Results tagged ‘ Victor Martinez ’
As I begin writing this, we’re only 21 hours away from the first pitch of the 2013 MLB season. Last year left a sour taste in my mouth (as it did for everyone who isn’t a San Francisco Giants fan), so I’m looking for a chance to change that.
It doesn’t matter which team you find yourself rooting for, everyone feels like this year could be the year (unless you’re an Astros or Marlins fan, you might want to wait a few more years) that they’re team finally wins it all. I normally always try to do a prediction blog before the season begins, and that’s what I’m going to do. If normal predictions bore you, check out my other BLOG where I’ve made a few more wild predictions.
Without further ado:
AL West: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim- Although I do love the diehard Athletics (and I really do hope they support the A’s like they did during October last year), I just don’t see them being able to pull of a repeat this year. This isn’t to say I don’t think they’ll be in contention, but I think they’re looking at a Wild Card. The only thing I can realistically see preventing the Angels from winning their division is if the starting rotation falls apart.
AL Central: Detroit Tigers- The Tigers went to the World Series last year and there’s really no reason why they can’t find themselves back in the hunt again this year. On paper, the Tigers have only gotten better (Torii Hunter in right field instead of Brennan Boesch, Victor Martinez instead of Delmon Young at DH and a full season of Omar Infante at 2B). A lot of critics say that the Tigers will struggle without a proven closer, but I don’t think that will be a big enough issue to keep them from winning their division.
AL East: Tampa Bay Rays- If there’s a division that puzzles me, it’s without a doubt the AL East. Realistically, every team in the division has a legitimate argument that they could win the division. You can’t say that with really any other division, and that’s what makes predicting this so difficult. My thoughts are that the Yankees are falling apart (age and injuries), Boston has to prove they can turn it around with a new coach and Baltimore will likely take a step back compared to last year. You’re probably thinking, ‘What about the Blue Jays?’ No, I didn’t forget about them. The bulk of the players they traded for were from Miami, and the Marlins were pretty terrible last year. I’m not so sure that they’ll be able to win in Toronto, either.
Wild Cards: Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers- The Blue Jays are obviously talented and if they can stay healthy (especially Jose Bautista, Josh Johnson and Brandon Morrow), there’s no reason why they won’t find themselves playing in October. They have the offensive weapons, but their pitching needs to improve.
I think Oakland will start off strong, but slowly fade as the Rangers surge in the second half. The Rangers have a ton of talent, and I’m worried about whether or not the Athletics can do it again. The Athletics and Rangers both will benefit from playing the Astros a lot more, that’s why I can’t see two Wild Cards coming from the AL East.
NL West: Los Angeles Dodgers- Hard to bet against Magic Johnson and the newly revamped Dodgers. They’ve spent enough money to win their division (in theory), and I don’t think the San Francisco Giants or Arizona Diamondbacks will be able to slow them down enough to pass them in the standings.
NL Central: Cincinnati Reds- I think the Reds are under appreciated and it’s only a matter of time before everyone figures it out. They have a lot of young core talent which compliments their solid rotation. Oh yeah, their closer can also throw 105 MPH.
NL East: Washington Nationals- Although the Atlanta Braves added the Upton brothers to their outfield, I still think they’re going to go through too many stretches of not scoring runs. Don’t believe me? Look at the Detroit Tigers last year, when they had a similar type of team. When you’re relying on power, you often go through stretches where you’re not scoring runs.
Wild Cards: San Francisco Giants and Atlanta Braves- Hard to count out the defending World Series champions, especially when you consider the fact they haven’t lost any real significant pieces from their 2012 team. The Braves have enough pitching and offense that they should be able to beat up on the Mets and Phillies, squeaking out a Wild Card in the final week of the season.
AL MVP: Prince Fielder
NL MVP: Joey Votto
AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander
NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw
AL Comeback Player of the Year: Victor Martinez
NL Comeback Player of the Year: Roy Halladay
AL Rookie of the Year: Nick Castellanos
NL Rookie of the Year: Jedd Gyorko
World Series: Detroit Tigers over the Washington Nationals in 6 games
Entering today’s game, the Tigers found themselves a half-game back of first place in the AL Central. Leaving today, they now find themselves in first place.
It’s been a rocky road for the Tigers, full of ups and downs, twists and turns. Before the season began, people were panicked once they heard Victor Martinez was likely to be out for the season. Then they sign Prince Fielder to a 200-million dollar deal, and suddenly we expected them to win the division by at least 15 games.
