Category Archives: Detroit Tigers

2018 AL East Predictions

  1. Cleveland Indians

The Cleveland Indians are one of the best teams in the MLB and they are the clear favorites to once again win the AL Central in 2018. Cleveland has arguably the best starting rotation in the MLB as they are led by star pitchers Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco. However, the Indians have a very deep starting rotation with pitchers like Trevor Bauer and Danny Salazar also being decent starting pitchers. Cleveland possibly has an even better bullpen with elite closer Cody Allen to go along with elite setup man Andrew Miller and quality late-inning option Dan Otero. Cleveland’s pitching staff is the strength of the team, but they also have a very good offense. Jose Ramirez, Francisco Lindor, and Edwin Encarnacion are all all-star caliber hitters. However, the Indians also have some quality depth in their lineup from top to bottom. Jason Kipnis, Michael Brantley, Lonnie Chisenhall, and Bradley Zimmer have all proven that they can be quality hitters. However, they will need to improve if the Indians lineup reaches its full potential in 2018. If those 4 guys can improve this season then Cleveland could make the case that they are the best team in the MLB.

2. Minnesota Twins

Minnesota surprisingly sneaked its way into the playoffs last season, but now they have made some improvements this offseason to possibly make their team even better. The Twins already had a very good lineup as they had breakout seasons from players like Eddie Rosario, Jorge Polanco, and Miguel Sano. Minnesota also has proven veterans Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer that can still produce at a high level on offense. The main concern for the Twins is their pitching. The Twins did acquire Jake Odorizzi via trade recently and that will provide some much needed depth for their rotation. Minnesota also has emerging star pitcher Jose Berrios who should continue to get better in 2018. However, the back end of the Twins rotation is a complete mess right now as they need more production from pitchers like Kyle Gibson and Adalberto Mejia. Minnesota will be without ace Ervin Santana due to injury until May, so the rest of the rotation will need to step up. The Twins starting rotation has the potential to be good, but they will need Santana to come back healthy and be the player that he was last season and they will need Berrios and Odorizzi to continue to improve. Minnesota’s bullpen wasn’t very good last season, but they made a few moves to improve in that area for 2018. Fernando Rodney is the team’s new closer, although he has been inconsistent in recent years. Addison Reed was a terrific addition for Minnesota as he will be a very reliable 8th inning option for Minnesota. Also, the addition of Zach Duke should provide some depth to Minnesota’s bullpen in the middle innings. Minnesota’s bullpen is a complete unknown heading into 2018, but it should be better than it was last season. Either way, Minnesota should be a playoff contender in 2018, although they likely don’t have the pitching to be able to compete with the Indians in the AL central.

3. Chicago White Sox

Chicago is a team on the rise despite starting the rebuilding process not too long ago as they have many elite prospects that could make an impact at the MLB level in 2018. Jose Abreu, Avisail Garcia, Matt Davidson, and Tim Anderson are the players that should carry the White Sox offense in 2018. However, they also added catcher Welington Castillo this offseason and that should make the White Sox lineup even better in 2018. However, the White Sox could be have really good lineup if elite 2nd base prospect Yoan Moncada improves in 2018. Chicago has major weaknesses in left field and center field heading into the 2018 season, but the rest of the lineup should be good enough to be an above average offense. The White Sox starting pitching rotation is unproven for the most part, but it does have the potential to be a very good rotation in 2018. The keys will be talented young pitchers Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez who will need to prove why they were such highly touted prospects. If those guys can pitch like we know they can then it will automatically make the White Sox rotation good. Carson Fulmer is another young pitcher with tremendous potential and he pitched well in 7 starts for the White Sox last season. James Shields and Miguel Gonzalez are the veteran pitchers of the group and Chicago is hoping that they can return to the players that they were several years ago. We’ll see if the White Sox rotation is good in 2018, but Fulmer, Lopez, and Giolito will need to be good if this rotation reaches its outstanding potential. The White Sox bullpen also could be decent as they have veterans Joakim Soria and Nate Jones at the back end of their bullpen. Soria is a proven closer and he should help to solidify that role and Nate Jones is an outstanding setup man as he proved once again last season. However, the rest of the White Sox bullpen is inexperienced and not very good. They will need somebody to step up in the 7th inning and middle relief roles if the White Sox want to have a good bullpen. Overall, Chicago should be an improved team in 2018 and they do have tremendous potential because of the great prospects that they will have on their team in 2018. However, this team is still rebuilding and they are likely a year or two away from playoff contention unless their pitching can make great improvements in 2018.

