Detroit Tigers: Looking at Miguel Cabrera and the Tigers on Paper

Adrian FedkiwAnalyst IIIMarch 29, 2011

Detroit Tigers: Looking at Miguel Cabrera and the Tigers on Paper

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    DETROIT - JULY 25:  Miguel Cabrera #24 of the Detroit Tigers bats during the first inning against the  Toronto Blue Jays on July 25, 2010 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. The Blue Jays defeated the Tigers 5-3.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    The story of the offseason in Detroit has been the well being of Miguel Cabrera.  We all know the story by now.

    As Cabrera continues to fight his demons, I don't see why that will be a hindrance on the baseball diamond.  If anything, playing baseball and being around his teammates is beneficial.

    Pitching wise, Detroit is looking for improvement and breakout seasons from youngsters Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello.  With Justin Verlander as the ace, this is a dangerous staff if they can get positive seasons from those two.

    Victor Martinez was a big signing during the offseason as he adds insurance behind Miguel Cabrera.

    Throughout this article, you will see a number between 7-10 beside each player.  These numbers break the players up into essential categories; here's a rough layout. 

    10: Best player/pitcher in baseball

    9-plus: Superstar, MVP/Cy Young Candidates

    8-plus: Consistent All-Star

    7.5: Periodical All-Star

    7.25: Solid Starter

    7: Average Player


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    DETROIT - JUNE 17:  Brandon Inge #15 of the Detroit Tigers during the game against the Washington Nationals on June 17, 2010 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the Nationals 8-3. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
    Leon Halip/Getty Images

     C Alex Avila: 7

    1B Miguel Cabrera: 9 

    2B Will Rhymes: 7

    SS Jhonny Peralta: 7 

    3B Brandon Inge: 7

    Alex Avila (24) 294 AB .228 BA 28 R 7 HR 31 RBI 2 SB 

    • It looks like the Tigers will have Avila catch with Martinez getting a majority of his starts as the DH.  He's solid behind the plate and has a strong arm. 

    Miguel Cabrera (27) 548 AB .328 BA 111 R 38 HR 126 RBI 3 SB

    • Cabrera puts up huge numbers year-in and year-out, but still tends to get overlooked for whatever reason.  He's got quick and exceptionally strong hands.  He's got a smooth stroke and smokes the ball to all parts of the field.  He's adequate in the field.

    Carlos Guillen (35) 253 AB .273 BA 26 R 6 HR 34 RBI 1 SB

    • Guillen will miss the start of the season due to his knee.  Will Rhymes was named the Opening Day starter.  Guillen's lost bat speed and power over the years, but still knows how to hit.  The former shortstop lacks range, but still has a nice arm.

    Jhonny Peralta (28) 551 AB .249 BA 60 R 15 HR 81 RBI 1 SB

    • Peralta is an aggressive fastball hitter.  He hits the ball hard, but tends to chase pitches out of the strike-zone.  Peralta has good hands and a strong arm, but lacks range for a shortstop.

    Brandon Inge (33) 514 AB .247 BA 47 R 13 HR 70 RBI 4 SB

    • Inge isn't going to hit for average, but has some pop in his bat.  He likes the ball middle-in.  He has very good reaction time at third to go along with a cannon of an arm.


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    NEW YORK - AUGUST 16:  Austin Jackson #14 of the Detroit Tigers makes a catch for an out against the New York Yankees on August 16, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    LF Ryan Rayburn: 7 

    CF Austin Jackson: 7.25

    RF Magglio Ordonez: 7.25

    DH Victor Martinez: 7.75

    Ryan Rayburn (23) 371 AB .280 BA 54 R 15 HR 62 RBI 2 SB

    • Rayburn beat out Brennan Boesch for the starting left field job in Spring Training.  He's an aggressive hitter with an inside-out swing.  He's got decent pop.  He's a versatile defender.  He can play all outfield positions, and and few infield positions. 

    Austin Jackson (24) 618 AB .293 BA 103 R 4 HR 41 RBI 27 SB

    • Jackson likes to go the other way and stays inside the ball.  He's a natural center fielder.  He plays shallow, but makes up a lot of ground with his speed and ability to get great jumps on the ball.  He also has a strong and accurate arm. 

    Magglio Ordonez (37) 323 AB .303 BA 56 R 12 HR 59 RBI 1 SB

    • Ordonez continues to hit well despite his age.  He's hit over .300 in each of the past four seasons.  He has a very smooth swing.  He doesn't cover a lot of ground in the field. 

    Victor Martinez (32) 493 AB .302 BA 64 R 20 HR 79 RBI 1 SB

    • Martinez has hit over .300 in four of the past five seasons.  The switch-hitter has a fluid and smooth swing from both sides.  He generates more power from the right side.

