MLB Trade Deadline 2012: Post-Deadline Predictions for Detroit Tigers
There are striking resemblances to the the start of the first half of the season and the start of the second half of the season for Detroit. In the first half, the Tigers were red hot, winning at an impressive rate and starting the season 9-3. They proceeded to lose seven of their next eight games and had a disappointing first half to their season.
The second half was off to a great start for the Tigers, winning nine of the first 12 games and hitting the cover off the ball. They are now in a slump, losing five of six after the blistering second-half start.
The similarities to each half are eerie, but hopefully the same trend does not continue for this talented team.
Now that the trade deadline has passed, here is what I believe will happen to this unpredictable Tigers team.
V-Mart Won't Be Back
Victor Martinez went down with an awful knee injury this past offseason, seemingly ending the Tigers' postseason hopes.
However, this was somewhat of a blessing in disguise because if it weren't for this injury, general manager Dave Dombrowski may not have gone out and signed slugger Prince Fielder.
Martinez is a huge loss to the lineup regardless of who the team picked up in the offseason, but they now have two great hitters instead of one.
According to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com, the return of V-Mart is becoming less likely, only a 50-50 chance. Martinez still has not been able to run and can't put full weight on his knee yet.
Don't expect this big bat to return to the middle of the lineup this season for the Tigers, but he will be back in full force next season as the team's designated hitter.
Cabrera Will Win MVP
This may be a really bold prediction, but I can't see anyone else except possibly Mike Trout of the Angels winning the American League MVP Award.
Cabrera is arguable the best hitter in the league, and with Josh Hamilton struggling to find his swing in Texas, Cabrera might just be the favorite to take home the award.
The 29-year-old, right-handed slugger has taken advantage of the addition of Prince Fielder in the lineup protecting him. Cabrera is hitting .322 with 25 home runs and 85 RBI. His average is good for fourth in the American League and his 85 RBI lead Major League Baseball.
Cabrera has yet to hit less than 30 home runs and 100 RBI as a Tiger since acquired by the team in 2008 and his average in that time frame is well above the .300 mark.
He has had many MVP-caliber seasons, but this will be the year he finally gets what he deserves.
Prince Will Finish with an Average over .300
Yes, the rumors are true: Prince Fielder has never finished a season with a .300 average or better. This may come as a shock to many people considering Prince is a great hitter.
Prince has pop in his bat, there's not doubt about that, but somehow he has failed to relay that pop into contact hitting.
This season has been a different story for Fielder. He is batting .301 with 16 home runs and 72 RBI, making for some good stats in his first year as a Tiger. He is well below his usual home run pace, having only hit less than 30 home runs in a season just once.
His bat will heat up with power, it's just a matter of time, but the real question is whether he can keep up the .300-plus average for the remainder of the year. He has been hovering around that mark and seems to be fighting to keep above it.
He looks like a different hitter this season and I believe he will ride the season out with style, finishing with an impressive .306 average, 28 home runs and 111 RBI. Just a hunch.
Omar Infante Will Be Just What Tigers Needed
Infante is off to a slow start with his new team. Well, his old team that he was newly traded to. All confusion aside, Infante's numbers this season with the Miami Marlins have been something the Tigers have been searching for.
Infante is hitting just .192 in eight games with the Tigers, but that is just a small sample size of what the newly-acquired second basemen can do for this team.
He is a solid everyday second basemen that will prove to be just what the doctor ordered. He was batting .287 with eight home runs and 33 RBI before the trade and those are the kind of numbers desired by the Tigers for their second basemen.
He just completed a lineup that was lacking a solid hitter at the position and he is going to keep this team in contention with his bat and his glove.
The Tigers Will Win the Central Division
Although the Tigers look to be struggling again, losing five of six games and only scoring over three runs once in that span, this is a team that can break out any time.
Yes, we can say this a million times in a season, but this team has the look of a contender and the second they get hot, teams will be well aware.
It has been a season-long struggle trying to get the Tigers to play to their full potential, but Jim Leyland has been in this situation before and will know what to do. The team should place their trust in him and listen to the words of wisdom he provides, no matter how harsh his words can be.
This team is far too talented to finish in any other spot in the division but first place. They have an improved Austin Jackson, a rising star in Quintin Berry, a dynamic duo with Fielder and Cabrera and the best pitcher in the game in Justin Verlander.
The Tigers will be poised to make a run and they will win the division race over the Chicago White Sox by 3.5 games.
Mark my words.