Detroit Tigers

Detroit Tigers: What to Expect from the Comerica Cats in '12

Can Miguel Cabrera hack third base? If he keeps doing this, will it even matter?
Can Miguel Cabrera hack third base? If he keeps doing this, will it even matter?Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Brandon WarneContributor IIFebruary 27, 2012


Brief 2011 Recap

The Tigers cruised to the AL Central crown in '11, winning the division by 15 games as nary another team in the division finished above .500. Midseason acquisition Doug Fister was dazzling down the stretch, and that basically summed up how the Tigers season went. Certainly, the Tigers were expected to be in the mix in a competitive AL Central, but the club certainly overachieved just a little bit (95-67 real record, 89-73 Pythagorean record). It's probably safe to say that GM Dave Dombrowski took any chance of regression with a grain of salt based on how he proceeded this offseason, though. 



Brief 2012 Prediction

There won't be a single publication that will predict anything other than a repeat performance as Central division champs, and it's for good reason. An offense that collective carried a .773 OPS added one of the premier bats in the game in Prince Fielder, totally and completely assuaging any fears that the offense might fall off after Victor Martinez' knee injury. This team should win 95 games with an outside crack at 100, and should clean up on an AL Central which appears much weaker this year than in season's past. 



Projected Starting Lineup

C- Alex Avila
1B- Prince Fielder
2B- Ryan Raburn
3B- Miguel Cabrera
SS- Jhonny Peralta
LF- Andy Dirks
CF- Austin Jackson
RF- Brennan Boesch
DH- Delmon Young

He may be effectively estranged from his father, but that didn't stop Prince from cashing in at his pops' old digs.
He may be effectively estranged from his father, but that didn't stop Prince from cashing in at his pops' old digs.Jorge Lemus/Getty Images



Top Bench Options

C- Gerald Laird
IF - Ramon Santiago
IF - Brandon Inge
OF - Clete Thomas
UTIL- Don Kelly



Projection Rotation

Justin Verlander
Max Scherzer
Doug Fister
Rick Porcello
Andrew Oliver/Jacob Turner



Projected Bullpen

Jose Valverde
Joaquin Benoit
Octavio Dotel
Phil Coke
Al Alburquerque
Daniel Schlereth
Duane Below 



Top 101 Prospects (According to Kevin Goldstein, Baseball Prospectus)  

 P Jacob Turner (15th)
3B Nick Castellanos (71st)



Why the Tigers Will Contend in ‘12

All the Tigers really need to contend in '12 is to not be a complete and total letdown. The rotation is good but not great after Verlander. Fister is due to regress quite a bit, but should still be a capable hurler in the middle of this rotation and especially in Comerica Park. It would be nice if Porcello could join Scherzer in the ranks of remembering how to whiff guys, but his stuff still plays pretty good in his cavernous home digs.

Turner could make the club out of spring training as a middle reliever, but there's also a good chance he could steal that fifth starter spot in the near future as well. He's a young one to watch. Summarily, this team will win the division barring some sort of catastrophe. 



Why the Tigers Will Not Contend in ‘12

To be succinct, it would take a total and colossal failure or injury bug to hit the Tigers this season to keep the club out of the playoffs. 



Final Prediction:  First, AL Central (out of five)

O/U Wins: 94.5

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices