Detroit Tigers: Injuries Will Determine Season’s Fate
Detroit Tigers players have sustained a number of injuries in past seasons. These injuries have directly impacted the team’s record. If the team can stay healthy this year, they can do some damage.
The Detroit Tigers players have to potential to win 90 games and make a postseason run. On paper, their lineup is one of the best in baseball, their starting rotation can be strong, and the bullpen which has haunted them looks to be much improved. Although the Tigers have the skills, they only have so much control over their own destiny because of injuries. Even though they have suffered a few injuries, they believe they’re heading in the right direction in 2016.
After a stretch of seasons where their starting pitchers went without injury, the Tigers were hampered by injuries to their starting rotation in 2015, and it may stretch into 2016.
Justin Verlander was hurt during 2014 and 2015 leading to two down seasons, but looked healthy in his Opening Day start. If he can stay healthy through 2016, the Tigers have the ace they hoped they had when they signed Verlander.
Much like Verlander, Anibal Sanchez has also been limited by injuries making a combined 46 starts in the past two seasons, and his 25 starts in 2015 were incredibly poor. The perfect scenario would have Sanchez win the ERA crown once again, but if he can have an ERA in the mid-3s, the Tigers would be happy.
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Finally, Daniel Norris has endured his fair share of injuries, the latest being his broken spinous processes in his back. As the main piece of the David Price deal, the Tigers need Norris to be a quality starter at the back of the rotation, especially if Shane Greene does not produce.
The Tigers are also dealing with issues in the front end of their bullpen. The back end is healthy, but the two best Tigers relievers from 2015 both started the season injured. Blaine Hardy is dealing with shoulder impingement and Alex Wilson has rotator cuff inflammation. The back end of the bullpen cannot pitch every night and the starters won’t go 6 innings every night.
The Tigers lineup also looks healthy, but has dealt with injuries in the past, especially in the middle of the order. Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez both look to be healthy to start the season. If they can be healthy, the Tigers’ lineup is easily a top lineup in baseball.
In 2015, Victor only played 120 games and was hampered by multiple leg injuries which limited his effectiveness leading to the worst season of his career. Miguel Cabrera has also dealt with lower body injuries almost every season since 2013, but it affected his playing time in 2015 to 119 games.
On paper, the Tigers have the ability to be legitimate contenders for the division and a playoff run, but their performance on the field will largely be determined by their injuries.