The Detroit Tigers won the American League Central division by 15 games in 2011. Then they went out this winter and invested $214 million in Prince Fielder and made themselves even better. It’s hard to look at 2012 and think that anything will be any different this year.
The Tigers lost Victor Martinez for the year with a knee injury and frankly they probably will not feel the loss. Defensively the Tigers won’t be strong, but it’s likely that won’t matter much. The Tigers scored more runs last year than all but three teams in the major leagues. That’s before adding Prince Fielder and of course last year’s late acquisition of Delmon Young.
This year’s everyday lineup projects something like this
CF Austin Jackson (.270/.335/.390, .323)
RF Brennan Boesch (.279/.337/.469, .347)
3B Miguel Cabrera (.329/.422/.582, .424)
1B Prince Fielder (.285/.404/.552, .394)
DH Delmon Young (.287/.325/.447, .332)
C Alex Avila (.277/.376/.477, .367)
SS Jhonny Peralta (.274/.336/.438, .337)
LF Andy Dirks (.271/.321/.425, .327)
2B Ryan Raburn (.264/.324/.457, .336)
Reigning American League Cy Young and MVP winner Justin Verlander are returns to anchor a serviceable pitching staff.
Living in the American League Central division the Tigers will dodge the loaded Yankees, Rays, and Rangers. It would appear that if the Tigers can stay healthy, they have a ticket punched for playing in October.