home runs, 105 RBI, a .448 on-base percentage and 197 hits.
One key loss is DH Victor Martinez. He is expected to miss the entire season after suffering a torn ACL in his left knee during offseason training. In 2011, he hit .330 with 12 home runs and 103 RBI.
Returning as the ace is, of course, Justin Verlander, who captured the AL MVP and Cy Young Awards after winning the pitcher's triple crown award with a 2.40 ERA, 24 wins and 250 strikeouts. His WHIP was also eye-popping at 0.92.
Motor City should be revving its engines for another great season of baseball.