5 Relatively Modest Predictions For The Detroit Tigers In 2014
5 Realistic Predictions For The Detroit Tigers in 2014
2014 should be a very exciting year for the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers have a brand new manager in Brad Ausmus who is ostensibly going to bring a whole new style of strategy to the team. For the first time in years, the Tigers have speed on the base-paths and have legitimate base stealing threats in Ian Kinsler and Rajai Davis. Ausmus spent 15.5 seasons of his 18-year MLB career in the National League, and his managerial choices are likely to reflect that fact. Tigers fans should expect to see a lot more bunting and base stealing in 2014 than they have in quite some time.
Ausmus’ predecessor, Jim Leyland, was a self-proclaimed fan of the three-run homer, and Tigers fans know full well that sitting around and waiting for the big blast did not produce a championship for the Motor City. Even with Miguel Cabrera on the squad, the Tigers found out that a team still needs to come up with creative ways to score runs from time to time, and the Tigers are finally going to be a team that can manufacture runs.
The Tigers have also made a few new additions to their bullpen, which is expected to be much more dependable in 2014 than it was in 2013, and there are some new faces in the Tigers' infield as well so the Tigers will also look different in that regard.
I have begun brainstorming a list of reasonable predictions for the Tigers in 2014. Although I would love to agree with ESPN’s Buster Olney that the Tigers are going to win the World Series in 2014, I am going to refrain from doing so as I do not want to jinx them. However, it sure would be nice to see the Tigers win their fifth championship exactly 30 years from their last one in 1984. Instead, I have been focusing on predicting individual achievements for players and coaches who are going to be part of the 2014 Tigers, and I have narrowed them down to the five I consider to be the most realistic.
5. Justin Verlander Has A Bounce-Back Season
Verlander didn’t have his best year in 2013, but he certainly did look like the Verlander of old in the 2013 playoffs. He may not quite get back up to his 2011 numbers in 2014, but I am going to predict that his 2014 numbers are more akin to his 2012 numbers than his 2013 numbers. Look for him to win 17-20 games and post an ERA a shade under 3.00
4. Jose Iglesias Wins A Gold Glove
Anyone who has seen Jose Iglesias play shortstop knows he is a magician at that position. At just 24-years-old, Iglesias has already drawn comparisons to Ozzie Smith and Omar Vizquel. Iglesias was not nominated for a Gold Glove in 2013 due to a lack of playing time, and the award went to J.J. Hardy of the Baltimore Orioles for the second consecutive year. However, Iglesias has a real shot at competing for his first Gold Glove award in 2014, and I am going to predict that he wins one.
3. Joe Nathan Saves 35 Or More Games
Joe Nathan, the man who killed the Tigers for so many years while wearing a Minnesota Twins jersey, is now a member of the Tigers. Nathan had a great season with the Texas Rangers in 2013, saving 43 games and posting a 1.39 ERA, but nevertheless some are still concerned about the fact that he is 39-years-old. I am going to predict that Nathan stays healthy, saves 35 or more games and becomes the first dependable closer the Tigers have had in many years -- knock on wood.
2. Miguel Cabrera Wins His Fourth Consecutive Batting Title
Miguel Cabrera has a solid chance to win his fourth consecutive batting title in 2014. In 2013, Cabrera played injured throughout most of the year and still hit an AL-best .348. His closest challengers were Joe Mauer at .324 followed by Mike Trout at .323. Cabrera should be back to 100 percent next spring, he will be moving back to first base where it will be easier for him to stay healthy and will have one of the best professional hitters in the game in Victor Martinez batting behind him.
I am not quite ready to predict that Cabrera will win his third consecutive MVP-award or that he will win another Triple Crown as he did in 2012, but I am ready to predict that he will win his fourth straight batting title.
1. Brad Ausmus Wins Manager Of The Year
Ausmus has the brains and the talent to take the Tigers a long way in 2014. Hopefully, the Tigers can win the AL Central for the fourth consecutive season and go on to win their first World Series since 1984. However, as long as the Tigers have what is considered a "good season," which is most likely going to be measured by whether or not the Tigers reach the playoffs and virtually everyone has predicted they will, I am going to predict that the first-year manager wins a Manager of the Year award.