MLB Teams: Detroit Tigers Baseball Season 2012
The Detroit Tigers won the American League Central Division last year by the largest margin of any of the three AL divisions, fifteen games. Obviously a team this good didn’t need to make any major improvements coming into the 2012 season right? Wrong. Not only did they go out and secure one of the biggest free agent sluggers in Prince Fielder but they also added one of the better relief arms available in Octavio Dotel.
These moves made a good team very good. The rest of the AL Central has got their work cut out for them if they want to dethrone the Tigers as Central Division champions in 2012.
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The 2012 regular season for the Tigers can be viewed here: schedule
Octavio Dotel – right handed pitcher
Wilson Betemit – third baseman
Prince Fielder – first baseman
Carlos Guillen – second baseman
Gerald Laird – catcher
Brad Penny – right handed pitcher
Will Rhymes – second baseman
Joel Zumaya – right handed pitcher
Who Will Win the American League Central Division?
Detroit Tigers Lineup: Opening Day
Let’s be honest this team is just good. They have a very strong pitching staff anchored by 2011 AL CY Young and AL MVP Justin Verlander. Verlander’s stuff is amazing with his electric heater and breaking pitches that defy physics. The rest of the rotation will feature Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello and Doug Fister. This is probably one of the better starting rotations in the AL, if not baseball.
The bullpen was good last year but even it has improved coming into the 2012 season. Dotel is a good middle inning guy and fans in Detroit should enjoy seeing him on the hill in the later innings.
Closer Jose Valverde converted forty-nine saves last year but he is what I refer to as a heart attack closer. I say this because fans are usually holding their chests when he is on the hill because his saves are rarely drama free. A couple of hits or walks are usually a prerequisite for one of his outings.
As good as the arms are for Detroit the bats just might be even better. The offense did take a hit when Victor Martinez was lost for the 2012 season when he blew his ACL. Management took this loss in stride and landed a big fish named Fielder. Many longtime fans of Detroit will recognize the Fielder name; Prince is the son of former Tiger slugger Cecil Fielder. Not too many teams can lose a steady contributor like Martinez and actually walk away improving their club, Detroit did just that.
The addition of Fielder will move last year’s first baseman Miguel Cabrera to third. This gives Detroit to very big men anchoring the corners of their infield. While both move respectably now this may become an issue in a few years unless they utilize their designated hitter options.
The outfield features young stars in the making with Austin Jackson roaming center field and Brandon Boesch in right. Veteran Delmon Young will play left field.
The offense is a very formidable one and should be considered one of the best in the AL if not in baseball.
One remaining piece of work for Detroit is if they want to re-sign Magglio Ordonez. Right now he is still a free agent and the Tigers may not have the money to bring him back, we will have to see what they do.
The American League got even stronger with the additions of Fielder and Albert Pujols in Anaheim. With that being said I believe the Tigers are the team to beat in the AL Central which is OK because the Wild Card will probably come from the AL West this year.
I don’t think the Cleveland Indians or Chicago White Sox are going to have enough to hang with the Tigers in 2012. They may have their moments but in the long haul the Tigers are just way better.
Improvements have been made in Kansas City; they may even be the most improved team in the AL this year. Minnesota will probably struggle again this year and might find themselves occupying the AL Central cellar at the end of the 2012 season like they did in 2011.
Comerica Park Map
Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers