The Detroit Tigers have been busy this offseason. Almost immediately after the Boston Red Sox closed the glove on the last out of the ALCS, the Detroit Tigers have engaged in a drastic revamping of their roster.
Dave Dombrowski and company have done an excellent job trimming the payroll and getting value from players were there wasn’t any before. All of this to create a roster that favors speed and OPS rather than power and slugging.
In just doing a simple comparison of stats from 2013 it is clear to see that the 2014 Detroit Tigers are a much faster ball club. The Motor City Kitties were 15th in American League in stolen bases last season.
By trading for Ian Kinsler and Lombardozzi, signing Rajai Davis and having Jose Iglesias for an entire season, The Tigers added 55 stolen bases to their line-up. That should make team speed a strength rather than a weakness.
Faster baserunners on base ahead of Miguel Cabrera will help keep pressure on opposing pitchers. Presumably you can put some of that speed in front of Cabrera in the line-up and watch the RBI’s pile up.
But that is how it looks on paper.
They are also banking on players like Nick Castellanos, Andy Dirks and Steve Lombardozzi to replace Prince Fielders power numbers by responding to increased playing time for the 2014 Detroit Tigers. If Casty can meet expections and Dirks can reach double digit homers, The Tigers won’t miss Prince Fielders bat much at all.
So instead of being a team that plays the classic American League long ball style of offense, look for the Tigers to play more small ball this year. The new approach may help the Tigers offense be more consistent for new skipper Brad Ausmus.