• Over and Under The Competition: The Tigers

    You値l be hard-pressed to find anyone that doesn稚 think the Detroit Tigers are the favorites to with the AL Central, including those who generate MLB futures odds. But Vegas has also tagged them with the highest over-under number in the American League: 93 games.

    Vegas picked a similar number last year and the Tigers disappointed. They won the division, but they only won 88 games, and only their dominance of head-to-head matchups with the White Sox saved them from an ignomnius fate. After adding Cecil Fielder in the offseason, their offense was only slightly above average, though playing in Comerica Park might skew that a little. They bolstered their starting pitching staff by acquiring Anibal Sanchez but their bullpen remained full of question marks.

    To their credit, they further improved this offseason. They retained Sanchez and replaced Delmon Young with Torii Hunter. But maybe best of all, they値l add Victor Martinez to their lineup as he is fully recovered from the ACL surgery that cost him all of 2012.

    So start with 88 wins, add a full year of Martinez, a full year of Sanchez, swapping Hunter for Young.and they pretty clearly approach that number. I値l add in a more ethereal reason too: sometime it seems like it takes a team of superstars a year or so to remember that games won稚 be just handed to them.

    However, 93 is a huge number, so it痴 hard to take the over but that痴 the point. If it was lower, everyone would bet it. Which way would you go?
    This article was originally published in blog: Over and Under The Competition: The Tigers started by John Bonnes
    Comments 18 Comments
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      > After adding Cecil Fielder in the offseason, their offense was only slightly above average

      Yeah, they blundered big-time by not signing Prince instead.

      Oh, and I'll take the under, just because there are more ways for things to go wrong than to go right. (Also, I think a few weeks ago I added up all the over/under numbers at someone's book and it was slightly more than the number of wins available, so on average I'd always take the under, and win except for the vig.)

      If things go really right, though, they reach 100. Like you say, that's why they put the o/u where they do.
    1. Thegrin's Avatar
      Thegrin -
      I'll take the under. The rest of the central will be better.
    1. Top Gun's Avatar
      Top Gun -
      The Tiger won't even win the central.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      over, but man, Vegas is good at this.....I'm tempted to go under, because the Indians added a legit pitcher, and KC added two probably.....but man, if healthy, the Tigers look pretty good.....ok, under. But I would not bet my house on this at all....
    1. SurroundedByTigers's Avatar
      SurroundedByTigers -
      As the resident Tiger expert, I'm going under (which means I'll probably be wrong because I never get these predictions things right) because you just can't trust the Detroit bullpen. They have some good people in the pen but nobody consistently great. So they will lose some games late, and I also think the rest of the Central teams are better, and finally, the White Sox are my pick to run the Tigers down this season.
    1. ltwedt's Avatar
      ltwedt -
      Under - I'll take the under - I'm thinking it will be closer to 88. I'd take the over on 87, though
    1. DAM DC Twins Fans's Avatar
      DAM DC Twins Fans -
      Just to be different, I will take the over...I know Miggy will regress but Tigers still best in AL Central and could easily win 95 games...Verlander could win 23 of those....
    1. tju22's Avatar
      tju22 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Top Gun View Post
      The Tiger won't even win the central.
      Bold call, I think the Tigers are still the class but the Indians are my dark horse to challenge them late with Bauer coming up midseason along with a deadline deal to add some reinforcements. That team reminds me a lot of early 2000's Twins teams and I think this could be the year they surprise. Royals finish 3rd, Sox 4th, and our Twins prop up the cellar.
    1. birdwatcher's Avatar
      birdwatcher -
      I don't trust ANY rotation to stay healthy, so I'll take the under. They lose one starter to a career-threatening injury, and a second is lost for 15 starts. A third has a dissappointing year. The Tigers look with envy at the Twin's AA rotation of Deduno, Gibson, Hendriks, Walters, and Blackburn, wishing they had just one starter at AAA as good as any of those guys.

      Tongue in cheek here.
    1. birdwatcher's Avatar
      birdwatcher -
      Of course, Gardy will also be envious.
    1. Badsmerf's Avatar
      Badsmerf -
      Over. I say they win more than 100 games this year.
    1. Dave T's Avatar
      Dave T -
      By mid-season, the Twins will have improved more than the Tigers did. Which means the Tigers won't win as many games against us as they did last year. I will take the under.
    1. Cris E's Avatar
      Cris E -
      Under.

