5 Bold Predictions For The 2015 Detroit Tigers

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Prediction #3: Anibal Sanchez eclipses the 200 IP mark

Apr 3, 2015; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez (19) throws a pitch during the sixth inning of a spring training baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

For MLB starting pitchers the magical 200 plateau is as big as it gets. Whether it be 200 Innings pitched or 200 K’s in a season if you get past that mark it usually means you’re doing something right.

Then why is this prediction anywhere near bold? Hasn’t the 2013 AL ERA king Anibal Sanchez eclipsed the 200 IP mark many times in his career?

Well surprisingly, no. The closest he has ever come to 200 IP was in 2011 when he pitched 196.1 IP for the (then) Florida Marlins.

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For a variety of reasons ranging from ineffectiveness to injury he never has been able to get past that magical 200 IP mark. (He has passed 200 K’s in a season with 202 twice, once in 2011 and again in 2013).

So for this to be a bold prediction it would really have to deal with Sanchez getting past that mark.

The problem with Sanchez really has to be about his health. There’s no doubt that he can pitch. What the Tigers saw down the stretch in 2012 from Sanchez was undoubtedly one of an ace. Albeit with injuries in 2013 he still was the AL ERA king and part of that dominant Tigers staff.

With this depleted Tigers staff though Sanchez will really need to pitch well and often. He’ll need to make 30+ starts and not miss any games.

Since Verlander seems to be dealing with a bit of injury problems, Sanchez is now the #2 pitcher on this staff unless Shane Greene or Alfredo Simon have anything to say about it.

The bullpen is so bad all the innings that Sanchez can muster on a start-by-start basis will be huge. Getting that bullpen less innings will be key to the Tigers’ success down the stretch of the season.

While this prediction is more hope and necessity than actual fact, you can’t have them all. It is a prediction after all. And the Tigers are going to need a healthy yet effective Sanchez to have a chance at that 5th straight division title.

Next: Bullpen Trades