2016 Record: 86-75 (2nd place AL Central)
Tonight we’ve got the Detroit Tigers, and I have to be honest, I’m still a bit confused as to what they actually did this offseason. They’re basically returning the same squad as last year, with most of their key veterans another year older.
Apparently the Tigers beat writers hate Deep Fried Bets so we won’t have anyone joining us to break down Detroit. If any of the writers that I sent questions to get back with me I promise I'll post the interview!
When most of your best players are on the wrong side of 30 that might not be the best strategy. The Tigers were involved in all kinds of rumors in the offseason but nothing really came to fruition. Now let’s see how my projections think they’ll stack up in 2017.
Offensively I think the Tigers will still be a pretty solid club as I’ve currently got them slotted 5th in the AL, so scoring runs shouldn't be a problem for them. I’ve still got faith in Miggy and I think we’ll see a bit of a bounce back from Upton. Depending on what happens in center they could be even better, or slightly worse. Currently I’ve got their projected lineup as my 4th best in the American League.
As for the pitching, I think that could be a bit of a different story. When Fulmer and Verlander are on the mound I think they’ll be fine; however, that’s only 2 out of every 5 starts presuming they don’t miss any. I’m not at all in love with the back end of their rotation and as a whole I’ve got their rotation slotted 12th in the American League. As we’ve come to expect with the Tigers, the bullpen isn’t doing them any favors either. My projections have the Tigers' bullpen ranked last in the AL. All in all, my projections rated the Tigers pitching staff 14th in the league, ahead of only the Twins. I know that seems harsh for a team with two front end starters, but I’m thinking Verlander falls off a little bit from last year and like I said the back end of the rotation is pretty rough. They better hope the offense is even better than I projected.
The current O/U on the Tigers is set at around 83.5, and I’m not so sure they get there. I really do like the offense and as I said I think they’ll be fine when Verlander and Fulmer start. However, outside of that I’m not sold on this squad. I think they’ll have their moments and there will be some games where you think they could do some damage, but I ultimately think they go under 83.5 wins.
As I’ve said the past few days, I don’t think this division is very good outside of Cleveland and I think it will show in overall records. It’s been since 2014 since a division didn’t have multiple 80 game winners but I really think that’s something we could see in the AL Central in 2017.
I hate to do it but I don’t see a huge win total here either. I think we’ll see around 80 wins for the Tigers in 2017 and they might try and finally offload some of their older guys midseason. I’ll go with 80-82 as my final prediction.