      They had a lot of things go right last year and only reached 88. If anything happens to the pitching staff, specifically the rotation, they're going to be lucky to get that. Hunter will help in the OF, but the bullpen got worse as well. I'm thinking the heart of the staff does stay healthy but enough other stuff goes wrong that they win 90.
    1. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      Hmm. This one is tough.
      I think, on paper, they have the best lineup in baseball.
      Its not without questions though.
      On the one hand, I'm skeptical that VMart is really healthy. I'm also skeptical that Torii has much more in the tank than slightly above average corner OF'er at this point, if that. His numbers were pretty fluky last year, plus he's a year older. I think there is no way he maintains that batting average he put up a year ago.
      On the other hand, I think Prince has really put in the work to become a better all around hitter. He's sacrificed some power over the years in exchange for a more balanced approach, and I for one thinks it makes him a more dangerous hitter, one who should continue to get better. I cant help but think he's emulating his game after Miggy's, and I could see him flirting with a triple crown at some point.
      Austin Jackson has turned himself into a damn good ballplayer.
      You have the 2 old geezers up the middle. Every year I think this has to be the year they fall of the cliff, but every year those two just continue to put up adequate, respectable numbers for the position.
      While I think 2011 will prove to be a career year for Avila, I do think he bounces back from last year and settles in right about in the middle of the two.
      Of course their defense is not great, but I think their starting pitching is pretty good.
      Verlander is , well, Verlander. Sanchez actually got quite unlucky last year, and still put up respectable numbers, I think he has a pretty good season. Max Scherzer has the stuff to be a Cy Young candidate, perhaps even as soon as this year.
      An under the radar guy to watch out for is Rick Porcello. He's pretty much been a bust so far, but he was once a top prospect and is still very young. His K rates have been ever so slightly improving each year, as has hit BB rate, and I think that trend continues this year. I'm predicting a surprising year from him this year. Nothing special, but better than expected.
      Everyone is down on their BP, and while I dont see it as a strong suit, I think it will be "good enough".
      Rondon has electric stuff, he's going to be fun to watch, and he's looked much better since they made a mechanical adjustment with him earlier this spring.
      Bottom line, if i'm betting your money, I'll say over. If I'm betting my money, I'll stay away from this one.
    1. LaBombo's Avatar
      LaBombo -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Brooks View Post
      I'm also skeptical that Torii has much more in the tank than slightly above average corner OF'er at this point, if that. His numbers were pretty fluky last year, plus he's a year older. I think there is no way he maintains that batting average he put up a year ago.
      Agreed. His .389 babip masked a declining walk rate and increasing K rate. But if he clocks in somewhere around his 2011 season (.260/.333/.430) and plays above average defense, he's still a big upgrade over the dreadful Boesch.

      Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Brooks View Post
      An under the radar guy to watch out for is Rick Porcello. He's pretty much been a bust so far, but he was once a top prospect and is still very young. His K rates have been ever so slightly improving each year, as has hit BB rate, and I think that trend continues this year. I'm predicting a surprising year from him this year.
      Good pick for a dark horse, and yet he was widely rumored to have been shopped at the meetings and may still end up in the bullpen with Smyly and his #3 starter stuff landing the 5th spot. That's how deep they are.

      People apparently forget what a monster Cabrera was before the Crown. He's only 30, and most projections don't show him losing more than about 25 points of OPS. By comparison, everybody is projecting Willingham's to drop by about 50. Agree about Fielder, though. More impressed with him as the season wore on.

      So I'll take the over, but doubt they'll get close to 100 wins unless they add a very solid reliever. Which I think is about a 50/50 proposition.
    1. Badsmerf's Avatar
      Badsmerf -
      So a solid reliever gets them to 100 wins, but having an elite line-up and rotation wont? I get their bullpen might be soft, but this team is damn good. I will stick to 100 wins all year. The only way I see them not getting there is if they rest at the end of the year and take their foot off the gas or have some major injuries.
    1. LaBombo's Avatar
      LaBombo -
      Quote Originally Posted by Badsmerf View Post
      So a solid reliever gets them to 100 wins, but having an elite line-up and rotation wont? I get their bullpen might be soft, but this team is damn good. I will stick to 100 wins all year. The only way I see them not getting there is if they rest at the end of the year and take their foot off the gas or have some major injuries.
      I think a strong lineup and potentially killer rotation get them to 93-95 wins, but a good closer maybe gets them close to 100. On the other hand, if KC and Cleveland are both as improved on the field as they are on paper, they may need to add a reliever just to get to the 94-ish win area.

      If it sounds like I'm going overboard with the idea of adding 4 or 5 wins with a good closer, here's an even more drastic appraisal:

      "All three [Benoit/Coke/Al-Al] are quality relievers and can get the job done short term but are better as setup men. A potential 100-win club becomes a 90- to 92-win team without a closer. And as a team with aspirations of returning to the World Series, the Tigers need a designated closer, such as Street or Cishek. The Tigers have enough in the farm system to make a deal at the trade deadline."

      However you feel about Jim Bowden, he's been around baseball quite a bit, and he seems pretty fired up about how much butt the Tigers could kick if they add a good closer. My impression of the value of a good closer is lower, more in the BP/Bill James (made, not born, leverage vs. 'saves', etc.) camp than in Bowden's, but that being said, it looks like they could use one.

      Coke is a LOOGY. Dotel is a solid, often underrated reliever but nearly 40. Albuquerque has mad stuff and durability issues. Rondon will have to work on his command in AAA for a while. That leaves Benoit, who is a fine reliever, but he's been inconsistent throughout his career.

      And today highlighted their need for another quality reliever. Leyland stuck with Smyly (way too long, imho, especially with a day off tomorrow), a converted starter, when most teams with playoff aspirations would have a better option when everyone is rested.

      As a Twins fan,, I'm hoping the Tigers give up Rondon for a 'proven closer' who will be gone in a couple of years when the Twins have rebuilt and rebounded.
    1. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      Craig Kimbrel was only worth 3 WAR last year.
      I think you (and apparently Jim Bowden) are DRASTICALLY overvaluing how many wins a single relief pitcher can add.
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