Found April 03, 2012 on Detroit Sports 360:

The 2012 Detroit Tigers brings high hopes and aspirations to the motor city. Hoping the Tigers can finally end their 27-year World Series drought. After inking left handed slugger Prince Fielder, to one of the biggest contracts in major leauge history, it’s easy to see why Tiger fans cannot wait till opening day to watch their Tigers try to make a World Series run.

The Tigers have a great line up, solid rotation and great bullpen. Lets start off by taking a looking at the starting nine in this deep line up.

Alex Avila: Avila emerged as one of the best young catchers in the game of baseball in 2011. Winning a sliver slugger award, making an all star team, and almost taking home a Gold Glove. When looking towards 2012, some fans should expect Avila to regress a bit. Having a BABIP of .366 is something that will be extrememly hard to repeat. Career averages also say Avila will fall some in 2012 but will remain very productive.

Prediction: .285 AVG 18 HRs 79 RBIs

Prince Fielder: Can you ever remember a ball getting up into the Pepsi Porch at Comerica Park? Over the course of the next nine years don’t be surprised if Fielder puts a few up there. One of the best left handed hitters in the game today. Fielder will get the task of backing up Miguel Cabrera in the line up. Coming off a great 2011 season, Fielder should just keeping mashing along with his new club.

Prediction: .295 AVG 39 HRs 115 RBIs

Ryan Raburn: Raburn, yet again, couldn’t hit in the first half the season in 2011. But, yet again, had a great second half. Raburn is coming off a spring where he did nothing but hit from the start. He should see sometime in the outfield as well as second and DH. If Raburn ever realizes the season doesn’t start after the all star break, he could do some good things with the bat.

Prediction: .271 AVG 15 HRs 66 RBIs

Jhonny Peralta: This 29-year-old righty had a career year in 2011. Peralta provided a solid bat and a reliable glove at short. In 2012, Peralta looks to build of his 2011 season and try to break the .300 mark and continute to provide consistent offense in 2012.

Prediction: .289 AVG 23 HRs 83 RBIs

Miguel Cabrera: One of the most feared hitters in the game. Coming off winning a batting title in 2011 and switching to third base in 2012, Cabrera looks to continue his dominace over the American League. You can book Cabrera for a .300 AVG, 30 HRs, and 100 RBIs every year. 2012 will be no exception.

Prediction: .323 AVG 37 HRs 117 RBIs

Delmon Young: After being traded by the Twins in August, Young did exactly what the Tigers hoped for down the stretch. Hitting .274 with 8 HRs and 32 RBIs while sporting an Old English D. Not to mention being of the Tigers best hitters in the valiant playoff run that was ended by the Rangers. Young is in one of the best spots in the world: batting behind Prince Fielder. Whatever the big boys leave on the basepaths, look for Young to drive in.

Prediction: .281 AVG 24 HRs 85 RBIs

Austin Jackson: Jackson had a sophomore slump in 2011. Only managing to hit .249 after coming off a rookie season when he hit .293. Cutting down on the strikeouts and getting on base is the main focus for Jackson in 2012. The Austin Jackson Tiger fans watched in 2011 is not the real Austin Jackson. Look for a bounce back year for this young speedster.

Prediction: .278 AVG 10 HRs 59 RBIs

Brennan Boesch: Boesch showed great progress in 2011 after falling so hard in the second half of the 2010 season. Boesch was well on pace to hit 25 HRs and drive in 80 plus RBIs, before suffering a season ending thumb injury. Great young hitter, with tons of pontential. If Boesch can play 155 games, he could surprise some people.

Prediction: .284 AVG 26 HRs 82 RBIs

Now lets take a look at the starting five who will toe the rubber for the Detroit Tigers in 2012.

Justin Verlander: Capturing both the AL Cy Young and AL MVP in 2011; Verlander had one of the best season by a pitcher in over a decade. To repeat what he did in 2011 is not impossible, but unlikely. Still, the best pitcher and baseball who posses some of the nastiest stuff around. Look for Verlander to have another 20 win season and compete for his second Cy Young.

