In the past, many Fantasy Baseball owners targeted players from the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox early and often in their drafts. After all, those teams boast two of the most stacked lineups each and every season, so why not load up on players from those two teams, especially on offense?
While the Yankees and Red Sox do offer plenty of fantasy baseball superstars once again in 2012, they may not be the team to target the most when you conduct your drafts in March.
That honor may just belong to the Detroit Tigers.
Everyone knows what went on in Motown this offseason. After the team lost Victor Martinez for the season, many felt as if Detroit was doomed in 2012. That is, before they went out and signed Prince Fielder to a 9 year deal worth $214 million. Needless to say, there is reason for optimism within the Tigers’ organization this upcoming season.
Fantasy owners should pay attention to the Tigers when ranking their players, and if yesterday’s 18-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves was any indication, then my prediction may be spot on in terms of Detroit being a fantasy baseball haven in 2012.
The Tigers slugged nine home runs in that game. Yes, I did say nine. I know it is just Spring Training, but nine home runs is nine home runs. After all, this was not against a mid-major college baseball team. The Tigers still beat the Atlanta Braves, not the University of Tampa, who probably would have still put up a better fight yesterday.
The Detroit Tigers will offer plenty of stats for fantasy baseball owners in 2012.
During the dinger barrage, Detroit got home runs from Fielder, Austin Jackson, Brennan Boesch, Delmon Young, Al Avila, Jhonny Peralta, Danny Worth as well as two from Ryan Raburn. While Worth is unlikely to make the team, the rest will all see plenty of time in the lineup this season.
Oh, and don’t forget that Miguel Cabrera guy either. He just happens to be ranked No. 1 on many draft boards entering this season. He should be good for 35-40 home runs this year, at a minimum, considering the protection he has in the lineup this year.
Needless to say, the Tigers are absolutely stacked on offense this year, and offer plenty of stats for fantasy baseball owners in 2012. Cabrera could be the top pick overall, while Fielder will go toward the end of the first round or somewhere in the second round.
After that, owners will remember what Jackson did during his rookie year, figuring he can put last season’s regression behind him. Jackson is also a decent source of steals.
But you may really want to pay attention to Boesch, who, if healthy, could put up very good numbers this season. Young is also more than capable of helping out fantasy owners with solid numbers across the board this year.
Finally, Avila had an excellent offensive season for Detroit in 2012, and will look to build upon those numbers this season, making him a very formidable starting catcher. Peralta is also a good source of offensive stats for shortstops as well.
But it goes far beyond the offense when it comes to the Tigers. They have pretty good pitching in Detroit as well.
You all know about Justin Verlander, who was Mr. Everything last season. Verlander took home the American League Most Valuable Player award, as well as capturing the Cy Young. He was absolutely phenomenal, putting up numbers that were as good as any of the top five seasons in the past 20 years in 2011.
After Verlander, Doug Fister is slated as the No. 2 man in the rotation, and he had a breakout campaign in 2011 with the Seattle Mariners before being dealt to the Tigers at the trading deadline. He should be even better this year, especially considering the run support he should get in 2012.
Youngsters Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello will handle the no. 3 and 4 positions in the rotation, and should also have their best seasons yet. As for the fifth and final spot, that will be a battle that will be determined during Spring Training between Jacob Turner, Andrew Oliver and Drew Smyly.
In the bullpen, Jose Valverde is once again closing out games for the Tigers, and should once again receive plenty of saves opportunities. Joaquin Benoit, Octavio Dotel and Phil Coke should all be good for some holds this year out of Detroit’s bullpen as well in 2012, making the Tigers a fantasy baseball haven in 2012.