Friday, March 2, 2012

The 2012 Tigers...So Many Questions

Well, now that the Tigers have finished with their annual massacre of overmatched Florida college kids, the real Spring Training games are about to begin. And with the beginning of those games we now finally begin to get answers to the many questions that a new season brings.

Now this Tiger team, despite being universal favorites to win the AL Central and maybe more, are not without their share of question marks. In fact, I can’t remember a recent season with a team having so many of them going into it.

Some are obvious, some are not. But below I have listed the many points of interest that we will be getting the answers to over the next several days, weeks, and months.

-Can Justin Verlander repeat the outstanding season he performed last season again this year?

-Will his golf game suffer due to it?

-Will Prince Fielder have difficulties adjusting to American League pitching?

-How bumpy will the road be for Miguel Cabrera playing defense at third base?

-Was the amazing Doug Fister that we saw after the trade with the Mariners be the guy we’ll be getting a full season of this year?

-How long can Jose Valverde continue to be perfect in save situations?

-Will this year be the one where Rick Porcello finally takes the next step in becoming an upper tier pitcher?

-Will Max Scherzer finally learn to be more consistent with his performances?

-Can Austin Jackson cut down on his strikeouts enough to be a more prototypical leadoff man?

-After letting him pitch and setting him on fire in 2011, how will the team continue to make Don Kelly interesting?

-Will Al Alburquerque be able to return to the form that made him so awesome before getting hurt last year or is he the new Joel Zumaya?

-Who will be the 5th starter and will he be any good?

-Will Brandon Inge hit enough to get decent playing time at second base?

-Will Inge be able to easily transition into defense at second?

-Will Inge be DFA’d before the regular season begins?

-Who the hell is David Pauley? (Jim Leyland submitted this question.)

-Can Brennan Boesch keep it together in the second half this year?

-Can Ryan Raburn get it together in the first half this year?


The past two seasons, Boesch has been great in the first half, while crappy or hurt the second. Ryno always starts slower than molasses running uphill before finishing with a bang. Take a look at these numbers.

2010 Boesch 1st Half: .342 Avg (83/243), 12 HR, 49 RBI
2011 Boesch 1st Half: .305 Avg (96/313), 12 HR, 44 RBI
2010 Raburn 2nd Half: .315 Avg (79/251), 13 HR, 46 RBI
2011 Raburn 2nd Half: .341 Avg (44/129), 6 HR, 18 RBI

If we could somehow combine these two into some hybrid that I’ll call Brenyan Raboesch, this is the player we would have had over entire seasons the past two years…

2010 Raboesch: .328 Avg, 25 HR, 95 RBI
2011 Raboesch: .317, 18 HR, 62 RBI

Wouldn’t that be nice? SIGN RABOESCH, MR. DOMBROWSKI!


-Will Daniel Schlereth be able to find the strike zone this year, or will he flame out like Ryan Perry?

-Can Alex Avila keep up the pace he established in his first full year as the starting catcher?

-Will his backup, Gerald Laird, hit above .200?

-Like Avila, Jhonny Peralta was much better than expected in 2011. Can he keep it up another year?

-Clete Thomas or Andy Dirks? Which untalented white guy will be the 4th/5th outfielder?

-Will Delmon Young ever come to terms with the fact that he’s an abortion on defense and can best help the team by DHing most of the time?

-Will Phil Coke and Collin Balester, two noted goofballs, be able to coexist in the same bullpen?

-How long before CollinBalestersBrain makes his debut on Twitter?

-Will Joaquin Benoit once again anger the baseball gods and end the season covered in festering boils?

-At what point will Jim Leyland have seen enough and ban rice and beans from the clubhouse?

-Finally, with a tear in my eye, will Magglio Ordonez catch on anywhere or announce his retirement?

So many questions. But FINALLY, it’s time to get some answers. Play ball, millionaire strangers that I obsess over.


Kevin C. said...

JV is a monster who is in his prime, It is ok for him to ham it up on the golf course and such. He will be focused this season, I see him having just as good of a year. Seeing you get nervous about his perceived lack of focus makes you seem a little Drew Sharp-ish. You know JV is a feisty competitor, he is probably the last guy we should be concerned about.

Jay Hathaway said...

 Brenyan Raboesch is actually a sweet name.  Well done.

mark said...

Can't we pass on Dirks/Clete and bring Maggs back for the title run. I'm sure he'd be cheap, and besides, Super Don can fill the 4th/5th outfielder role, can't he?

rea said...

He'd be a switch-hitter, too.