In the perfect world, the Tigers would have led the division from wire-to-wire, but that’s not exactly realistic. In fact, it wasn’t until this day last year, when the Tigers took over the division lead and never looked back. I’ve said all along that the Tigers would win this division, and I still stand by that.
Rick Porcello easily pitched the best game of his career today (maybe second best if you count game 163 from a few years ago) as he held the White Sox to just one run in eight innings. It was a much needed boost for Porcello, who has been working hard to turn himself into a more consistent pitcher. Even more impressive, was the fact that the Tigers managed to score five runs of Chris Sale, who has arguably having as good of a year (if not better) than Detroit’s own Justin Verlander.
This team is starting to show its true colors, and fans should be getting excited. With the Tigers leading their division for the first time since the opening month of the season, it’ll be interesting to see how things will go from here on out. If Detroit can keep playing like they have in the last two weeks (which they certainly have the talent and ability to do), there’s no one in baseball who they can’t beat.
During the off-season, the Tigers made national headlines once they signed Prince Fielder. However, there was another signing that took place that many fans either didn’t notice or care about, and that was the signing of Gerald Laird.
I can admit that I was very pleased when I read that the Tigers and Laird had agreed to a one-deal for a million dollars. A lot of people seem to take it for granted that the Tigers pretty much played with only one catcher for most of the 2011 season, and that eventually resulted into having to play an injured Alex Avila for every playoff game.
If the Tigers want to make a run at the World Series this year, it’s essential that they find a way to keep Avila healthy and rested, and I can’t think of a better or more realistic fit than Laird. Not only is an experienced catcher, he also has caught for several of the current Detroit Tigers from when he played for Detroit from 2009-2010. Not only that, but he was a teammate of newly acquired Octavio Dotel last year when the St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series.
Another nice thing about Laird is that he provides some offensive productivity, which is better than any of last year’s backup catchers could offer (unless you want to include Victor Martinez). This is important, because an organization needs to always be prepared for a worst-case scenario. If Alex Avila were to have a season-ending injury, the Tigers would otherwise have no realistic options to turn to. With Gerald Laird, they have themselves a nice insurance policy.
On top of it all, Laird has always been considered a great teammate, as well as a great guy to have in the clubhouse. For all of those reasons and more, the Tigers signing of Gerald Laird may not have been the biggest, but it’s definitely up there.
When looking at the list of available free agents still available, there is no one more shocking to me than Vladimir Guerrero. Guerrero, who just turned 37 years of old still has plenty of value in terms of cost to production value.
Guerrero, who is a career .318 hitter, remains as one of the most consistent hitters in the last 15 years in Major League Baseball. Since breaking into the league in 1997 (he made his debut in 1996 but only played in nine games for the Montreal Expos), he has never hit less than .290 in a season. Sure, his power might not be what it once was, but in 2010 he did still manage to hit 29 home runs and drive in 115 runs.
After Victor Martinez was announced to be out for the season due to his torn ACL, I made what I thought was a strong argument that Detroit should sign Guerrero to be their every day DH. Here we are now in the second week of March, and the Tigers have even said that they’re willing to have an everyday DH. To me, it would make a lot of sense to sign Guerrero to a one year deal, with a team option for 2013 (which odds are highly unlikely they’d pick up, but gives them an option if Martinez has any sort of setbacks in his recovery).
Why not offer Guerrero five million dollars? He’s only 410 hits from 3,000 for his career, and 51 home runs from 500. If he can accomplish either of those milestones while wearing a Tigers uniform, his contract would be more than paid off in terms of promotional value.
If you ask most fantasy baseball experts who they have ranked as the number one player is for the 2012 season, they will almost unanimously agree that it’s Miguel Cabrera. For Detroit fans, having him on our team isn’t a fantasy, it’s a reality.
Despite being young, Cabrera is slowly putting himself in contention to have a Hall of Fame career, and having Prince Fielder protecting him in the lineup for a few years certainly won’t hurt his cause. Last year was the first time that Cabrera got any sort of protection from a quality hitter, and he benefited greatly from having Victor Martinez hitting behind him. With Fielder batting behind him this year, there’s nowhere to for pitchers to hide. Is it likely that Cabrera will be able to repeat his offensive numbers from last year? It seems unlikely, but it’s certainly not impossible.
Assuming Cabrera and Fielder can produce similarly to how they’ve done in their careers so far, the Tigers will find themselves with arguably one of the best lineups in baseball. Not only that, but imagine how much better it’ll get once a healthy Victor Martinez returns in 2013.
I’ve waited my whole life for the Tigers to be this good. Just please don’t pinch me…you know, just in case I’m just dreaming.
