Detroit Tigers: Fangraphs Predictions Don’t Look Good
If the people at Fangraphs know what they are talking about, then the Detroit Tigers will finish under .500. With the deep look into the depth of the Tigers, the analytics website is predicting that the team will finish in the middle of the AL Central with a measly .489 season.
Of course, any prediction is exactly that – a prediction. However, when it comes to baseball, statistics tend to be reliable. The Fangraphs site uses a predicted WAR to determine whether or not a player will be successful in 2016. The biggest issue keeping the Tigers out of the number one spot is the team’s pitching, but Fangraphs also appears to be low-balling WAR on players who historically have had better numbers.
Fangraphs is also using Steamer Projections to determine the successes and failures of teams in 2016. Right now, they are predicting that the top teams in the league will be the Chicago Cubs and the Boston Red Sox. This is based on the Cubs adding Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward to a team that is already solid. The Red Sox growth is based on adding David Price and Craig Kimbrel. They are also expecting that some Red Sox players will dramatically improve from their 2015 performances.
The predictions are based on 2015 statistics, so some players may not be taken at their best. Take Victor Martinez, for example. Martinez had one of his worst seasons in 2015, after having one of his best. So, Fangraphs is predicting that Martinez will only have a WAR between 0.5 and 0.9. In 2014, he had a WAR of 5.4 and finished second in the MVP race. If a healthy, uninjured V-Mart plays in 2016, he could certainly earn a much higher WAR and help the team achieve higher than a .489 win percentage.
The other player who has a lowball prediction is Justin Verlander. Fangraphs is predicting JV to have an ERA of 3.78, a BABIP of .296, and a FIP of .410. Even after his slow start in 2015, JV finished the season with an ERA of 3.38 and a FIP of 3.49. In his MVP and Cy Young season, his ERA was 2.40 and his FIP was 2.99. Like V-Mart, if JV has a better season, like he had in the second half of 2015, there is a good chance that the Fangraphs predictions about him will be significantly wrong.
Fangraphs has also gone low on J.D. Martinez. He has had two seasons in a row with constant improvement, but the predictions on Martinez do not come close to his 2014 and 2015 showings. As a batter, Fangraphs is predicting a 2.6 WAR, despite his oWAR of 8.8 in two years with the Tigers. There is no sign that Martinez will be slowing down at the plate or in the field.
On another note, Fangraphs does not give the AL Central much love. They predict that the winning team will be Cleveland Indians with the Chicago White Sox finishing second. The Tigers are predicted to finish ahead of the Kansas City Royals with the Minnesota Twins at the bottom. They predict the Indians will have a .521 winning percentage and Twins will have a .480 percentage. They are predicting the Chicago Cubs to have the best winning percentage in the league with .584.
Next: Untouchable Detroit Tigers Prospects
Early predictions rarely turn out as expected. There is too much human element involved. Remember the 2015 predictions from the experts. The Washington Nationals, Seattle Mariners, Tigers, and Indians were supposed to be the dominating teams in 2015. All four were disappointments. Odds are safe that the Fangraphs predictions will also turn out to be wrong in 2016.