I’m not going to start at with a World Series ring, as we’re a ways off still in Detroit for that. However there are 10 things that I think as fans we should be hope for in the New Year…
- A healthy Miguel Cabrera – Cabrera enters his 14th Major League season at age 33 and coming off the his first full season in not reaching 600+ plate appearances. Due to that, his 100+ RBI streak was broken and numbers looked down, although he did win his 4th batting title
- The Justin Verlander of old, or of at least the end of last season – Verlander too is entering his age 33 season and his pitching was coming in to question once again in 2015, after his first 9 starts left JV with a 5.05 ERA. Verlander than rolled off 11 consecutive solid starts where he posted a .194 batting average against and 2.12 ERA.
- A healthy and rested Victor Martinez – It’s obvious that VMart rushed back from off-season knee surgery and hung around too long before going on the DL, as he had the worst season of his career in 2015. At age 37, I’m not hoping for the 2014 season he put up, but something like 2013 would be nice.
- A much improved bullpen – So who turned off their TV’s last season when the Tigers got in to the bullpen last season? Al Avila has addressed what was one of the worst bullpens in the league last year by adding 3 solid arms in K-Rod, Mark Lowe, and Justin Wilson. This one looks like it might come true.
- Nick Castellanos shows why he was once a top prospect – Entering just his age 24 season, so many people are willing to write Nick off. Not me just yet. He did make strides on defense where he went from a -30 defensive runs saved in 2014 to -9 in 2015. You could also see a slight uptick at the plate in 2015, with his OPS increasing from .700 to .721 and still adding 54 extra base hits. If Nick can build off a positive September where he his .280 with 13 doubles, that would be key.
- The continued growth of James McCann – McCann did a great job in 2015, taking over for Alex Avila, however he did fade towards the end of the season, but that can be expected out of rookie. Still, if he can grow a bit offensively and defensively in 2016, Tiger fans continue to fall in love with this guy
- A Healthy Anibal Sanchez – It seems like I’m writing a lot about health and some of this explains the Tigers poor season in 2015. Sanchez is another one of the guys that we need healthy to be successful. His league leading 2.57 ERA in 2013 is a distant memory, however his 3.43 ERA in 2014 would be welcome over 30 starts (something he hasn’t done since 2012)
- Mr. I’s purse strings stay loose – Mr. I is a dedicated owner without a doubt and with a top 4 or 5 payroll, it’s tough to ask for more. However, if the market does continue to drop on one of key left field free agents (Cespedes, Gordon, Upton), that we snatch them up, as I just don’t think Cameron Maybin/Gose/Collins/Moya is the answer in winning the Central division in 2016
- J.D. Martinez doesn’t regress too much – J.D. has just been amazing, and it was great to see that he wasn’t a one year wonder with his very strong 2015 campaign. Still, when a player comes out of nowhere, you tend to be a bit skeptical. Lets just hope for an average similar to last year (.282) and 30 homer power.
- Jodan Zimmermann returns to his 2012-2014 form – Zimmermann was the guy I hoped Detroit would get and now that we did, I hope his elbow can hold up and he gets back to being that dominant that he was earlier this decade. In the 3-year span of 2012-2014, Jordan posted a 45-22 record, with a 2.96 ERA and 1.109 WHIP in 608.2 innings of work. Those numbers can take us places if we see them again.
There you have it, my 10 Detroit Tiger wishes for the New Year.
Happy New Year’s all!!