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2006 Detroit Tigers Baseball Preview

Detroit Tigers Predictions – AL CENTRAL

OVERVIEW:

Last year the Tigers finished 28 games out of first place. As a team they hit well but in terms of pitching and fielding, they finished 8th and 12th respectively. Detroit hasn’t had a winning season in over a decade.

PITCHING:

This is a young staff that has added veteran ace and grumpy video subject, 41-year-old Kenny Rogers. Will Rogers (190 career wins) be this club’s ace? Last season with Texas, he was 14-8 with a 3.46 ERA.

Jeremy Bonderman, at 23-years-old, could challenge Rogers for that ace role. Bonderman’s first half was excellent; although he tailed off in the second part, he still finished 14-13 in 2005.

former Tiger and now former Marlin, Todd Jones, is back in Detroit as the club’s save man. With Florida last season he recorded 40 saves with a 2.30 ERA and a .230 OPP AVG. At thirty-seven, Jones’ command of the plate’s four-corners, cut fastball, and tough mental attitude may be exactly what the Tigers need.

HITTING:

This team has some fine hitters, including Placido Polanco, who finished second in the majors with a .331 BA. He’s patient at the plate and once on base a sure-footed runner.

In 2005, Carlos Guillen didn’t show the power he had in the past but still managed to hit at a .320 clip, while an unhealthy Magglio Ordonez hit .302. Also, catcher Ivan Rodriguez has seen his numbers fall over the past few years (.276 BA, 14 HR). If all three of these players can get back to their former form, this can be a potent lineup.

First baseman Chris Shelton, with less than one-year in the majors, has shown power, ability, and potential. He knocked out 18 homers, while batting .299 in 2005.

The rest of the lineup provides power but less consistency at the plate.

DEFENSE:

As catcher, Rodriguez has physical skill and talent, which he uses well, but hr is not an able game caller.

Overall, the Tiger infield, which committed 110 errors (third most in the AL), is dangerously ineffective. The corners are rife with mistakes and miscues and at shortstop Guillen has been hampered by injury. Second baseman Polanco is very effective on the field.

The outfielders are adept at tracking the ball down and both Ordonez in right and Monroe in left possess accurate and strong arms. Curtis Granderson in center gets a good jump on the ball but has problems throwing.

MANAGER AND FRONT OFFICE:

• Dave Dombrowski is back for his fifth year as president and general manager, while during that same time he’s hired four managers.
• Jim Leyland will try to do what many before him have not been able to—turn this team around. Is he, at 61, too old for the job?
• He has two former big league managers on his coaching staff—three heads are better than one?

INTANGIBLES AND/OR OTHER STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES:

• Kenny Rogers—so how’s that anger management going?
• An aging ace, aging everyday players coming back from injuries, and a new manager who sure looked finished after his last stint with the less-than-stellar Rockies.
• Can the young pitching staff continue to improve?

CONCLUSION:

Although they have some quality pitchers, overall the rotation, which is young and talented, is still rather thin and will have a difficult time being consistent. This group, with Rogers, Rodriguez and Leyland in key roles, could become a nightmare. It’ll all start with the guy at the top and Leyland, with his post-season experience and victories, is at the top for a reason.

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