It’s hard to believe that 2006 was half a decade ago. Back then Facebook and Twitter were only for nerds, General Motors wasn’t even in bankruptcy yet—let alone out of it, LeBron James and Brett Favre were beloved heroes rather than super villains, Alex Rodriguez was drug free (as far as we knew ) and the Detroit Tigers unexpectedly made the playoffs and rolled onto the World Series. That was the last time the Tigers made the playoffs…not to mention the first time since 1987.
However, even in 2006 the Tigers failed to do something that they will do this year. Win the AL Central Division. It won’t be easy. The Twins are the Twins and normally find a way to ruin the Tigers’ September, the White Sox added pop to their lineup and Ozzie Guillen can usually crazy talk his team into a few extra wins and, well, the Royals and Indians are in the division too.
It’s really not unreasonable to say the Tigers will win the AL Central. With all due respect to the Indians and Royals this division comes down to a three-team race. The Tigers and White Sox have both apparently taken a step up since last year and the Twins have slipped back. And let’s be honest…the Tigers may have been a Magglio Ordonez broken ankle and a Brennan Boesch free-fall from winning the division last year.
The Tigers might just have the most balanced team in the division with a potent lineup, strong rotation and a bullpen filled with power arms with upside. They have two superstars in Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera, a few rising stars in Austin Jackson and Max Scherzer, brought back the underrated Magglio Ordonez, signed a couple of blue-chip free agents in Victor Martinez and Joaquin Benoit and have a few high-level prospects ready to contribute. Add an experienced manager, aggressive GM, generous owner and fanatic fanbase and you have a lot of the ingredients for a successful season.
Without any more delay, let’s get started with the 10 reasons the Tigers will win the AL Central and, as always, I welcome your comments (or criticisms from White Sox fans).