Detroit Tigers: Five Milestones to watch out for in 2018

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ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 14: Miguel Cabrera #24 of the Detroit Tigers reacts to the homerun by Ian Kinsler in the seventh inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington on August 14, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 14: Miguel Cabrera #24 of the Detroit Tigers reacts to the homerun by Ian Kinsler in the seventh inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington on August 14, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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CHICAGO, IL – MAY 28: Jordan Zimmermann
CHICAGO, IL – MAY 28: Jordan Zimmermann /

Jordan Zimmermann: 100 Wins (13 shy)

After seven seasons with the Washington Nationals, Zimmermann signed with the Tigers boasting an excellent 70-50 W-L record. Unfortunately, he has only posted a 17-20 record in the Motor City, with an ugly 5.60 ERA and 1.47 WHIP across 47 starts.

That leaves Zimmermann with 87 wins, just 13 away from reaching 100 for his career. Named Detroit’s opening day starter, Zimmermann will remain in the starting rotation as long as he is healthy.

That should net him around 25-30 starts, plenty of opportunities to earn 13 wins. Zimmermann will need to help himself however. His 6.08 ERA from 2017 is unlikely to get him anywhere near 13 victories.

Zimmermann’s rapid decline in Detroit primarily stems from a decrease in his fastball velocity, which dipped to 92.5 miles per hour when he first arrived in the Motor City. That allowed hitters to post a ridiculous .944 OPS on the heater in 2016.

2017 saw Zimmermann’s fastball remain roughly 92 miles per hour, but his curveball’s success plummeted as well, leaving Zimmermann with virtually nothing left in the tank. The result was an epically bad 6.08 ERA and 29 home runs surrendered.

For Zimm to reach 13 wins, he will need to find some of the velocity he had earlier in his career and get his breaking pitches back to where they once were. His 4.15 ERA in spring training is an improvement,  but he’s surrendered three home runs in just 13 innings, which is not a good sign.

Fans can hope Zimmermann’s 100th victory comes at the tail end of the 2018 season, but a rebuilding team and a pitcher who has been going backward for two seasons is not a recipe for success.

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