Detroit Tigers: Previewing the 2018 lineup

mgilpatrick
DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 17: Nicholas Castellanos #9 of the Detroit Tigers celebrates with Jeimer Candelario #46 of the Detroit Tigers as he crosses the plate in front of catcher Rob Brantly #44 of the Chicago White Sox after hitting a two-run home run during the sixth inning at Comerica Park on September 17, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 17: Nicholas Castellanos #9 of the Detroit Tigers celebrates with Jeimer Candelario #46 of the Detroit Tigers as he crosses the plate in front of catcher Rob Brantly #44 of the Chicago White Sox after hitting a two-run home run during the sixth inning at Comerica Park on September 17, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Tigers
DENVER, CO – AUGUST 30: Miguel Cabrera #24 of the Detroit Tigers has an RBI as he grounds into a double play with the bases loaded in the eighth inning of a game at Coors Field on August 30, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

Batting Third: First-baseman Miguel Cabrera

Last year was a down-year for the 2012 Triple-Crown winner. But Miguel Cabrera, and the Detroit Tigers are hoping for a resurgence. The lineup feels different when he’s hot. Everyone seems to perform better when he’s raking.

Cabrera dropped off BIG TIME last year. He went from .316/.393/.956 with 38 home runs to .249/.329/.728 with 16 long balls. That’s unlike anything we’ve ever seen from the two-time MVP.

While players regress as they age, Cabrera’s 34. Losing over 50 points off his batting average isn’t normal. Cutting home run numbers in half is ridiculous. He’s regressing, but is bound to have a couple good years left, at least.

Baseball-reference agrees. They have him hitting .284/.367/.482, with 22 home runs and 72 RBIs. It’s a slight uptick from last year. While it may not be the production Tigers fans are used to, it’s better than having him perform at a replaceable level.

The elite years are behind him. He won’t He won’t hit .330 with 30+ long balls anymore. But Cabrera will still produce. He may have a .300 with 25 home run season.

Then again, perhaps the projections are realistic. Cabrera is more human, and isn’t as scary as years past. He doesn’t have a young Victor Martinez behind him. Teams may opt to walk him instead of pitching to him.

If Martinez leaves the team, Cabrera will shift to DH. The Tigers need his bat, and don’t want him to get injured in the field, if possible.

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