2013 Detroit Tigers
Projected opening day lineup:
1 – Austin Jackson – CF
2 – Torii Hunter – RF
3 – Miguel Cabrera – 3B
4 – Prince Fielder – 1B
5 – Victor Martinez – DH
6 – Andy Dirks (Platoon) – LF
7 – Jhonny Peralta – SS
8 – Alex Avila – C
9 – Omar Infante – 2B
Leadoff – Austin Jackson retains the leadoff spot as the sparkplug atop the Tigers roster
#2 – Torii Hunter should slide right into the 2 spot, a place from which he excelled for the Angels once Mike Trout was called up last season.
#3/4 – Miggy and Prince, obviously one of the most feared 3/4 combos in the game
#5 – Victor Martinez returns after missing all of 2012, and should find plenty of RBI chances from the 5 spot in the lineup
#6 – Assuming they don’t bump everyone up in the lineup and slide the platoon to the 9 hole, Andy Dirks should see the majority of starts in left, but the Tigers are looking for a right handed hitting option to platoon with Dirks in left
#7 – Peralta had a down year overall in 2012, bump heated up in the playoffs and will look to carry that into 2013
#8 – Alex Avila has been dealing with patella tendinitis in both knees since the end of last season, and will enter 2013 with the label injury risk all over him. It would be a major victory if he appears in more than 100 games for the Tigers this season, and the once promising young catcher appears to be on the decline at just 26 years of age.
#9 – Infante is a solid hitter from the bottom of the lineup (2012 – .274/12/53 with 17 SB), and should be healthy to start spring training this season.
Projected starting rotation:
Closer – Bruce Rondon
Justin Verlander is the obvious ace of this staff (and the American League). The #2 spot will be contested between strikeout man Max Scherzer and Doug Fister. Anibal Sanchez signed a 5 year extension for $80 million over the offseason, so he is guaranteed a roster spot, meaning Drew Smyly and Rick Porcello will be competing for the 5th and final spot.
The most likely scenario will be Smyly or Porcello being dealt before the season begins, making the starting rotation a bit more obvious
Jose Valverde has left the Tigers meaning the closer of the future Bruce Rondon is likely to take over 9th inning duties for the Tigers in 2013. One of the few sleeper closers this season, keep an eye on Rondon in spring training, and plan on taking him late in drafts this preseason.