Unless you’ve been living in a hole, you probably know that the Tigers signed Prince Fielder to a lucrative nine year deal, worth more money than most of us could ever dream of. They signed Fielder to fill the vacancy created when it was announced Victor Martinez would be out for the entire 2012 season. It allows the Tigers to remain the offensive powerhouse they were in 2012, but what does it mean beyond that?
There’s a lot of complications to this contract, as I would imagine most 200+ million dollar deals do. The first issue is about where the Tigers should and will play Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera and Fielder have both been quite adamant that they do not want to be an every day designated hitter. Personally, if you offer me 20 million dollars a year, I’ll do whatever you want. However, I understand why they would rather not be an everyday DH. The solution? Miguel Cabrera will be the 2012 Detroit Tigers third baseman.
A lot of scouts and critics, from both major and local media have said there’s no chance Cabrera can be an adequate defender at third base, but it’s a trade off for the offensive numbers he’ll likely put up. After much thought and deliberation, I’m going to have to respectfully disagree.
Do I think Cabrera will play 150 games at third base, and have a fielding percentage of over .975? No, not necessarily, but I don’t think he has to, either. With some basic defensive adjustments, I think he’ll be able to smoothly make the transition back to third (remember, he was a third baseman when he came to Detroit). Cabrera has excellent defensive instincts, and had an excellent range for someone of his size. Take into consideration that he’s already dropped a bit of weight, and I think he’ll be okay. Realistically, I think he’ll play no more than 50 percent of the games at third in 2012, with the rest being about an even split between DH and first base.
The interesting question that a lot of people haven’t really been thinking about is what this means in 2013, when Victor Martinez comes back. Due to his recent knee injury, it’s going to be hard to imagine him being able to play anything besides first base defensively, and that’s not exactly helpful. Does this mean the Tigers will look into the possibility of trading Miguel Cabrera for what would no doubt be the blockbuster of the decade? No, I don’t think so. If you give Cabrera the opportunity to train in all of the offseason, I think you give him a much more fair chance of getting himself ready to be an every day third baseman, and you let Martinez continue to DH. When you have as much talent as the Tigers currently have, it’s a good problem to have.
And for those of you who don’t understand the title of the blog, it’s a reference to Tigers television color commentator, Rod Allen, and what he says every time Cabrera makes a highlight worthy play.
When it comes to figuring out why exactly the Tigers have been leading the way in the AL Central, it really seems to come down to a few key components. It’s not far fetched to say the Tigers could have an MVP and Cy Young winner at the end of this year.
Exhibit A: Justin Verlander-Today Verlander recorded his 16th victory, making him 16-5 with a 2.30 ERA, 186 K’s and a no hitter. If you’re looking for any other indications the Verlander should be the current odds on favorite to win the Cy Young, they’re not hard to find. He’s pitched well in big games, has been consistent and not to mention dominant. Even on days where it’s apparent that Verlander doesn’t have his “A-game”, he still finds ways to give the Tigers a chance to win. If he wins nine more starts, and goes 25-5, not only does he put himself in great shape to win the Cy Young, but he’ll certainly gather quite a few votes for MVP.
Exhibit B: Jose Valverde-Yes, I admit this is a long shot of sorts, but think about it. Valverde has still not blown a save this year, converting all 32 of his save opportunities. If he manages to not blow a save for the rest of the year, and ends up with over 50 saves on the year, we’re talking about numbers that would marvel in comparison to that of Eric Gagne back in 2003 when he won the Cy Young award. Will it happen? Probably not, but as a Tigers fan, I’d love to see it.
Not to mention Victor Martinez, Miguel Cabrera and Jhonny Peralta all having great (but probably not MVP type) seasons, and it’s not hard to see why with less than 50 games to go, the Tigers find themselves in first.
Today with no doubt will be a big game for the Detroit Tigers and Brad Penny. After having two disappointing starts, there are a lot of questions as to whether or not he’s still a pitcher worth keeping around. I’m curious to see how he handles a rather difficult Texas lineup, but hopefully he can at least put together a quality start.
And as promised, here’s the current 2011 Tigers PPA% updated through 4/11/2011
(Sorted by number of PA)
Miguel Cabrera:. 512
Austin Jackson: .262
Victor Martinez: .262
Will Rhymes: .316
Jhonny Peralta: .429
Brandon Inge: .273
Brennan Boesch: .424
Alex Avila: .355
Magglio Ordonez: .346
Ryan Raburn: .375
Don Kelly: .250
Ramon Santiago: .400
Casper Wells: .333