Detroit Tigers: Power Rankings Are Wrong. So Wrong.
Justin Upton. Francisco Rodriguez. Justin Wilson. Jordan Zimmermann. The Detroit Tigers spent the offseason gathering talented players, re-signing veteran team members, and getting healthy.
Yet, CBS Sports writer Matt Snyder stuck the team smack dab in the middle of the pack. Number 15. That’s all.
This ranking seriously discounts everything that Al Avila, Mike Ilitch, Brad Ausmus, and the players on the team have been doing in this offseason.
This ranking is a slap in the face and the Tigers will certainly slap back.
The teams that Snyder placed ahead of the Tigers include:
- Chicago Cubs
- Kansas City Royals
- New York Mets
- San Fransisco Giants
- Houston Astros
- LA Dodgers
- Toronto Blue Jays
- St. Louis Cardinals
- Pittsburgh Pirates
- Texas Rangers
- New York Yankees
- Boston Red Sox
- Washington Nationals
- Cleveland Indians
The argument is not that the Tigers should be in the one or two spot, but 15 is too low. There is no way that the Yankees or Indians should out-perform the Tigers during the 2016 season. Sure, the Yankees signed Aroldis Chapman, but they also lost Justin Wilson – to the Tigers. They also picked up Starlin Castro, but the team is relatively the same as last year. And, CC Sabathia is coming off of a stint in rehab for alcohol abuse. When the current Yankees players faced Jordan Zimmermann, they only averaged .233; Castro has only batted .200 versus Zimmermann in previous meetings.
Cleveland picked up Mike Napoli and former Tiger Rajai Davis. The team does have a collection of pitchers, but fans have watched the Tigers have fun hitting off of Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar. The current Tigers lineup has a .355 batting average against Corey Kluber – Miguel Cabrera alone has a .543 average. On the flip side, Cleveland batters posted a .232 batting average against Justin Verlander (even when he wasn’t healthy).
The Red Sox are also ranked above the Tigers. David Ortiz will have his farewell season (at age 40). He has hit strongly againstly the Tigers; but after a while, streaks end and this could be the year the Tigers strike back against him. The Red Sox did add some arms in the offseason, especially David Price and Craig Kimbrel. Not many Tigers have faced Kimbrel and there are Tigers who have above-average hitting against Price. After his short time in Toronto, Price proved that he throws pitches that can be hit. The Red Sox were a team that was overrated in 2015 and did not deliver; so the #12 spot could be a bit too high, even with Dave Dombrowski at the helm. There are some aging players on this Boston team and the Tigers would like nothing more than to hand a bunch of losses to Dombrowski’s new team.
The Royals and the Tigers continue to have a rivalry in the AL Central. In 2015, the Tigers were 9 and 10 against the 2015 World Series Champions. The list of winning and losing Tigers pitchers in the 19-game series is quite different than the list that will appear in 2016. Should the Royals be in the number two, spot? Probably, since they did not make many offseason changes and they still have a stacked bullpen. They are the team to beat in 2016 now that the players have their rings.
Matt Snyder believes that the Chicago Cubs are the best team in the MLB. Anyone who watched the Tigers devour the team in 2015 might question Snyder’s choice. The Tigers went 3-1 in the short interleague series; when the Tigers visited Wrigley Field in August, they scored 25 runs to the Cubs 16. The only game the Cubs won was pitched by Jake Arrieta. The winning pitchers against the Cubs included Anibal Sanchez, Al Alburquerque, and Neftali Feliz. Francisco Rodriguez has held Cubs hitters to .171 and Justin Upton has an OPS of .992 against Cubs pitching.
The Tigers will face the Mets, Pirates, and Nationals in interleague play in 2016. It remains to be seen how the Tigers perform against the young knock-out pitchers in New York. They will also have to play against former friends Curtis Granderson and Yoenis Cespedes, but they are both manageable for Tigers pitchers. The Pirates come to Detroit and then the two teams travel back to Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh could be a beatable team for the Tigers, since the Bucs have been losing power at the plate. In 2015, they hit 140 home runs; the Tigers hit 151.
More from Detroit Tigers News
- Detroit Tigers: Victor Reyes finding ways to get the job done
- The Detroit Tigers must cut their losses and release Jonathan Schoop
- Detroit Tigers: Garrett Hill’s new role and changed delivery are excellent
- Detroit Tigers: Joe Jiménez has rebounded in 2022
- Detroit Tigers: Is it finally time to move the fences in at Comerica Park?
Then, there are the Nats. This team has Max Scherzer, but even he was spotty in 2015. The Nats were one of the biggest disappointments in 2015 (along with the Tigers) and they have not changed much. They added Daniel Murphy and Ben Revere, but they no longer have Jordan Zimmermann and a handful of other players. Their dugout chemistry is one of the weakest in the league and it shows when they play. Putting the Nats ahead of the Tigers is another mistake.
So, where should the Tigers be on the list? Certainly not in the 15th spot. They should be above Washington, Cleveland, the New York Yankees, and most likely the Texas Rangers, especially without Yovanni Gallardo. They could also easily be placed above the Red Sox. This would put the Tigers somewhere around the #10 spot on the list – which seems more respectable, especially considering the healthy talent and the newly acquired All-Stars on the team.
Next: Detroit Tigers: Is Jose Iglesias a Top 10 Shortstop?
If the Tigers have been paying attention to the rankings that have been appearing on CBS Sports, MLB Network, and other major media outlets, they should be able to prove the “experts” wrong. It is much easier to be an underdog and succeed than to be a top dog and maintain the top spot. The bullseyes will certainly rest on the Cubs, Mets, Royals, and Blue Jays after their successes in the 2015 post-season. This leaves plenty of space for the underrated Detroit Tigers to do their magic on the road to the 2016 World Series.