2009 regular season record: 86-77, Second place, AL Central
Major Offseason Acquisitions: Jose Valverde (HOU), Johnny Damon (NYY), Austin Jackson (NYY), Phil Coke (NYY), Max Scherzer (ARZ)
Major Offseason Losses: Curtis Granderson (NYY), Edwin Jackson (ARZ), Fernando Rodney (LAA), Brandon Lyon (HOU), Placido Polanco (PHI), Aubrey Huff (PIT)
Projected Lineup (2009 stats):
1. CF-Austin Jackson (Minor leagues: .300 BA, .354 OBP, 4 HR, 65 RBI, 24 SB)
2. 2B-Scott Sizemore (Minor leagues: .308 BA, .389 OBP, 17 HR, 66 RBI, 21 SB)
3. RF-Magglio Ordonez (.310 BA, .376 OBP, 9 HR, 50 RBI)
4. 1B-Miguel Cabrera (.324 BA, .396 OBP, 34 HR, 103 RBI)
5. DH-Carlos Guillen (.242 BA, .339 OBP, 11 HR, 41 RBI)
6. 3B-Brandon Inge (.230 BA, .314 OBP, 27 HR, 84 RBI)
7. LF-Ryan Rayburn (.291 BA, .359 OBP, 16 HR, 45 RBI)
8. C-Gerald Laird (.225 BA, .306 OBP, 4 HR, 33 RBI)
9. SS-Adam Everett (.238 BA, .288 OBP, 3 HR, 44 RBI)
Projected Starting Rotation/Closer (2009 stats):
1. RHP Justin Verlander (19-9, 3.45 ERA, 240 IP)
2. RHP Rick Porcello (14-9, 3.96 ERA, 170.2 IP)
3. RHP Max Scherzer (9-11, 4.12 ERA, 170.1 IP)
4. RHP Jeremy Bonderman (0-1, 8.71 ERA, 10.1 IP)
5. LHP Nate Robertson (2-3, 5.44 ERA, 49.2 IP)
Closer: Jose Valverde (2.33 ERA, 25 saves)
2010 outlook: The Tigers’ season ended in heartbreaking fashion in 2009, losing an extra-innings one-game playoff against the Minnesota Twins that cost them both a division title and a playoff spot.
While their lineup doesn’t look all that fearsome, they do have some interesting parts at the top.
Austin Jackson, acquired from the Yankees in the Curtis Granderson deal, is one of Baseball America’s top 100 prospects entering this season, and the Tigers have high hopes for him.
He’s followed by another top Detroit prospect, second baseman Scott Sizemore.
Jackson and Sizemore both boasted solid on-base percentages in the minors last season, and each stole over 20 bases.
If they can contribute this season, the Tigers’ middle-of-the-order guys (Ordonez, Cabrera, Guillen, Inge) will be all that more productive.
Detroit’s rotation is a nice mix of young and veteran.
Verlander, Bonderman, and Robertson seem to have been there forever, while Scherzer and Porcello are just getting their careers underway.
Scherzer and Porcello were actually first round picks in back-to-back drafts, and have both enjoyed very quick paths to the Majors.
Former Astros closer Jose Valverde was signed in the offseason to a two-year, $14 million deal to be the closer, as the Tigers hope to solidify the back of their bullpen with one of the league’s best.
There are certainly some question marks for this team, but they should be able to make a push towards an AL Central championship.
2010 Prediction: 85-77, Third place, AL Central