2012 Predictions

49 out of 49 media members polled by ESPN picked the Tigers to win the Central, and 6 had the good sense to pick them to win the WS.  18 of them have the Angels winning the WS, and then 7 had each of the Rangers and Rays.

Curiously, only 1 person had the Tigers losing the WS.

8/8 SI writers have the Tigers winning the division, but no pennants here.

Yahoo!’s guys had a little more fun with their predictions (but all 3 picked the Tigers to win the Central).

So, what would have to go wrong which would prevent the Tigers from winning the division?

7 thoughts on “2012 Predictions”

  1. Brandon Inge says: “there is not a spot on the field you can’t put me.”

    I predict that in 2012 the Tigers will set up a special area between the on-deck circle and the dugout where they will put Inge, where he can wave to the fans, talk to the media, and win the Player of the Game voting.

  2. The Tigers will not win the division because: on Opening Day, Kevin Youkilis will hit a towering pop fly in the infield, Fielder and Cabrera will converge on it, and have a 3-way collision with Justin Verlander, and the ensuing carnage will result in all 3 missing most of the season.

  3. If the Tigers don’t win the division it will be bc:
    1) Scherzer regresses
    2) Avila’s 2011 is a fluke
    3) Brandon Inge gets > 250 ABs

  4. As a life-long Tiger fan, i’ve learned to suppress the trappings of excessive optimism… but having said that, i do believe that if they stay healthy, the AL Central is theirs to lose… and once ‘you’re in’, anything can happen.

    The marathon begins tomorrow… and it’s going to be interesting.

  5. So, what would have to go wrong which would prevent the Tigers from winning the division?

    Well, since you asked…

    One thing that has already gone wrong is the Detroit Tigers lineup choices in the infield. Prince Fielder was not a DH only because the Milwaukee Brewers moved into a league that doesn’t allow it. He was signed specifically to replace the Tigers’ lost DH. So why was his signing made an excuse to totally destroy the defensive competence of the infield? I don’t disagree with the Tiger management’s defense for their direction is that hitting is much more important than fielding–but they’re ignoring that a club’s defense can have a mighty big impact on pitching. Right now, the Tigers are breaking in a rookie fifth starter and trying to mature Scherzer from journeyman to ace level. Top managers like Billy Martin, Earl Weaver and Whitey Herzog used to resort to a simple formula with a young pitching staff–give them the confidence to trust their stuff in the strike zone by putting a defense behind them. Instead of putting a comforting net below the tightrope Scherzer and Smyly will be walking, apparently the Tigers are putting a dunk tank filled with sharks. Not to mention that Fister and Porcello are worm-killers who live and die by whether their infielders can make plays behind them. Hopefully, reality will force the Tigers to put Inge back at third, Cabrera back at first and Fielder to the DH slot he should have gone to in the first place by May. That is, if Cabrera’s career isn’t ended before then by getting another bad-hop scorcher on a day he isn’t wearing his shades (they call third base the “Hot Corner” for a reason, Leyland). Unfortunately, the Tigers have no ready solution for the hole at second base they opened up by not keeping their Opening Day 2011 second baseman. Instead of letting Will Rhymes settle into learning the big-league ropes last season, they buried him and then sent him on his way to another team in the off-season, reopening the defensive scar they’ve had ever since they similarly sent Polanco on his way. Hopefully, they’ll give Justin Henry a much better chance than they ever gave Rhymes, or failing that, at least try to acquire a real second baseman instead sticking with the patchwork options of the last couple years.

    The Tigers have inspired speculation among baseball experts, whether they’ll be able to pull off going with an offense that has no leadoff man. I suppose it could, I read somewhere that one of the best indications of how a team will do over the upcoming season is by looking at their exhibition record combined with their closing stretch of the previous season. The Tigers had a great spring and a great closing rush that demolished the Central race last season, so it’s probably reasonable to favor them this coming season as well. However, that winning was primarily fueled by an offensive explosion over the months of August, September and March. The big trouble with the Tigers’ offense is that it looks far better than it actually is. They score runs whenever every single part of their offensive machine is running flawlessly (as it was this past month, and down the stretch last season). Most teams, though, can get by fine with maybe two or three hitters in their lineup getting hot at one time, because they have capable tablesetters at the top of the lineup. Because the Tigers have an OBP vacuum at the top of their lineup, they’re in trouble if the rest of their lineup isn’t in peak form. Why Leyland and Dobrowski seem so indifferent to the issue of tablesetters is positively baffling, why spend all that money on Fielder if you don’t care about providing him baserunners to drive in? It’s like getting a hired gun and then providing him with no ammunition. Rhymes would have been an ideal tablesetter in the No. 2 slot, and getting Austin Jackson to work on his OBP should have been top priority. Finally, the Tigers seemed to finally get serious about working with Jackson this past off-season–but apparently not to work on walking more and making more contact, but rather on hitting more homers–something they already have coming out of their ears. Again, hopefully Henry’s OBP skills will get more of a look than Rhymes did. If not, well yes, the Tigers can score runs. Well, the St. Louis Rams could score touchdowns, and for a while it seemed like they could defend their Super Bowl championship with a defense that was more of a quality in keeping with pursuing a No. 1 draft choice. However, Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk went down, and even though they had capable replacements, it threw the Greatest Show on Turf just off-stride enough so it couldn’t overcome the leaky defense. Last October, we saw just how vulnerable the Tiger offense could be to hitters being injured, held together by bailing wire, or just plain slumping or wearing down after a long season. The Tigers might have survived the Rangers with their diminished lineup, if they weren’t totally missing tablesetters. It could be their achilles heel again this season.

Comments are closed.