Prediction: 21-7 2.71 ERA

Max Scherzer: Consistency remains Scherzers’ biggest problem. Going through stretches of dominance to follow along stretches of getting beat up. If Scherzer can figure out a way to get those pesky left handed hitters out, who plauged him through out the 2011 season, there is no reason why 2012 cannot be a breakout season for this hard throwing righty.

Prediction: 16-8 3.77 ERA

Doug Fister: Fister was traded from Mariners to the Tigers on the trade deadline in 2011. Fister suffered from the weak offense of the Mariners. Causing such a crooked number in his win-loss collum. Once Fister started pitching for the Tigers — he was lights out. Fister was reminiscent of Doyle Alexander in 1987; going 8-1 with a 1.79 ERA for the Tigers down the stretch. Look for this tall righty to have an all star year.

Prediction: 18-7 3.40 ERA

Rick Porcello: Porcello had another season where he got knocked around. Posting an ERA almost of five in 2011. Porcello looks to finally find consistency in 2012. Left handed batters also were a challenge for Rick in 2011. As long as Porcello can mix his pitches and throw quality sinkers, 2012 should be a good year for him.

Prediction: 16-8 3.89 ERA

Drew Smyly: This southpaw is going to be making his major league debut in 2012. Winning the lone open spot in the rotation out of camp. Smyly was the Tigers second round pick in 2010. Only having one year of minor league experience under his belt, Smyly looks to show he should be the fifth starter throughout the 2012 season.

Prediction: 5-5 4.20 ERA (sent down in July for Jacob Turner)

Time to wrap this up with a look at the Tigers’ bullpen.

Jose Valverde: Papa Grande didn’t blow a save in 2011 and was named the relief pitcher of the year. The streak of 49 straight saves will most likely end in 2012 but the big potato will continue to dance throughout the 2012 season.

Prediction: 5-3 2.80 ERA 45 SV

Joaquin Benoit: Benoit had a rough start in the beginning of the 2011 season, but after the month of May, there was no better eight inning guy in the majors. Look for Benoit to continue to hand the ball of to Valverde in the ninth with the lead in tact.

Prediction: 4-2 2.90 ERA

Phil Coke: After spending sometime as the fifth starter in the rotation, Coke was moved back to the bullpen 2011. Coke can be great for getting out lefties, or if you need a reliever to give you a few innings out of the pen. Coke went 2-2 with a 3.71 ERA as a reliever last year, so look for his numbers to stay about the same in 2012.

Prediction: 3-2 3.65 ERA

Daniel Schlereth: In 2011, Schlereth was great at coming out of the pen and getting out tough left handed hitters. Hold opposing lefties to just a .174 average in 2011. As long as skipper Jim Leyland uses Schlereth as a left handed specialist, he could have a great 2012 season.

Prediction: 4-3 3.19 ERA

Octavio Dotel: This journeyman reliever added another notch to his long belt of teams he played for. Actually setting a record for playing on more teams than any other player in major league history. The Tigers inked Dotel to a deal in early December, looking to add a bit more depth in the pen. Dotel was a vital piece in the Cardinals World Series run, and looks to help the Tigers get a title in 2012.

Prediction: 5-3 3.49 ERA

Collin Balester: Balester was acquired from the Nationals for Ryan Perry earlier this year. Balester is a lot like Perry: hard throwing right hander who suffers from command issues. The Tigers hope a change of scenery helps Balester and becomes a big part of the Tigers bullpen.

Prediction: 1-3 3.91 ERA

Luis Marte: Marte won the final spot in the pen in spring training. Marte was dominant in the minors in 2011. Posting an ERA sub-two and a flawess 4-0 record between AA and AAA. With only 3.2 MLB innings under Marte’s belt, he looks to become a main stay in the Tigers’ bullpen.

Prediction: 2-1 3.33 ERA


Be sure to follow John Czech on Twitter for all the latest Detroit Tigers news. @JohnCzech

DS360 Tags: Doug Fister, Rick Porcello, Brennan Boesch, Alex Avila, Ryan Raburn, drew smyly, Jose Valverde, Austin Jackson


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