Tigers 2018 Season Preview
Ready to check out our 2018 Detroit Tigers predictions? Credit to late owner Mike Ilitch that he wanted the teams he owned (Detroit’s Tigers and Red Wings) to be forever competitive. However, times have changed and in this new era of valuing youth and flexibility – financial and positional – the Tigers have become, well, extinct. The full-bore rebuild in Motown continues in 2018.
MLB Tigers Predictions & Handicapping Insight
Gone now are longtime stars J.D. Martinez, Justin Upton, Justin Wilson, Ian Kinsler and Justin Verlander, with future Hall of Famer Miggy Cabrera as the lone holdover from the close-but-no-cigar regime of the Ilitch era. It’s time to start completely fresh in Detroit, and coming off 98 losses in 2017, things will get bad (or worse) before they get better.
There isn’t a lot of stiff competition in the AL Central after Cleveland and Minnesota, but that is not to say that there’s a window of opportunity for the Tigers. Detroit baseball fans must savor the small victories this season, as it might be a struggle to keep Comerica Park capably full. The Motown faithful will look with contempt at their Great Lakes neighbors to the south; things couldn’t be better in Cleveland.
2018 MLB Team Previews – Tigers
- American League Central +2500
- American League +15000
- World Series +50000
- P Mike Fiers
- P Francisco Liriano
- MINORS GUYS (2B Dixon Machado, 3B Jeimer Candelario)
It says plenty about Detroit’s willingness to load up on vets that the second guy on the list of ‘Key Additions’ was last relevant in the majors when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were a thing.
Fiers actually, randomly, led the World Series champ Houston Astros in innings pitched a year ago, so he’ll slot somewhere in the rotation. Jordan Zimmermann, who fits in to be in the middle of the rotation, looks done like dinner. The interesting new faces are the guys from Detroit’s farm system that will get extended auditions this year, like the young infielders listed above.
Detroit is definitely more focused on offloading veterans and salary (dare we mention Miggy?) rather than bringing it on.
- 2B Ian Kinsler
Like I said, the Tigers have lost a whole bunch from the earlier iteration of their contending team, but Kinsler was the veteran that shipped out in the offseason. The 35-year old was jettisoned to the Los Angeles Angels in the winter months.
Tigers Predictions: Projected Lineup:
- LF Mikie Mahtook
- 3B Jeimer Candelario
- 1B Miguel Cabrera
- DH Victor Martinez
- RF Nick Castellanos
- C James McCann
- CF Leonys Martin
- 2B Dixon Machado
- SS Jose Iglesias
There’s a little thump in the middle of the lineup if cherished veterans Cabrera and V-Mart are healthy and swinging, but neither of those propositions are a certainty anymore.
Martinez has had tons of ailments, and Miggy’s game deteriorated a lot (starting from an immensely high standard, admittedly) last season. If Cabrera can bounce back, Detroit might be eager to eat his salary and off-load him for a package of futures.
Elsewhere in the lineup, catcher McCann is intriguing, as he’ll give you 15 homers or so and, at 27, is squarely entering his prime. He could be another trade candidate is a scorched-earth rebuild though.
Tigers Predictions: Projected Rotation:
- RH Michael Fulmer
- LH Matt Boyd
- RH Mike Fiers
- RH Jordan Zimmermann
- LH Daniel Norris
There are a couple of eyebrow-raising components of Detroit’s starting five. Michael Fulmer is a good hurler, if not an ace in the classic sense, he can give you some good innings if he has fully recovered from ulner nerve transportation surgery on his pitching elbow.
It’ll be interesting to see how good Boyd and Norris can be if they both get a full slate of starts. I’m not sure if you’ll ever see 23-year old Joe Jimenez in the rotation, but he’s got a lot of upside in the bullpen.
Zimmermann is, well, not very good. Fiers wears cleats, stands on the mound and eats breakfast in the morning.
Tigers Predictions: Projected Closer:
- RH Shane Greene
Greene was one of the bright spots in a crappy 2017 for the Tigers, so he has a firm grasp of the closer’s role for now. There isn’t much else to talk about in the ‘pen apart from the aforementioned Jimenez.
There’s no reason why the Tigers shouldn’t give extended cameos to AA and AAA guys in what – depressingly claiming it before Opening Day – will be a lost season.
You might see righty Franklin Perez, the prized acquisition from the Verlander deal who has been pitching to an ERA in the low threes in the minors.
Also, keep an eye and an ear out for CF Daz Cameron, who is the son of longtime major leaguer Mike Cameron and could be a starting outfielder of the future.
2018 Detroit Tigers Prediction:
There isn’t a polite way to put it: The Tigers are terrible. They might lose 100 games in 2018.
The Tigers always seem to be at their most comfortable when they have an old geezer managing in the dugout, so perhaps it’s good that former Minnesota Twin Ron Gardenhire is the skipper now.
Who can forget Jim Leyland, that quivering white mustache and his love of Marlboro Reds. Having a steely veteran skipper to school the youth movement and keep Miggy and Victor Martinez with some modicum of motivation will be a big part of this year in Comerica Park.
The sad truth is that the Tigers should have hit the eject button earlier than they did, so general manager Al Avila and his guys are paying the price now.
Detroit has cleared or are clearing the high-level major leaguers off the roster, and there isn’t a lot of legitimate talent waiting in the wings or on the farm.
All of this is to say that it should be a long and painful rebuild. The Tigers would be best advised to flip Cabrera and maybe guys like McCann, Fulmer and Martinez to re-stock the cupboards and speed all the losing along.
After all the recent success of the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros using this model, it’s certainly the in vogue thing to do in Major League Baseball front offices.
What do you think of our 2018 Detroit Tigers predictions? Comments are welcome below.
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