Now that the Detroit Tigers appear to have their ace pitcher back after about a two-year slumber, and with the currently club pretty much out of the playoff push, it is never too early to look to 2016.
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First up, Justin Verlander. His near no-hitter on Wednesday received a lot of notoriety, but he has been marvelous in seven of his last eight starts. Verlander has been so dominant (despite only having two wins to show for it because of poor run support and bullpen meltdowns) it has filled the gap nicely from losing David Price a month ago.
While we have seen Verlander up and down since 2013, we have not seen this level of dominance for him, as #MustSeeJV is truly back for the first time since the 2013 postseason.
It’s probably not wise to expect Justin to continue on this pace, but I’d be surprised to see him sink back into the depths he’s experienced. His future once again looks bright.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is Victor Martinez, who looks like he’s on his last legs these days. We all know about the injury suffered by V-Mart and I guess we are all hoping 4-5 months off this offseason will help him to heal so we can see the real V-Mart return, but will we?
He’ll be 37 next year and is with the Tigers for three more seasons. We hope he can turn a corner, and we all know Victor comes back when you count him out, but if his production in 2016 mirrors 2015, the Tigers are in trouble.
Finally, with his tremendous year at AA Erie last year, there was talks that Steven Moya would make the Tigers’ 2015 Opening Day roster. Of course the team traded for Yoenis Cespedes and he was pushed further down the depth chart. It didn’t help that injuries and inconsistency this year have hampered him.
You have to think Moya will be on track to play in Detroit in 2016, but where will he play? He’s a right fielder and played that position during September call-ups a year ago but now J.D. Martinez is entrenched in that spot.
Lately he’s been playing in left field for Toledo as we tick away toward this year’s September call-ups. Looking forward to next year, if the Tigers want to move forward with him in left field (probably in a platoon with Tyler Collins), what does that do for the chances of signing Cespedes this offseason?
Verlander gem bodes well for Tigers in ’16 – Steve Schrader, Detroit Free Press
"Katie Strang, espn.com: “If Verlander’s superlative performance is a harbinger for things to come, it’s perhaps the most encouraging sign for a team that is currently six games under .500 (60-66) that the Tigers’ ace is rounding back into form after an injury-hampered past couple of seasons.“Verlander, who underwent abdominal surgery prior to the 2014 season and began the 2015 season on the disabled list, is coming back from the toughest stretch of his career. Wednesday night brought him one step closer to silencing any skepticism that he could once again become the type of dominant pitcher from years past.“He has always believed he would get there. Now everyone else will be forced to as well.”"
V-Mart’s season: ‘Toughest year of my career by far’ – Anthony Fenech, Freep
"“Last year, it seemed like everything I hit was falling. Everything I hit was leaving the park, and this year, it’s completely different,” he said. “You keep working, keep going out there and control what I can control. I go out there to be a tough out. It doesn’t matter who I’m facing, I just want to be a tough out.”The presence of Martinez in the batter’s box is a tough out. Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he didn’t want to walk Miguel Cabrera with a runner on first and two outs in the eighth inning of a one-run game Tuesday night because of it.But the results during an injury-interrupted season haven’t come.In 92 games entering Wednesday, Martinez was hitting .243 with nine home runs and 53 RBIs. He missed a month with left knee soreness, stemming from an off-season repair on his left meniscus, which he tore in late January. It was the second major knee surgery in three seasons.“It’s definitely been the toughest year of my career by far,” Martinez said. “I feel good, I’m putting good swings and, like I say, the results are not there. I want the results, but the results are not there.”"
Moya could get left-field look with Tigers in September – Chris McCosky, Detroit News
"Moya has played almost exclusively in right field since he was signed by the Tigers. He played one game in left in the Gulf Coast League in 2012. But with J.D. Martinez in his second arbitration year and under team control through 2017, Moya’s not going to be manning right field in Detroit any time soon."