4. Kansas City Royals

It was a very rough offseason for the Kansas City Royals as they basically lost their 3 best position players Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, and Mike Moustakas. However, that wasn’t the only players that they lost as they also didn’t retain Melky Cabrera, Jason Vargas, and Joakim Soria. The team still has Salvador Perez, Whit Merrifield, and Alex Gordon to carry the offense in 2018. However, the rest of the lineup is basically filled with unproven or unproductive players. Cheslor Cuthbert, Jorge Soler, and Jorge Bonifacio all need to make improvments if the Royals want to have a good lineup in 2018. Also, young players like Hunter Dozier and Paulo Orlando will need to make contributions in 2018. Perez, Gordon, and Merrifield are enough to make the Royals offense decent, but for their offense to be successful then they will need other position players to step up. The Kansas City Royals starting pitching rotation appears to have major issues as well. Danny Duffy is the clear ace of the Royals pitching staff, but the problem is he is the only reliable starter that they have. Ian Kennedy and Jason Hammel are both proven veteran pitchers in the MLB, but they both were absolutely terrible last season. The Royals need Kennedy and Hammel to improve quite a bit if they even want a decent starting rotation. It is unclear who the 4th or 5th starters will be in the Royals rotation, but Kansas City needs at least somebody else besides Duffy to step up and have a good 2018 season or else the Royals will have a very poor rotation. The Royals bullpen also could be a weakness in 2018 especially after they lost Joakim Soria this offseason. Kelvin Herrera is the team’s closer and he is a decent option in that role, although he struggled for the team last season. Brandon Maurer is the new 8th-inning guy for Kansas City after being acquired this offseason, but he was absolutely terrible last season. The Royals absolutely need Herrera and Maurer to be much better in 2018 or else the Royals bullpen could be very bad. Either way, the Royals need some more depth in their bullpen even if those two guys return to form in 2018. Kansas City is clearly rebuilding their roster once again and they don’t appear to even have a shot at making the playoffs this season.

5. Detroit Tigers

Detroit still has some big bats in the middle of their lineup with Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, and Alex Castellanos. However, the problem is that the rest of the lineup isn’t very good and they probably won’t help the other 3 guys out very much. Cabrera and Martinez also are getting older and they didn’t have very good seasons in 2017 especially by their standards. If the Tigers have any hope of scoring runs in 2018 then they will need Cabrera and Martinez to step up and return to the all-star caliber players that they once were. The bullpen also appears to be a weakness as they don’t have much depth besides Shane Greene and Alex Wilson. Greene was a very good late-inning option for the Tigers last season and he figures to provide the team with a good closer. Alex Wilson had a down 2017 season, but he is likely to bounce back in 2018 and he is still a quality setup man. However, Detroit needs another relief pitcher to step up if they even want to have a decent bullpen. The strength of Detroit’s team is clearly their pitching staff. Michael Fulmer is the new ace of their rotation and he should continue to get even better in 2018 as he gains more experience at the MLB level. Jordan Zimmermann once was a terrific pitcher, but since he signed with Detroit he has been absolutely terrible. However, Matt Boyd and Daniel Norris are the keys to the success of the Tigers starting rotation. Both Boyd and Norris are talented starting pitchers, although they both had a very disappointing 2017. If they bounce back and at least become decent pitchers then the Tigers could have a good starting rotation. Detroit still has some good players, but they are in a clea rebuilding mode and it doesn’t appear that they have much hope at all for the 2018 season.


Tigers trade Kinsler to the Angels

The Detroit Tigers continued their rebuild on Wednesday as they traded veteran 2nd baseman Ian Kinsler to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for outfielder Troy Montgomery and right-handed pitcher Wilkel Hernandez.


