As Opening Day approaches, the Detroit Tigers along with the rest of the 29 MLB teams received their predictions from scouts in the latest edition of Sports Illustrated.
The Detroit Tigers were predicted to finish the season in second place behind the Cleveland Indians in the AL Central, but in seventh place overall.
According to the unnamed rival scout to shared his thoughts on the Tigers on page 84 in the magazine, they should finish with a wild-card spot.
It is difficult to disagree with a second-place finish and the seventh overall spot, but the scouting report did include a few ingredients that are most likely not going to happen.
First, the starting rotation has glaring errors. Sports Illustrated is predicting that the rotation will include Justin Verlander, Michael Fulmer, Jordan Zimmermann, Anibal Sanchez, and Daniel Norris. In that order. Anyone who has followed the Tigers’ spring training has a better idea of who will be in the rotation. The first three names look to be all set, but the last two will most likely include Daniel Norris and Matt Boyd. Even though Sanchez did look good in his last outing on March 20 when he allowed two hits and struck out five against the New York Mets, he has struggled mightily this spring. Zimmermann has also struggled
Zimmermann has also struggled this spring. His 15.00 ERA, .406 batting-average against, and 2.67 WHIP is disconcerting. According to George Sipple from the Detroit Free Press, Zimmermann has said:
"“I’m fine. I’m healthy and I feel good.”"
While a player’s salary should not be the determining factor for a spot in the rotation, ZImmermann’s $18 million will most likely put him in the rotation. Unless he gets hurt. After Zimmermann’s outstanding performance to start the 2016 season, it is likely that he will get a spot in the rotation over Sanchez who has struggled for several seasons.
Center Field Predictions
The other prediction is that Tyler Collins will play centerfield. While this is a fair prediction, it might not be the best one. The one thing that could keep Collins in Detroit his the fact that he out of options to go back to Triple-A Toledo. But, he has not performed as well as JaCoby Jones who has a .324 batting average. Collins has a .211 average. Jones has spent the most innings (67) at center field while Collins only has 27. Collins was injured for a percentage of the season. While Collins’ left-handed bat would be a nice addition, his left-handed bat has not performed as well as Jones’ right-handed one. Sports Illustrated is probably wrong about Collins getting that everyday spot.
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There is also one glaring mistake about the Tigers in the latest Sports Illustrated. Joe Sheehan with SI wrote a sidebar called “Modest Proposal” and his topic was Anthony Gose. In it, Sheehan writes about Gose:
"“Gose, who would bat ninth, hit .254/.321/.367 with 23 steals as the starter in 2015, and at only 26 years old, hasn’t lost a step.”"
Again, anyone who has followed the Tigers knows that Anthony Gose has lost a step. He is tied with the majority of the Tigers with zero bases stolen in spring training. In fact, he was thrown out in his one attempt. Gose struck out 15 times in 36 at-bats and has nearly closed out the season with a .250 batting average. Gose has not put up much of a fight to get that coveted spot at center field. Sheehan’s “Modest Proposal” is rather outlandish.
Sports Illustrated does have a few predictions that will hopefully come true. One is that Nick Castellanos and Fulmer will be rising stars on the team. The other is that the veterans will be strong at the plate. Barring any injuries, of course.