Originally written on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 11/14/14

From my season preview of the Tigers on Wednesday...

Burning Question
Is Detroit's offense going to be the best in the American League this year?

Let's look at this question statistically. The Tigers return most of their offense, but have a couple of change. Victor Martinez will miss the season, and will (essentially) be replaced by Prince Fielder. Brandon Inge isn't a starter anymore, and is essentially going to be replaced by Andy Dirks. Brennan Boesch is going full-time in right field to replace Magglio Ordonez. Miguel Cabrera, Jhonny Peralta, Alex Avila, Austin Jackson, Ryan Raburn, and a full season of Delmon Young will be returning.

Well...what's that tell us? Dirks had a .702 OPS last year, but that's a huge upgrade over the .558 mark posted by Inge in 2011. The broken down Magglio Ordonez had a horrendous .634 season, while the perennial platooner Bosch had a .798 season. The big switch, going from Martinez to Fielder, results in a jump from an .850 OPS (Martinez) to a .981 mark from Fielder. So all three switches that the Tigers made on offense this offseason should result in more runs coming across the plate for them. 

One thing that just looking at OPS doesn't tell us about is injury. The Tigers took a roundabout approach of improving their team. Instead of the seemingly obvious move of just throwing Fielder at DH and calling it a day, the Tigers are starting him at first, moving first baseman Cabrera to third, and DHing Young. Cabrera has already taken a ground ball off of his face and broken his lower orbital bone. Fielder has been the model of health, but having Cabrera (the team's best offensive player) at third base is begging for another bad injury. 

If something happens to Cabrera, the Tigers won't necessarily be in trouble, but they'll have an uphill battle. He had a 1.034 OPS last season as one of the best hitters in baseball. Throwing Inge, who had an OPS nearly 500 points lower than Cabrera's last season, at third to replace Cabrera would help out defensively, but would be a complete disaster on offense. Injuries really do happen, and it would benefit the Tigers a lot more if someone like Dirks or Young got hurt than if Cabrera, Fielder, or Avila were injured. Imagine if Avila, who broke out in a big way last season with an .895 OPS, took a foul tip to his throwing hand and broke it. Detroit's backup catcher is Gerald Laird, who had a .660 OPS last season as the Cardinals backup and had OPSes of .626 and .567 with the Tigers in 2009 and 2010. That would be a major blow to Detroit's offense. But if Dirks of Young got hurt, the team could easily plug someone in, be it a bench player like Don Kelly (.672 OPS in 2011), a career minor leaguer, or a cheap veteran looking for work.

Detroit's offense vastly improved this offseason, and they were a top five unit in 2011. It's completely conceivable that their offense could be the best in the game. As long as the Tigers avoid injuries, they have to be considered a threat to score 900 runs.

[follow]

{loadposition content4}

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

76ers fans can get free tickets with a box of Mac & Cheese

Grizzlies players battling team-wide stomach virus

Cut day: Three finalists named for Rays' manager job

ESPN suspends analyst from Twitter for defending evolution

Randy Moss thought call about trade to Patriots was prank

Why would the Nationals want to trade Jordan Zimmermann?

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Kobe won't take paycut, hints at retiring after contract ends

Pete Carroll: Marshawn Lynch is 'our guy'

Eric Bledsoe: Kentucky could beat the 76ers

Kendall Wright lobs hilarious shot at Dez Bryant

Jonas Gray shows up late to practice, sent home by Patriots

Paul Pierce: Rivalry with Lebron like 'fighting for the same girl'

Video: Deron Williams destroys Jeremy Lamb with crossover

Jets-Bills game in Detroit will be free admission

New Yorker unveils powerful Redskins Thanksgiving cover

Biggest disappointments of the 2014 NFL Draft class

FSU will wear special #FSUnited ribbon decal on helmets

Food Lion disastrously insults teams in Super Bowl promos

Can Melvin Gordon break Barry Sanders' single-season record?

Game of the week: New England Patriots vs. Detroit Lions

WATCH: Duke graduate asst. loses mind to pump up players

Golic recreates Kim Kardashian butt pic after losing bet

Five bold predictions for Week 12 in the NFL

Brian Cashman spends night sleeping on street for charity

Tigers News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Bills-Jets game will be free admission

Pete Carroll: Lynch is 'our guy'

Which NFL team will get the #1 pick?

Game of the week: Patriots vs. Lions

Report: Padres join hunt for Sandoval

Golic recreates Kardashian butt pic

Adrian Peterson speaks out

NFLPA appeals Peterson suspension

10 best college running backs ever

DeSean Jackson mum on cryptic post

Revis on Johnson: 'A man among boys'

LeBron on challenge of leading Cavaliers

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.