Tigers grade:

This trade makes some sense for the Tigers as they clearly aren’t going to be in a position to compete next season as they are just beginning what could be a lengthy rebuild. That is why it was good that they traded away Ian Kinsler since he is nearing the end of his career and he will now have a chance to compete for a playoff spot elsewhere. This move makes sense for the Tigers mainly because it allows them to cut $11 million from their payroll by having the Angels take up his entire 2018 salary. That isn’t a lot of money to pay a player like Kinsler, but the Tigers need to cut costs wherever they can especially with an aging veteran player that won’t help them much. Meanwhile, I’m not quite excited about the prospects that Detroit is receiving in this deal. Outfielder Troy Montgomery was the 20th ranked prospect in the Angels farm system according to However, the Angels don’t have a very good minor league system which means that Montgomery isn’t a very quality prospect. Montgomery doesn’t provide much power or offensive ability as he only had 8 home runs last season in 100 minor league games. He does have decent speed as he has 28 stolen bases in 2 minor league seasons and doesn’t have a very impressive batting average as he hit only .271 last season. Montgomery is a good fielder, but he needs to improve his offensive ability if he wants to reach the MLB anytime soon. The other prospect that Detroit received is right-handed pitcher Wilkel Hernandez who was the 24th ranked prospect in the Angels minor league system. Hernandez is only an 18-year old who was an international free agent signing by the Angels in 2016. He has some upside, but he is still a very raw prospect that will take many years for the Tigers to develop. However, he has pitched well mainly as a starting pitcher in rookie ball as he is 6-1 with a 2.28 ERA in 17 games pitched. Maybe the Tigers could have acquired more for Kinsler, but now they can continue their rebuild and give another young player an opportunity to play 2nd base.

Grade: C+


Angels grade:

I really like this trade for the Angels as it gives them an all-star caliber player at a position that they have struggled at recently. Kinsler’s production declined last season as he hit only .236 for Detroit, but he still has solid power as he hit 22 home runs in 2017. Kinsler is a very good defensive 2nd baseman as proven by his gold glove award in 2016, yet he is a significant upgrade offensively over what the Angels had at the position last season. Kinsler is likely just a temporary solution at 2nd base since he is 35 years old and he is entering the final year of his contract. However, Kinsler should help the Angels improve in 2018 and that might be enough to push them into the playoffs.

Grade: B+

ian kinsler

J.D. Martinez traded to the Diamondbacks

The Detroit Tigers made a major trade on Tuesday by sending star right fielder J.D. Martinez to the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for minor league prospects Dawel Lugo, Sergio Alcantara, and Jose King.


Diamondbacks analysis/grade:

I certainly didn’t see Arizona making a big deal like this at the trade deadline, but it certainly shows that the team is doing whatever necessary to try and make a deep playoff run this season. J.D. Martinez gives the Diamondbacks yet another dangerous bat to put in the middle of their lineup and he will help out in an outfield that has a glaring need in left field with Yasmany Tomas on the disabled list. The issue that I have for the Diamondbacks with this trade is that Martinez is essentially just a rental for the rest of the season and it is unlikely that the team would be able to retain him in free agency after the season. Martinez makes the Diamondbacks lineup one of the best in baseball and it probably makes the team better a little bit. However, this trade only guarantees them a wild card spot because they probably won’t close the gap on the Dodgers in the division anytime soon. Arizona already had tons of right-handed hitters in their lineup and they would have been better off trying to trade for a quality left-handed batter for more balance. The Diamondbacks still need bullpen help the most if they want to make it anywhere in the playoffs and that is where their focus should be at the trade deadline. This trade will be great if Martinez re-signs with the Diamondbacks in free agency, but that is relatively unlikely to happen. That is why I can’t give Arizona a great grade since they are giving up 3 quality young prospects in exchange for a player that they might only have for a total of 3 months.

Grade: B-


Tigers analysis/grade:

This trade signals that Detroit is ready to move on from their aging star players and start to build a team that will be younger and more competitive in a few years. J.D. Martinez has been the Tigers best hitter this season, but the Tigers still aren’t a competitive team even with him on their roster as they sit at 42-49 on the season. Obviously, Detroit isn’t going to be a playoff team this season which is why it made tons of sense to trade away Martinez now rather than lose him for nothing at the end of the season. Detroit had one of the worst farm systems in the MLB before this trade and this trade won’t improve their farm system much. However, this trade at least gives the Tigers some quality young prospects to work with and it is a good start to trying to build a more competitive team. The prize of this deal for the Tigers is 3rd baseman Dawel Lugo who was the 2nd best prospect in Arizona’s minor league system according to Baseball America. Lugo doesn’t hit for much power, but he still is a tremendous offensive player because he hits for average and he doesn’t strike out much. The Tigers also received shortstop Sergio Alcantara who was the 15th best prospect in Arizona’s farm system according to Alcantara is ranked that high of a prospect mostly because of his outstanding defensive abilities as he is a good fielder and he has a strong arm as well. Alcantara doesn’t do much offensively as he only has 6 career home runs in 374 career minor league games. However, if he can continue to develop a respectable offensive capability then he projects well as a bench player at the MLB level, although he will mostly be used as a defensive replacement late in games. Finally, the Tigers acquired 18-year old shortstop prospect Jose King in the trade. King only has 13 games of experience in the minor leagues, so it is a complete unknown as to how he will turn out. However, he has shown an ability to steal bases and he hit for a good average while playing in the Dominican Republic. There aren’t really high expectations for King with the Tigers, but he is still young and it is worth it to see if the team can develop him. Detroit could have gotten better prospects if they had decided to trade Martinez maybe a year ago. However, this trade shows that the team is finally heading in the right direction and they are starting to rebuild a farm system that has not been good in recent years.

