Monday, March 30, 2015
Ten Predictions for Tigers Batters in 2015
(Photo credit: Associated Press)
The national media seems to be a little down on the Tigers this year and even Tigers fans are not as optimistic as they have been in past springs. Is this pessimism justified? I'll try to answer that by making some predictions for the 2015 season. These are not mathematical projections, but rather a mix of science and intuition. I'll start by offering ten predictions for Tigers batters:
Alex Avila has taken a beating both physically on the field and verbally (or digitally) from fans the past couple of years. While health problems (most notably concussions) are threatening to shorten his career, the Tigers backstop has still been a solid contributor the last couple of seasons producing average offense and strong defense for his position. The presence of backup catcher James McCann should mean more rest and fewer at bats versus left-handed pitchers for Avila resulting in a .240/.340/.400 line. McCann will get on base at a .320 clip batting mostly against lefties.
Miguel Cabrera will miss some time this year due to nagging injuries as the team becomes more cautious about his health, but he won't be playing with a broken foot. He won't reclaim his MVP from Mike Trout, but expect another MVP caliber season where he'll bat .320/.380/.540 with 35 home runs.
Ian Kinsler will recover from his uncharacteristic four percent walk rate in 2014 and get back to getting on base at a decent clip. Look for a 270/.340/.400 line with 15 stolen bases. He will continue to be an above average defender at age 31.
Jose Iglesias will complete the best Tigers defensive double play combination since Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammell. Iglesias will not remind anyone of Trammell offensively batting .250 with no power, but the defensive wizard will do enough with his glove where we won't worry about his bat.
Nick Castellanos will improve substantially at the plate batting .290 with 18 home runs with an especially good second half. That will help him offset his third base defense which will still be among the worst in the majors.
JD Martinez will prove that last year was not a fluke batting .290 batting average with 28 home runs. He will be the second most productive hitter on the team.
Anthony Gose and Rajai Davis will survive the season playing center field and platooning in the lead-off spot. They will combine for a .325 on-base percentage and 65 stolen bases. Gose will be a significant improvement defensively over the departed Austin Jackson.
Yoenis Cespedes will have his best offensive season since his rookie year and his power and arm will make him a fan favorite. I'll put him down for .270 with 26 home runs and a .785 OPS.
Victor Martinez will start slow and finish strong, but will not come close to matching his fantastic 2014 season. He will bat .300 with a .800 OPS in 135 games.
The Tigers will score 770 runs in 2015.