Detroit Tigers Links: Improved Justin Verlander; National Tigers perspective

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A couple national publications weighed in on what the Detroit Tigers have done this offseason and predict what they will do this season.

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We will get to those two links in a moment, but first we take a look at our own Tom Zahari who looks at how Justin Verlander figures to be better this coming season. Should the Tigers want to defy lower-than-usual expectations heading into this year it’s key that we need our ace back. And that’s not to say we need 2011 MVP JV back. We just need a crafty and experienced veteran who can excel once again.

Next up a national writer looks at the Tigers’ season, giving it an average and mixed bag score of a “C.” Finally we take a look at the PECOTA score which has Detroit winning the AL Central again, but with just an 82-80 record. PECOTA often hits their mark and misses it, so with any prediction take it with a grain of salt.

Expect a much better Verlander – Tom Zahari, MCB Special to Detroit Free Press

"Verlander had core surgery last January that sidelined him six weeks. He also could not get a full off-season workout before the surgery because of the pain. Verlander weighed in at 210 pounds last season, 15 pounds less than his average career weight. He has told reporters that he is up to 235 pounds now and is feeling stronger.I believe that core surgery led to most of Verlander’s struggles in 2014. He did not have the same off-season regimen, and his average fastball velocity took a steeper decline than previous years, from 94.0 to 93.1 m.p.h. from 2013 to 2014, compared with 95.0 to 94.7 from 2011 to 2012 and 94.7 to 94.0 from 2012 to 2013. I don’t expect Verlander’s velocity to shoot back up to 94 or 95 on average, but he still can reach back for the mid- to upper-90s when he needs it.The surgery also had profound effects on Verlander’s stamina in 2014. Verlander always has had first-inning struggles in his career, with a 4.17 ERA. That did not change in 2014 (5.34), mostly because he surrendered five home runs in 32 innings and allowed five stolen bases, which allowed more runners to get into scoring position. Verlander posted ERAs of 2.61, 2.32 and 3.19 from the second through fourth innings, showing he still has good stuff."

National writer grades Tigers’ off-season a C – Steve Schrader, Freep

"Gabe Lacques writes that the Tigers’ “actual moves were fine, particularly if Anthony Gose pans out in centerfield and Shane Greene turns into a solid starter. But it’s getting harder to reverse the decimation of a once-peerless rotation that began with the 2013 trade of Doug Fister. If they fail to re-sign David Price, they’ll have lost Max Scherzer, Drew Smyly and Price, with only draft picks to show for it.”"

Don’t buy into PECOTA projection for Tigers – Kurt Mensching, Detroit News

"Putting too much faith in one projection would be a folly, but PECOTA’s standings are always interesting and often telling at this time of the year.BP’s system is one of several popular forecasts for each upcoming season, although it might be the most famous one. It originally was created by East Lansing native Nate Silver, who went on to greater recognition for creating systems that accurately forecast elections and founding the site FiveThirtyEight.Saying that PECOTA “forecasts” or “projects” the upcoming season isn’t quite the right terminology, although it’s the easiest to use and understand. What it does is create a baseline expectation for each player, based on historically similar players, a player’s age and past results. Few will land right on their projection, with some players beating expectations and others missing it.Adjusting these baselines to playing time can help tease out what the standings might look like at the end of the year.Last year the projections managed to pick four of the six division winners correctly, missing both the AL East and AL West. It whiffed hard on the East, projecting the Red Sox to win. In the West, it flipped the Angels and A’s in the standings, but saw both to be playoff teams."

Next: Detroit Tigers speed and stealth

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