Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press
Most Impressive Hitter: CF Austin Jackson (22-for-50, 5 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 16 R)
After a big 2012 season, Jackson took a step backward last year, as his OPS fell from .856 to .754. With the addition of Ian Kinsler, he can finally move out of the leadoff spot, where his high strikeout rate has been a detriment. He's had a huge spring hitting primarily fifth, and he could in for a big age-27 season.
Most Disappointing Hitter: C Alex Avila (14-for-46, 3 2B, 3 RBI, 8 R, 21 K)
The .304 average is solid, but it's impossible to ignore the 21 strikeouts in 46 at-bats that Avila has posted this spring. A legitimate MVP candidate in 2011, the 27-year-old has fallen off substantially since, and he hit just .227/.317/.376 last year. The team doesn't really have a replacement option for him, so at this point it will be Avila behind the plate for better or worse.
Most Impressive Pitcher: SP Justin Verlander (20 IP, 0 ER, 8 H, 5 BB, 17 K)
Far from his usual dominant self last year, Verlander finally turned it on down the stretch and on into the postseason as he looked to reclaim his spot among the game's best. Surgery on a core muscle slowed him early on this spring, but he has been nearly unhittable upon returning and is ready to take the ball on Opening Day once again.
Most Disappointing Pitcher: SP Rick Porcello (18.1 IP, 16 ER, 27 H, 2 BB, 15 K)
Porcello has not gotten much love over the years, despite piling up 61 wins before his 25th birthday, and he was a solid 13-8 with a 4.32 ERA in 29 starts last season. However, he has been roughed up pretty good this spring, with opponents hitting .333 against him, and he will need to snap out of it quick.
Surprise Roster-Spot Winner: SS Alex Gonzalez (1-for-3, 1 RBI)
It's not so much a surprise that Gonzalez won a roster spot as it is a surprise that he is on the roster at all. The injury to Jose Iglesias sent the Tigers scrambling, and it looks like Gonzalez will get the bulk of the at-bats at shortstop to start off the year. He played in just 41 games last season, primarily at first base, but he was a plus defender during his days as an everyday shortstop.
Surprise Roster Cut: RP Blaine Hardy (12.1 IP, 3 ER, 11 H, 6 BB, 7 K)
It appears to have be down to Hardy and Evan Reed for the final bullpen spot, and the non-roster invitee will likely lose out in this case despite solid overall numbers this spring. The left-hander was 8-3 with a 1.67 ERA in 91.2 innings of work between Double-A and Triple-A last year, and at 27 years old is still looking for his first taste of the major leagues.