Offseason Outlook: 2011 Detroit Tigers

The Tigers tend to be a messy fantasy team, with the exception of one Miggy Cabrera, who continues to develop into a truly fearsome fantasy option.  Otherwise there tend to be a lot of single-category guys.  At least this is my experience with them, once you get past the top players.  With a solid farm system and some money to burn this offseason, the Tigers could be trotting out some new and new-er faces for the fantasy landscape in 2011.  So from pickups to rookies, here are some thoughts on the Tigers going forward.

 

is it just me, or is this tiger trippin' balls?

Carl Crawford/Victor Martinez

The talk is that the Tigers are going to be players for both men this offseason.  Crawford is the more interesting player in that park so let’s talk about V-Mart.  His numbers are not very good for his career at Comerica (.225 AVG, 4 HR, .321 OBP, .671 OPS in 189 AB) and he is clearly better suited as a player in fantasy at Fenway Park- and no, that is not my bias, he is an excellent Fenway hitter, the numbers don’t lie.  It would be interesting where they would play Martinez if he was to go to Motown, as that would affect some of the other players I will be talking about later (mainly Alex Avila).  Put Martinez before or after Cabrera in a lineup, though, and his value is bound to take an upturn in fantasy.  Cabrera is that type of fantasy entity.  With a young emerging team, Martinez would provide a veteran RBI presence in the middle and, who knows, maybe Magglio O rdonez will return (on the much, much cheaper) and the Tigers will have a serious meat of the order.  The Sox will likely win out if it comes down to money, but if they opt to spend their means elsewhere (read; Crawford), Martinez could be swinging in the spacious alleys of Comerica Park.

Now, Carl Crawford.  The Tigers plan on being players for Carl, or as Ken Rosenthal reports, they are “deeply interested.” Crawford, unlike Martinez, has pretty good numbers at Comerica Park historically.  But let’s throw numbers out the window for a moment.  If you have ever had the pleasure of watching Carl Crawford, you know he is a special kind of player.  You also know that he is stupidly fast.  Not just fast but fast around the bases.  When he gets a turn, it is almost as if you can see him shift gears to speed up.  Having said all this, a similar though lesser player, Curtis Granderson, hit over 50 triples in 4+ years in Detroit.  I love triples.  They change the entire dynamic of an inning.  Crawford would figure to be a 15-30-20 guy in Detroit (that’s triples, doubles, homers) without having a great year and that doesn’t even account for his steals.  Signing with Detroit means playing in a great park for his skill set, it will be interesting to see how Detroit plays the situation this offseason.

 

Will Rhymes/Scott Sizemore

One of these second basemen as hyped going into 2010, the other was not.  One performed well in his time in the big leagues, the other did not.  Let me spare you the suspense.  Will Rhymes outplayed Scott Sizemore in similar sample time.  The much hyped Sizemore looked overmatched at times, while Rhymes boasted an excellent 14:16 BB:K ratio in just shy of 200 AB, a stat I always find telling for a young player.  Rhymes posted a .350 OBP , doesn’t show much power other than good gap power at Comerica, but has good speed leading to 12 doubles and 3 triples.  This season will be interesting to see who plays where as both got time at positions other than second, with Sizemore playing some third.  Whoever ins out the battle for 2B in the spring will be worth noting in later rounds of deeper leagues as Sizemore will likely rebound and at least showcase SOME of the talent that led so many to be high on him and Rhymes proved he could hang with the big boys.  In deep leagues where you need MI help, either one could be looking peachy this upcoming season.

 

Brennan Boesch/Austin Jackson

Jackson dipped considerably in the second half but still managed decent numbers for a rookie post-all star break.  Brennan Boesch did not, batting .193 with only 9 extra base hits.  Much of the Tigers’ success will lie in how these two sophomores progress, or not.  Jackson’s splits revealed a baffling (to me, at least) discrepancy between BA versus righties and lefties.  Jackson batted only .226 against southpaws compared to .316 versus righties.  This is very odd.  The way I see it, the league made its adjustments against Jackson during the season and Jackson responded, posting solid-but-not-great stats down the stretch as pitchers figured him out.  Now it’s his turn to adjust.  Whether or not he does that right out the gate or takes a few months is beyond my intellectual capabilities, but I for one, and I speak as a adamant Jackson-basher all season, believe the best is yet to come from this young’n and there will be minimal sophomoric slumpage (that is, if he keeps his K:BB somewhere in this stratosphere.).

Boesch is another story.  He too had seemingly backwards stats, hitting much better against lefties than righties.  He also looked AWFUL in the second half.  The thing about most rookies taking a downturn in their first second half (read it again, it makes sense) is that there is usually something redeeming underneath.  A month with a good average.  A pocket of homers in.  A good BABIP.  A decent BB:K ratio (yes, I love it).  But Boesch just plain kinda sucked.  And having seen some of his AB’s against the Red Sox in the second half, I’ll tell you- it wasn’t pretty.  But I will do my duty and find the silver lining.  And it lies in that peculiar split I mentioned in the first place.  Boesch’s ability to hit lefties give me hope that he is a much better hitter than he demonstrated in his sloth of a second half.  These good numbers against lefties are a continued trend from the minors.  It is often very difficult for rookies to adjust to good pitchers from their weak side (i.e. lefty-lefty).  So it would appear Boesch has a leg up in that portion of the learning  curve.  Maybe.  I’m skeptical of Boesch because his hot streak did not last for my team and I am bitter.  Suffice to say, I’m not as optimistic about Boesch coming out strong as I am with Austin Jackson- and I spent all 2010 waiting for the other shoe to drop with him (it never really did).  I’m watching Boesch closely to start the year, because the numbers he put up to start were SERIOUS (doubles, walks, triples, and homers oh my!), but I can’t advise anyone to snag him with high expectations.

 

Ryan Perry/ Alex Avila

Two guys I would draft.  Perry has closer stuff and has yet to put it together for a full season.  There’s also Jose Valverde there so it’s holds and K’s galore for Perry for now.  He’s also a monster out on the mound and throws reaaallly hard, so keep that in mind-  He’s lanky.

Avila is going to be a good hitter and will likely have a shot to start at some point in 2011.  Didn’t quite make it on my catchers list, but that was more a function of wanting to mention Jake Fox than anything else.  He had a great September and has been in line for the starters spot for a few years.   Avila could be an absolute steal at the end of a draft when you need a second catcher.

 

 

That’s it.  That’s all I have about the Tony Trippin’ Tigers (seriously that picture creeps me out).

 

Until next time, enjoy Yolanda Be Cool & DCUP

 

-w

 

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Filed under Fantasy Baseball, MLB, offseason, Opinion, Posted, Random Thoughts, Sleepers

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