Detroit Tigers Spring Training Roundtable: Home Run Leader
The Detroit Tigers will once again field a stellar offense in 2016. Who then will lead the team in home runs in 2016? Motor City Bengals has you covered.
Since the Detroit Tigers returned to baseball prominence around a decade ago, the team’s hallmark has been offense. From Magglio Ordonez to Curtis Granderson to Prince Fielder, some prolific sluggers have come and gone for the Tigers.
Detroit still has some pretty stellar hitters with Miguel Cabrera, J.D. Martinez, Justin Upton and Victor Martinez to name a few.
Upton’s addition in particular should return the Tigers to the front of the pack where baseball’s offenses are concerned. What’s more, healthy seasons from Cabrera and Martinez shouldn’t hurt either.
Considering Detroit will score a significant number of runs, here’s a look at who the writers here at Motor City Bengals think will lead the team in home runs.
Miguel Cabrera. At least 39. He’s feeling good and is ready to play. He is also ready to silence his critics who think he is no longer the best in the league (like the guys at CBS Sports). In 2015, he hit 18. He hit 44 in the Triple Crown year. He’s got Justin Upton and J.D. Martinez on his toes, pushing him to continue being the best hitter on the planet. Pitchers are making it more difficult to hit the dingers, but he’ll have a handful of games in Miami, where the fences are in, so he’ll hit some in the first series. It is amazing to think that even when injured he can hit 25 (2014) and 44 (2015). I don’t think he will be the leader in home runs in the AL – he will get another batting title, but I think it will be in batting average or RBIs.
Miguel Cabrera. With the exception of 2014 and 2015, Cabrera has led the Tigers in dingers every year since joining the team before the 2008 season. Despite not leading the team in home runs the past two seasons, he finished second and tied for second respectively.
Since being acquired by Detroit, Miggy has led the American League in home runs twice. Alex Rodriguez, Chris Davis and Jose Bautista are the only other players to accomplish the feat this century.
What’s more, the 32-year-old Cabrera has had a full offseason program after missing out on it in the past due to injury. The future Hall of Famer should be healthy by the time Spring Training rolls around. Potentially hitting behind Ian Kinsler and Justin Upton will do even more to boost Cabrera’s numbers.
Even with last season’s 18 home runs and 12 in his rookie campaign, Cabrera has averaged 31 home runs per season in his career. While that number isn’t as many as J.D. Martinez’ 38 in 2015, look for Miguel Cabrera to lead the Detroit Tigers in home runs for the 2016 Major League Baseball season.
J.D. Martinez. Miguel Cabrera is starting to show signs of wear and tear. He’s still one of the best hitters in the game, but I think his power is going to provide a lot more doubles than home runs this season. Martinez is one of the biggest surprises in baseball over the last two years, and he’s going to continue to rake. This guy can hit it out to every part of the field, and now he could actually have some protection if Brad Ausmus wisely bats Justin Upton behind him in the six spot.
Miguel Cabrera: The only reason Cabrera would not win this race is if he is hampered by injuries like he has been the last few seasons. Justin Upton and J.D. Martinez can put up strong competition, but Cabrera is still the best hitter on the planet. When Cabrera plays at least 140 games in Detroit, he has hit at least 30 home runs each season, except for 2014 when he battled injuries for most of the season. If Cabrera has his legs underneath him, he could easily win another Triple Crown and MVP. If he continues to struggle with groin, hamstring, knee, and ankle injuries, Cabrera’s home runs will decline, but his doubles will be up and J.D. Martinez will take the home run title.
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J.D. Martinez. Unfortunately, Miguel Cabrera isn’t the 40+ home run guy he used to be. Between injuries and his slight decline in home run power he’ll probably top out around 30. That leaves us with JD. After a surprise 2014 season, he followed it up with an even better 2015 season, slugging 38 home runs. JD may be ready to kick it up another notch this year since he proved 2014 was no fluke. Expect somewhere in the 40 home run range which will by far lead the team.
J.D. Martinez. Even though I think Miguel Cabrera could potentially have a good season I think he will be edged out by J.D. Martinez. He is completely settled into the grove in Detroit and that will really help him, as well as his ability to stay healthy and his growing power. Cabrera is past his prime now, not saying that he isn’t good just saying that he probably won’t play all season and that will really affect his ability to win the home run crown for the Tigers. Martinez’s home run total has been increasing significantly and I think that will continue through the 2016 season. I think that Martinez will increase his homerun total to around 44-45 range and Cabrera will hit around 30-35 if he has a full season. Justin Upton may contend as well. He has hit over 25 home runs each of the last 3 seasons, including 26 home runs while playing at Petco Park which is a huge baseball field. I see Upton hitting 25-30 home runs in Comerica which is nothing to scoff at, but Martinez has my vote for the home run king in Detroit.
Next: Miguel Cabrera Season Preview
Will it be Cabrera or Martinez? Could it be another player? Tell us what you think and join the conversation on Facebook and/or Twitter.
Also, check back in with Motor City Bengals each day this week for more roundtables on everything Spring Training for the Detroit Tigers.