Record Breaking Year For The 2018 Detroit Tigers?

As the 2003 Detroit Tigers prepared for another spring in Lakeland Florida, they looked forward to fielding stalwart players named Morris, Munson, and Witt. Unfortunately not Jack, Thurman or Bobby but Warren, Eric, and Kevin.

The Detroit Tigers new manager Alan Trammell had inherited a team that was woefully deficient. They scraped together aptitude Pitching and batting the bottom of the barrel. This was after losing key players and not signing any significant new players from the 2002 roster. The 2002 Tigers finished last in the Central Division with a record of 55 and 106.

 

Going into September, the Detroit team had a record of 34-92. They went on to win 9 more games to avoid tying the 1962 Mets for the worst record in MLB history. Due to a variety of reasons the 2003 Tigers have been named by a number of sources as the worst team ever to play in the major league ranks.

The Tigers won a total of 6 games in September of 2017 and finishing with the worst record in both the American and National leagues. After that, the question arises-Will 2018 Detroit Tigers become the worst team in MLB history?

Hitting

Led by Dmitri Young (29  hrs and 85 RBI) the 2003 team had 5 players with 50 or more RBIs and 6 with double-digit HRs. The Bengals finished the season with a paltry .240 batting average and an OBP of .300.

Conversely, the returning Tigers from 2017, are led by Nick Castellanos (26  hrs and 101 rbi). They have 4 players with 50 or more rbi and 5 players had double-digit hrs. Only four of the regulars, signed for 2018, hit over .250.

Granted the two teams are relatively comparable in offensive stats but taking into account the number of rookies on this year’s upcoming team, the 2003 squad has a slight edge.

Pitching

Turning to pitching, the 2003 team was led by reliever Jamie Walker who made 78 appearances with an ERA of 3.32. The remainder of the staff, starters, and relievers combined had only two pitchers with an ERA under 4.00

Nate Cornejo (6 – 17 and 4.67 ERA), Mike Maroth (9 – 21 and 5.73 ERA), and Jeremy Bonderman (6-19 with 5.56 ERA) led the league in losses. It was the first time pitchers from the same team compiled the 1st, 2nd and 3rd worst win/loss records in either league.

Contrary to the Tigers offensive lineup, the 2018 Tigers will return most of their pitching staff from the previous year. Unfortunately, two of the departed were their crème.

The significant departure of Justin Verlander cannot be overstated. Justin cannot be replaced even by the efforts of 2016 Rookie of the Year Michael Fulmer.

With the departure of Anibal Sanchez, the starting pitching rotation of the 2018 Detroit Tigers will consist of Jordan Zimmerman, Matt Boyd, Mike Fiers, Daniel Norris, and Fulmer.

Fulmer will, undoubtedly, be the ace of the squad and his success will hinge, in part, on a full recovery from the arm injury that plagued him last year. The rest of the squad is even more questionable.

If  Zimmerman cannot find the lost speed on his fastball, he will be looking at another disappointing season. That is the bright side of the rotation. The remaining three pitchers are still trying to find their way.

Norris and Boyd have looked exceptional at times and lost at others. Fiers, obtained in the offseason is also untried but appears to be a middle of the rotation pitcher at best.

The relief pitchers will consist of only 2 that had an ERA under 4.00 and with a combined WHIP slightly above 1.50. Depressing!

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Outlook for 2018 Detroit Tigers

An unbiased look at both the pitching staff and our offensive capabilities leads one to understand that 2018 will be a tough year, at best. They most likely have a chance to usurp the 2003 Tigers and rightly be the worst team ever.

One cannot truly take the true measure of a man, or team, without conflict. The 2018 Detroit Tiger team, undoubtedly, will see a conflict.

See you in Lakeland!

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