Friday, March 30, 2012

Ten Predictions for Tigers Batters

Yesterday, I presented ten predictions for the Tigers pitching staff.  Today, I'll do the same for the batters:
  • Catcher Alex Avila's batting average will drop from last year, but his power and walks will remain the same.  He'll be one of the top offensive catchers in the game with a .265/.360/.475 line.  The hard-working backstop will also improve his defense, specifically pitch blocking.
  • New first baseman Prince Fielder will crush balls the same way in the American League as he did in the National League.  His final line will be .280/.395/.545 with 37 home runs. 
  • The revolving door at second will continue again this year as the Tigers search for the right balance of offense and defense at the keystone position.  The enigmatic Ryan Raburn will get more action at second than anyone else, but Ramon Santiago and Dannny Worth will also play.  Raburn will finally put together two solid halves batting .270/.335/.470 with 20 homers in 475 plate appearances.  His poor second-base defense will compel manager Jim Leyland to also use him at designated hitter and in the outfield depending on pitching match-ups.
  • There has been little talk about shortstop Johnny Peralta this spring which probably speaks well of him.  He won't repeat last year's performance but will still be an above average offensive shortstop batting .260 with 18 homers.
  • As is his routine, Miguel Cabrera will have another boring MVP-caliber season at the plate - .330/.420/.590 with 35 home runs.  Defensively, he will be a poor third baseman, but will survive the season.  He will often see action at designated hitter when the Tigers have a ground ball pitcher on the mound.
  • Right fielder Brennan Boesch will hit the way he did last year, except with more playing time.  He will be prone to streakiness, but look for him to bat .275 with 22 home runs in 525 at bats.
  • Center fielder Austin Jackson will continue to strikeout (175 of them) and not get on base (.320 OBP) while playing excellent defense.  He will increase his power output to 15 homers and 50 extra base hits for the season.
  • Delmon Young will split time between left field and designated hitter while batting in the enviable fifth position behind Cabrera and Fielder.  He will hit for an unspectacular .750 OPS but drive in 105 runs given the copious supply of base runners.  This will lead to lively debates between sabers and traditionalists regarding his true value.
  •  The Tigers will struggle to get consistent production out of a ninth hitter.  Outfielder Andy Dirks will get the most opportunities reaching base at a .310 clip and hitting 13 homers in 250 at bats. 
  • The Tigers will score 795 runs in 2012.  This will be fourth in the league behind four teams playing in better hitting environments - Yankees, Rangers and Red Sox. 

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