Fantasy Baseball Team Previews: Detroit Tigers
MAR 03, 2014 8:09p ET
Detroit Tigers general manager Dave Dombroski has rolled the dice on trades in the past and it’s paid off. So, when grumblings followed the Prince Fielder (to the Rangers) and Doug Fister (to the Nationals) deals, I remembered this GM managed to secure Miguel Cabrera for, basically, Cameron Maybin (out 2-3 months for Padres) and Andrew Miller (career 5.31 MLB ERA). This team should be more concerned about the long-term health of its 31-year-old ace.
Key losses: Prince Fielder, Doug Fister, Jhonny Peralta
1. Ian Kinsler 2B
2. Torii Hunter RF
3. Miguel Cabrera 1B
4. Victor Martinez DH
5. Andy Dirks LF
6. Austin Jackson CF
7. Alex Avila C
8. Nick Castellanos 3B
9. Jose Iglesias SS
It was Jurickson Profar’s time to shine in Texas and that meant Kinsler needed to relocate. The chip in the deal that sent Fielder to the Rangers, Kinsler provides some speed and healthy on-base percentage (.344) atop the Tigers’ lineup. His 13 home runs last season were about seven off his season average, but he did miss a chunk of time in May and June due to injuries.
After a slow start in 2013, Victor Martinez hit .361 with a .413 OBP in the second half of last season. You’re looking for 15 homers, 75 runs and 100 RBI with an average over .300 in 2014 from V-Mart.
Could we see a more aggressive Austin Jackson in 2014? Ya know, the guy who stole 49 bases between 2010-2011. Tigers’ beat writer Steve Kornacki (more from Steve on the podcast below) thinks Jackson wasn’t awarded the green light often under Jim Leyland. Now that Brad Ausmus is in charge, perhaps he showcases Jackson’s speed once again.
2. Max Scherzer
5. Drew Smyly
CL: Joe Nathan
Justin Verlander is dating Kate Upton. So, good for him. Now about that surgery. Verlander has spent the past two months rehabbing after core-muscle repair surgery in January. But, as of March 3, JV was well ahead of schedule and penciled in to make his first start March 6 against the Phillies. Verlander posted his worst stats in five years last season with a 13-12 record, 3.42 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, and 217 strikeouts.
Popular opinion (see: assumption) suggests the 24-year-old Smyly was getting antsy in the bullpen last season and may have non-verbally forced the Fister deal to open up a spot in the 2014 rotation. In 17 starts during the 2012 season, Smyly boasted an 8.34 K/9 rate.
Nathan was with Kinsler in Texas last season, but signed with the Tigers as a free agent this winter. Desperately needing some stability in the ninth inning (see: Jose Valverde), Nathan converted 80 of 86 saves in two season with the Rangers.
Nick Castellanos (3B) – The big question remains: is he ready? At 22 years old, Castellanos will be baptized by fire at the hot corner this season. To be fair, Castellanos’ natural position is third base, but after Prince Fielder joined the team and Miguel Cabrera had third base on lock, the young prospect started playing more outfield to ensure his advancement to the big leagues. With Fielder gone, Castellanos needs to somewhat relearn the position ... at the highest level.
He hit .276 (.343 OBP) with 18 home runs and 76 RBI at Triple-A Toledo last season.
Bruce Rondon (RP) – Had a chance to win the closer’s role last year, but struggled to lock down the position. He also dealt with some elbow issues. In leagues where HOLDS are collected, Rondon may find a spot on your roster.
Devon Travis (2B) – the 23-year-old prospect led the minor leagues in batting average last year (.351 BA) with 22 stolen bases in 132 games. No place for him to play yet.