Grade: A

jd martinez

Season Outlook: Detroit Tigers

Projected 2017 Starting Lineup:

  1. Ian Kinsler – 2nd baseman
  2. J.D. Martinez – Right Fielder
  3. Miguel Cabrera – 1st baseman
  4. Victor Martinez – Designated Hitter
  5. Justin Upton – Left Fielder
  6. Nick Castellanos – 3rd baseman
  7. James McCann – Catcher
  8. Tyler Collins – Center Fielder
  9. Jose Iglesias – Shortstop

Projected 2017 Starting Rotation:

  1. Justin Verlander
  2. Michael Fulmer
  3. Jordan Zimmermann
  4. Anibal Sanchez
  5. Daniel Norris

Season Outlook:

It appears that Cleveland will win the AL Central in 2017, but the Tigers are a team that certainly could contend for a wild card spot. The first five players in the Tigers lineup looks really good with Ian Kinsler, J.D. Martinez, Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, and Justin Upton. As long as those guys stay healthy then they should produce the bulk of the offensive production for Detroit. Cabrera is a legitimate MVP candidate every year, but last year he struggled to stay healthy. Cabrera and Victor Martinez are key to the team’s success since they are the most consistent hitters that the team has, but they are both getting old which could affect them in 2017. Meanwhile, the Tigers starting rotation looks very deep and talented on paper especially with Justin Verlander, Michael Fulmer, and Jordan Zimmermann. Anibal Sanchez and Daniel Norris are very good options at the back end of the rotation as well, although they just struggle with consistency. The Tigers bullpen appears to be a weakness heading into 2017, although Francisco Rodriguez is a good closer. This team does have some weaknesses, but their lineup and pitching rotation both have the potential to be very good in 2017. If the Tigers key players can stay healthy then I see no reason that they can’t compete for a playoff spot in 2017.

Prediction: 2nd place in the AL Central


Biggest need remaining for every AL Central team

Chicago White Sox – Biggest need: Centerfielder

This team has needs all over the place especially after trading away Adam Eaton and Chris Sale this offseason. However, the centerfield position seems to be a complete mystery for the White Sox heading into 2017. Adam Eaton was supposed to be in that role, but now that he was traded away then the team doesn’t have much left. Charles Tilson and Leury Garcia will compete for the starting job, but neither player has much MLB experience. Tilson has only 2 at-bats at the MLB level and Garcia has had a little more experience, but he is a career .188 hitter in 308 at-bats. Tilson figures to be the starter as of right now, although it would be smart for the White Sox to bring in a more experienced centerfielder as a temporary solution.

Cleveland Indians – Biggest need: Centerfielder

Cleveland doesn’t seem to be interested in re-signing last year’s starter in centerfield Rajai Davis, so it likely means the team will have a new starter at that position in 2017. Tyler Naquin is projected to be the team’s starting centerfielder, but he hit only .174 in 23 at-bats for Cleveland last season. The Indians should probably bring in some more depth at the position because who knows how well Naquin will perform as the everyday centerfielder.

Detroit Tigers – Biggest need: Centerfielder

The Tigers traded away Cameron Maybin who was the starter in centerfield for the team last season. However, the issue is that the team hasn’t found a decent replacement for Maybin as they are projected to have the inexperienced JaCoby Jones as the starter in 2017. Jones only has 28 career at-bats and he has only hit .214, so it is a complete unknown as to how well he’ll play at that position. The team also has Tyler Collins and Anthony Gose as options in centerfield, but neither of those guys is exciting.

