MLB 2014 Predictions: AL Central – Who Can Catch The Detroit Tigers

6 of 7

Detroit Tigers first baseman

Miguel Cabrera

(24) Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports


When the last two MVP trophies, and two Cy Young award winners reside in your locker room, you are going to be the favorites to win your division. Welcome to the Detroit Tigers. They not only have the best hitter in baseball on their team, but maybe the best two starting pitchers in the American League. No matter what is around them, they will be tough to beat.

HITTING: It all boils down to Miguel Cabrera and protecting him in your line up. Prince Fielder is gone, and Ian Kinsler takes his place in the batting order. These two can combine to be a tough 1-2 punch in the middle of a solid line up that isn’t without some holes.

Austin Jackson is still a catalyst at the top but Torii Hunter, 38, and Victor Martinez, 35,  are both aging. Alex Gonzalez, who is 37 years old, and batted .177 for Milwaukee last season, is the starting shortstop. Nick Castellanos is young and unproven at third, and Andy Dirks will start the season on the DL, with Raja Davis taking his place in left.

This is not the rock solid line up of years past, and there are some question marks defensively. This team might look vulnerable if not for the…

PITCHING: The Tigers probably have the most lethal top three rotation spots in the league, with two aces and a solid number two arm. Justin Verlander, even in a down year, is still an ace, and Max Scherzer is realizing his massive potential. Throw in Anibal Sanchez, and the Tigers may not need to score much in three of every 5 starts.

Rick Porcello and Drew Smyly round out the fivesome but the drop off is steep. Opponents need to take advantage of the back end if they want to overtake the Tigers.

The bullpen should be much improved. Joe Nathan takes over as closer, and despite his advanced age (39), he is still effective. Joba Chamberlain and Al Alburquerque will be the primary set up men with Bruce Rondon done for the year.

The Tigers still have enough weapons to lead this division. When you can run out three pitchers like they do, plus have Miguel Cabrera in the middle o four line up. You have to be the favorite.