Return of Victor Martinez Should Give the Detroit Tigers Another Division Crown

By Bryan Lutz
Matthew Emmons – USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Tigers won the 2012 American League Central Championship, but they didn’t really show that great potential that everyone thought they had entering the season. When the team signed Prince Fielder to a huge deal last January, many thought the Tigers would have clinched the division by August. But with the Chicago White Sox playing beyond their expectations, it took Detroit until mid-September to take control of baseball’s most pathetic division. In 2013, however, the Tigers are getting back one of the better hitters in all of baseball – – Victor Martinez.

It appears that Martinez will be ready when spring training begins, giving Detroit the best 3-4-5 in all of baseball. What many people forget about is that Martinez was simply fantastic for the Tigers in 2011. Not only did he have a slash line of .330/.380/.470, but he was one of the most clutch hitters in baseball, hitting .394 with runners in scoring position.

It’s just hard for me to think of a team that can dethrone the Tigers in the American League Central, which is why it makes even less sense for the Kansas City Royals to go all-in this season. The Tigers clearly have the hitting to dominate the American League Central, figuring that their 1-5 is probably the best in baseball – – Los Angeles Angels need a legitimate No. 2 hitter if they want to be the best. And Detroit’s starting pitching is easily the best in the division, especially since they re-signed Anibal Sanchez.

With Martinez back in the fold, I realistically expect the Tigers to win the division by at least 15 games and possibly the World Series. They’re just that good, folks.

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