Kansas City Royals – Biggest need: 2nd base

The Royals have 3 young players that could win the starting 2nd base job for the Royals in 2017, but none of the players are great options. Whit Merrifield will probably be the starter at 2nd base, but he only has one career season of experience as he hit .283 with 2 home runs. Christian Colon and Raul Mondesi both have more experience than Merrifield, but Mondesi is just a .185 career hitter and Colon is a .268 career hitter. Kansas City should at least add a veteran 2nd baseman in order to compete with Merrifield.

Minnesota Twins – Biggest need: Centerfielder

It wasn’t too long ago that centerfielder Byron Buxton was the top prospect in all of the MLB, but he has struggled tremendously to start his career. Buxton had 10 home runs with a .225 average last season for the Twins and the team is hoping that he can develop some more in 2017. Buxton can make remarkable defensive plays at times in centerfield, but it doesn’t matter much if he can’t produce consistently on offense. Danny Santana is a decent backup, but he isn’t nearly as talented as Buxton is. The Twins should sign a veteran centerfielder just in case Buxton struggles again in 2017.

Tigers sign Avila to a 1-year deal

The Detroit Tigers added to their catching depth by signing veteran catcher Alex Avila to a 1-year/$2 million deal. Avila has spent most of his career with the Tigers as their starting catcher, but he left the Tigers to spend one season with the White Sox in 2016. Avila now will reunite with his dad Al Avila who is the Tigers general manager. However, Avila will not be the starting catcher for Detroit in 2017 as James McCann has that role locked down. Avila provides the Tigers with a decent backup catcher as he has the ability to hit home runs which should be useful when he receives some playing time. Avila hit 7 home runs in limited time for Chicago last season, but his problem has been that he can’t hit consistently. Avila strikes out too much and he has only been a .240 career hitter and he hit an even worse .213 average with the White Sox last season. It is great to see Avila back with the Tigers, but at this point he is nothing more than a backup that can fill in occasionally for James McCann. This signing provides some more stability for the Tigers at the catcher position. Avila might not be an all-star caliber catcher like he was before, but he provides some more depth at the catcher position for the Tigers at least.

Grade: B


Free Agent that every AL Central team should re-sign.

Chicago White Sox – Alex Avila – Catcher – 2016: .213 avg. and 7 home runs

Alex Avila isn’t even close to being the all-star caliber catcher that he was during the 2011 season with the Detroit Tigers. However, Avila still has pretty good power for a catcher and he is still probably worth the White Sox re-signing because he can be a useful backup catcher at least. It’s difficult to find quality catchers these days and bringing back Avila at least as a backup would be a good move since he will be cheap to re-sign and he still has a lot of talent even though he has struggled in recent years.

Cleveland Indians – Mike Napoli – 1st baseman – 2016: .239 avg. and 34 home runs

Napoli was probably the one player that turned Cleveland from not just a playoff contender, but rather into a world series team. Napoli hit 34 home runs last season and he was the consistent power source that the Indians had been lacking in previous years. Napoli is 35 years old which means he won’t be getting a very long deal this offseason, yet it is worth it for Cleveland to keep him for at least another year or two.

Detroit Tigers – Jarrod Saltalamacchia – Catcher – 2016: .171 avg. and 12 home runs

In no way should Jarrod Saltalamacchia be a starting catcher on any team in the MLB. However, he still has a lot of value as a backup that has a ton of power left in his bat as proven by his 12 home runs despite receiving a part-time role. The average for Saltalamacchia is horrible as he hit .171 for the Tigers in 2016. However, he can be brought back at a cheap price and he could be useful coming off the bench.

Kansas City Royals – Greg Holland – Relief Pitcher – 2016: None

Holland didn’t play at all last season because he had Tommy John surgery on his throwing arm. However, when he is healthy, Holland has proven that he can easily be one of the top relief pitchers in all of the MLB. He is effective either as a setup man or a closer, but he would provide even more stability to the Royals bullpen at a bargain price. Kansas City has a tremendous bullpen even without Holland, but the Royals should definitely consider re-signing him since they will be getting a top-end relief pitcher for a cheap price. I have no idea how the Royals could possibly turn that down.

Minnesota Twins – Kurt Suzuki – Catcher – 2016: .258 avg. and 8 home runs

Kurt Suzuki has never been a flashy player, yet the one thing that he has always provided is consistent offensive production. Consistency is the main thing that Minnesota is lacking at pretty much every position which is why there a terrible team last year. However, it’s hard to find a more reliable catcher than Suzuki these days and combine that with the veteran leadership that he provides the Twins and they would be foolish to let him go.