2011 MLB Preview: Detroit Tigers

Ryan GaydosSenior Analyst IMarch 9, 2011

LAKELAND, FL - MARCH 04: Charlie Furbush #49 of the Detroit Tigers pitches in the fifth inning during the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Joker Marchant Stadium on March 4, 2011 in Lakeland, Florida.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

9 Innings Blog will be bringing you previews of every Major League Baseball team for the next 30 days. This is in accordance with our 30 teams in 30 days series. Today, we are going to take a look at the 2011 preview of the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers look to turn some heads in the AL Central, something they have not done since 2006 when they barely lost the AL Central title and they made it to the World Series before losing to St. Louis.

However, I don’t think this year could be the year.

The Tigers saw themselves finish last year at .500 with an 81-81 record and 13 games behind the division-winning Minnesota Twins. There was much spark within the offense last year, but also much controversy with the pitching.

If you lived under a rock last year and are just finding this information out now, Tigers RHP Armando Galarraga got robbed of a perfect game by umpire Jim Joyce who called a batter safe when clearly replay evidence showed that the batter was out. Joyce commented by saying, “I just cost that kid a perfect game, I thought he beat the throw. I was convinced he beat the throw, until I saw the replay.”

That was the highlight of the season for all of Major League Baseball as well as the Tigers organization. But, 1B Miguel Cabrera tried to put that away with his dominance last season. Cabrera hit 38 homers and drove in 126 RBI while batting a rousing .328. He had a great season.

Austin Jackson also had a great year, finishing second in Rookie of the Year voting hitting .293 with 103 runs, 181 hits and 27 stolen bases.

On the other side of the ball, Justin Verlander enjoyed a nice 18-9 record with a 3.37 ERA and 200 plus strikeouts last year.

The Tigers did have a very busy offseason. They traded away Galarraga to the Diamondbacks. They signed big free agent Victor Martinez and got Brad Penny to replace Galarraga. They also got Joaquin Benoit to help tie down the shaky bullpen.

Do the Tigers have what it takes to make it back to the playoffs? Yes. However, with the drama surrounding Cabrera’s DUI and the fact the Verlander has had up and down years, I do not think the Tigers make it to the playoffs this year. Sorry, Tigers’ fans.

Key Addition: Victor Martinez, DH

Breakout Player: Max Scherzer, SP

Prediction: Third AL Central

CA: Alex Avila
1B: Miguel Cabrera
2B: Will Rhymes
3B: Brandon Inge
SS: Jhonny Peralta
OF: Austin Jackson
OF: Magglio Ordonez
OF: Ryan Raburn
DH: Victor Martinez

Pitching Rotation
SP: Justin Verlander
SP: Max Scherzer
SP: Rick Porcello
SP: Phil Coke
SP: Brad Penny

RP: Enrique Gonzalez
RP: Brad Thomas
RP: Daniel Schlereth
RP: Joel Zumaya
RP: Ryan Perry
RP: Joaquin Benoit
CP: Jose Valverde

INF Ramon Santiago
UTL Don Kelly
OF Brennan Boesch
OF Casper Wells

Top Prospects
1). Jacob Turner, RHP
2). Nick Castellanos, 3B
3). Andy Oliver, LHP
4). Francisco Martinez, 3B
5). Daniel Schlereth, RHP