Mar 11, 2012; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) pitches against the New York Mets during the game at Joker Marchant Stadium. The Mets beat the Tigers 11-0. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

2013 AL Central Preview: Detroit Tigers

The Detroit Tigers have a chance to continue some impressive streaks this season.  The 2013 Tigers are defending Central Division and American League champions! The division championship represents their second straight (2011, 2012) and 3 out of the past 4 seasons in which the club has posted a winning record.  Also for the past two season the American League MVP has been wearing the Ole English D .

Can the Detroit Tigers continue to build on this recent track record of excellence?

Expectations for the team have never been higher.  The Motor City Kitties could have the best team in franchise history and that team should be good enough not only for another division and league title but a world championship.

The starting rotation is arguably the best in the American league with two potential 20 game winners in Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer.  Doug Fister has shown that he has the stuff to shut teams down on a regular basis. Anibal Sanchez and Rick Porcello could be top half of the rotation pitchers on other teams. The bullpen is deep as well.  With the closer situation in flux, the Detroit Tigers have a number of arms that could close down a game for the team.  No matter who ends up closing games, the Tigers should be able to shorten games with arms coming out of the pen.  From experienced bullpen pitchers like Joaquin Benoit, Octavio Dotel and Phil Coke to young hurlers Al Albequerque and Darin Downs the Tigers are blessed with more talent that most.

The Detroit Tigers plugged holes in their offense with a little addition and a few subtractions.  Torii Hunter was the teams second major free agent signing in as many years.  Hunter gives the Tigers another consistently high average hitter in front of perennial MVP candidate Miguel Cabrera.  Batting Hunter in the number two spot also provides another speed threat in the top of the order which will give opposing batteries another worry while trying to pitch through the heart of the Detroit Tigers order. That heart beats a bit stronger with the healthy return of Victor Martinez from a 2012 knee surgery.  V-Mart’s return provides clean-up hitter Prince Fielder with bona-fide protection.  Protection that should lead to a boost in offensive numbers for the Tigers legacy clean-up hitter.  Hard to imagine considering Prince Fielder hit .313 with 30 HR and 108 RBI  in 2012.

On paper this team looks like a 2013 World Series contender.  They have more talent from top to bottom than any team in the Central Division.  2013 Prediction:  95-67 1st place



Tags: AL Central Detroit Tigers MLB

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