1. Justin Verlander
2. Doug Fister
3. Max Scherzer
4. Anibal Sanchez
5. Rick Porcello
The Tigers have one of, if not the strongest, starting rotations in all of baseball. Justin Verlander is still the best starting pitcher on the planet, and any team that can throw him on the mound every five games is dangerous.
Doug Fister is a consistent, reliable No. 2 who sports a career WHIP of 1.180. Scherzer strikes out a ton of batters, almost matching Verlander's totals in far less innings, and Sanchez is as good of a No. 4 starter as you're going to find. Porcello is a clear step down but threw a solid 174 innings in 2012.
The Jays starters certainly match up in terms of talent. However, the curse of talent may be revealed in the Tigers experience and consistency and how Dickey, Johnson and Buehrle adjust to the AL East.
1. Austin Jackson
2. Torii Hunter
3. Miguel Cabrera
4. Prince Fielder
5. Victor Martinez
6. Andy Dirks
7. Jhonny Peralta
8. Alex Avila
9. Omar Infante
The Tigers scored 726 runs in 2012, good for sixth in the American League just ahead of the Blue Jays.
They've added Torii Hunter, who had arguably his best offensive season last year, and Victor Martinez, whose .303 career batting average will certainly help in the middle of the lineup. Add that the Tigers were second in the AL in OBP last year, and the math points to that run total going up.
The Jays run total will most certainly go up from 2012, but not as high as Detroit's.
Bruce Rondon (CL)
After the Jose Valverde implosion, the Tigers are rolling with rookie Bruce Rondon as their closer for 2013. Manager Jim Leyland seems to think he's ready, and if Rondon has the stuff, rookie closers can often take hitters by surprise.
Coke was the reluctant closer in Detroit's playoff run, Benoit struck out 84 batters in 71 innings in 2012 and Brayan Villarreal showed he belongs in the major leagues.
The real question mark is Rondon and whether he can anchor the Tigers bullpen. Either way, this is a stronger group than the Jays have.
The Jays are good, but the Tigers are better. Detroit, after going to the World Series last year, has added two .300 hitters in Hunter and Martinez and have a deep, consistent rotation. The Jays have the potential to be better than the Tigers—much better—but until that actually happens, Detroit will be the stronger side.