By Chris Loud @cfloud on May 23, 2014
The Detroit Tigers are currently the best assembled team in baseball, and I have no problem saying that as a homer or a sports writer. However, there are key cogs, just like any team, and if those players slip due to injury or anything else, the team will suffer. Here are the five most important players on the Tigers right now.
Nobody is going to argue about the MVP being a key player on the Tigers, but Cabrera’s influence goes further than his historic numbers. He’s a game-changer in the clubhouse. He keeps people lose and confident. If he struggles, the morale on the team is lower, plain and simple. His unearthly hitting helps too.
Without Victor Martinez, Miguel Cabrera cannot put up the numbers he has in the last few years. V-Mart prevents Cabrera from getting walked, and that’s huge. Martinez is actually one of the best hitters in the league, and his veteran leadership is massively important to the team.
Having a good leadoff hitter like Ian Kinsler is imperative for any World Series-bound team. Kinsler was brought over from the Rangers in the trade for Prince Fielder, who is now suffering from a serious injury. Kinsler could wind up scoring the most runs for the Tigers this season, and his defense makes the once-shaky infield a whole lot better.
He’s arguably the best pitcher in the league right now, and his style is pitch-perfect for Motown. He has a blue-collar swagger that melds so well with the fans of Detroit. He’s been steady when Justin Verlander and the others have slipped from time to time, and I'm sure manager Brad Ausmus would throw him against anyone in any situation.
The Tigers’ pitching staff is stacked with talent, but Justin Verlander is the guy they all look up to. JV is the OG when it comes dominant pitching on the Tigers’ staff, and no matter how inconsistent he might be, it’s his leadership that makes him so important to the team, and his ability to turn it on when it counts makes him irreplaceable.
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