Starting Pitching

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    ATLANTA - JUNE 27:  Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on June 27, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Justin Verlander: 8.5

    Max Scherzer: 7.5

    Rick Porcello; 7

    Brad Penny: 7

    Phil Coke: 7

    Justin Verlander (28) 224 IP 18-9 3.37 ERA 1.16 WHIP 219 K

    • Verlander possesses the best fastball in baseball.  The four seamer gets near 100 MPH, and even his two-seamer is in the mid-90's.  He also mixes in a hard, tilted slider, power slurve and changeup.  

    Max Scherzer (26) 195 IP 12-11 3.50 ERA 1.25 WHIP 184 K

    • Scherzer throws his fastball in the mid-90's and is extremely effective when he commands it for strike.  He has a very good changeup that runs and sinks.  He needs to add another pitch.  His breaking pitches still need some fine tuning.

    Rick Porcello (22) 162 IP 10-12 4.92 ERA 1.39 WHIP 84 K

    • Porcello was extremely effective as a rookie, but struggled in his sophomore season.  He has a good sinking fastball, and downer curveball.  He needs to work on his changeup. 

    Brad Penny (32) 55 IP 3-4 3.23 ERA 1.29 WHIP 35 K

    • Penny got off to a terrific start in St. Louis a year ago before a back injury sidelined him.  In St. Louis, pitching coach Dave Duncan taught Penny a splitter which led to much of his success. 

    Phil Coke (28) 65 IP 7-5 3.76 ERA 1.44 WHIP 53 K

    • Coke converted from reliever to full-time starter.  The Tigers are hoping to strike gold like the Rangers did with C.J. Wilson.  Coke is a fastball, slider and changeup pitcher.


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    NEW YORK - AUGUST 16:  Jose Valverde #46 of the Detroit Tigers celebrates the final out of the game against the New York Yankees on August 16, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Tigers defeated the Yankees 3-1.  (Photo by Ji
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    RP Daniel Schlereth: 7

    RP Joel Zumaya: 7

    RP Ryan Perry: 7

    SU Joaquin Benoit: 7

    CP Jose Valverde: 7.5 

    Joel Zumaya, Daniel Schlereth, Ryan Perry

    • A devastating elbow injury ended Zumaya's 2010 season.  He still throws near 100 MPH, but it's unclear if he's going to be the closer of the future anymore.  He can't stay healthy. 

    Joaquin Benoit (33) 60 IP 1-2 1 SV 1.34 ERA .68 WHIP 75 K

    •  Benoit was outstanding last season after not pitching in 2009 due to shoulder surgery.  As unbelievable as last year was, Benoit's has a career 4.47/1.35 line.  He has a mid-90's fastball to go along with a big breaking slider, and a run and sink changeup.

     Jose Valverde (33)  63 IP 2-4 26 SV 3.00 ERA 1.16 WHIP 63 K

    • Valverde is a two-pitch guy; fastball and splitter.  His fastball is in the mid-90's and his splitter dives late.  He's very emotional on the mound.

Sizing Up the Tigers on Paper

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    LAKELAND, FL - FEBRUARY 21:  Victor Martinez #41 of the Detroit Tigers poses for a portrait during Photo Day on February 21, 2011 at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Florida.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Projected Lineup

    1. Austin Jackson: 7.25

    2. Carlos Guillen: 7

    3. Magglio Ordonez: 7.25

    4. Miguel Cabrera: 9

    5. Victor Martinez: 7.75

    6. Ryan Rayburn: 7

    7. Jhonny Peralta: 7

    8. Brandon Inge: 7

    9. Alex Avila: 7

    Projected Starting Rotation 

    Justin Verlander: 8.5

    Max Scherzer: 7.5

    Rick Porcello; 7.25

    Brad Penny: 7

    Phil Coke: 7


    RP Daniel Schlereth: 7

    RP Joel Zumaya: 7

    RP Ryan Perry: 7

    SU Joaquin Benoit: 7

    CP Jose Valverde: 7.5


    Victor Martinez, Will Rhymes, Brennan Boesch, Ramon Santiago : 7.75


    Jim Leyland: 7.25

    INF: 37

    OF: 21.5

    SP: 37.25

    RP: 7

    CP: 14.5

    MISC: 15

    Hitting: 58.5

    Pitching: 58.75

    TOTAL: 132.25


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    DETROIT - JULY 02:  Max Scherzer #37 of the Detroit Tigers pitches in the third inning during the game against the Seattle Mariners on July 2, 2010 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan.  The Tigers defeated the Mariners 7-1. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Im
    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    If the starting pitching fulfills its potential with Scherzer and Porcello, then a AL Central crown may be within sight.

    Prediction- 84-78 3rd AL Central