Today the American League Gold Glove Awards will be announced, here are my picks for the AL and National League.
C: Gerald Laird
1B: Mark Teixeira
2B: Placido Polanco
3B: Melvin Mora
SS: Erick Aybar
OF: Carl Crawford
OF: Torii Hunter
OF: Adam Jones
P: Kevin Millwood
C: Yadier Molina
1B: Adrian Gonzalez
2B: Freddy Sanchez
3B: Ryan Zimmerman
SS: Jimmy Rollins
OF: Matt Kemp
OF: Shane Victorino
OF: Jeff Francoeur
P: Adam Wainwright
Season Preview: Detroit Tigers
Projected MLB Rank: 27th — AL Rank: 12th — AL Central Rank: 5th — Record: (68-94)
The city of Detroit just doesn’t have the luck these days. The American auto industry,
centered in Detroit, is falling apart. The Lions, well, they went defeated and didn’t win a game. The Pistons are free falling in the eastern conference. And for the 2009 Tigers, don’t expect much.
Before the 2008 season, the Tigers had won 88 games the previous season and had just made a huge trade with the Marlins, acquiring Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera. For a team with much recent success and some young talented arms, they were picked in 2008 by many to even get to the World Series. The Tigers ended up falling apart in ’08 and had the third worst record in the AL.
This season, I don’t expect much to change. They weren’t all too busy this offseason and who they did sign, aren’t going to take them to the playoffs, and most likely not even over .500.
Gary Sheffield is 40 and hit last season with 19 HR and 57 RBI. I think the fact that his name is out and paired with steroids affects his play. Adam Everett is a definite step down from Edgar Renteria, who isn’t the player he used to be, which definately says something about Everett. Brandon Inge will be playing everyday and taking his .205 average out to third base with him.
The bright spots in the lineup come from now first baseman Miguel Cabrera. This kid is still 25 years old. Last season he hit .292 with 37 dingers and 127 RBIs. Placido Polanco will hit .300 and is one of the best fielding second baseman in the league. Carlos Guillen and Magglio Ordonez will get their production numbers as well but are 33 and 34, respectively. Curtis Granderson gives the Tigers pop at the top of the order.
Pertaining to the pitching, Detroit had a team 4.91 ERA last year and let up 5.29 runs per game (3rd to last in the AL). After so much promise from the young arms the two previous seasons, they fell apart last season. Here’s some comparisons:
2007: 18-6 / 3.66 ERA / 183 SO
2008: 11-17 / 4.84 ERA / 163 SO
2007: 11-9 / 5.01 ERA / 145 SO
2008: 3-4 / 4.29 ERA / 44 SO (12 games)
2007: 9-13 / 4.56 ERA / 119 SO
2008: 7-11 / 4.44 ERA / 108 SO
2007: 10-15 / 5.17 ERA / 136 SO (w/ FLA)
2008: 0-2 / 9.38 ERA / 18 SO (8 games)
Only Bonderman and Verlander are expected to be in the rotation this season. They brought in Edwin Jackson, and Zach Miner and Armando Galarraga should develop. But I just can’t see these pitchers getting this team anywhere.
The bullpen is questionable. Brandon Lyon saved 26 games for the Diamondbacks last season yet had a 4.70 ERA. Fernando Rodney, Clay Rapada, and Bobby Seay each had ERA’s over 4.00 and Joel Zumaya was injured last season. Freddy Dolsi was the brightest spot in the bullpen last season that returns this year and still had an ERA of 3.97.
The fact that they have a good mix of veteran and young talent could help them this season but then I look at the pitching, especially the bullpen, and realize that they cannot compete given these young arms that have seemed to tired early.