Mar 10, 2015; Clearwater, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias (1) runs after hitting the ball into Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez (not pictured), allowing Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler (not pictured) to score from third base during the third inning of a spring training baseball game at Bright House Field. Gonzalez would have to leave the game. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Spring Training is in full swing (pun intended), and the regular season is right around the corner. That means that our fantasy drafts are as well.
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For each team, I will rundown the projected lineup, players to watch, and a complete list of 2014 stats to get you prepared for your upcoming fantasy drafts. We are finished with everything but the AL Central. Let’s let those five teams have their day in print as well!
In case you missed any:
Boston Red Sox
New York Yankees
Toronto Blue Jays
Tampa Bay Rays
New York Mets
St. Louis Cardinals
Los Angeles Dodgers
San Diego Padres
San Francisco Giants
Los Angeles Angels
Chicago White Sox
2015 Detroit Tigers Projected Starting Lineup:
C: Alex Avila (.218, 11HR, 47RBI, 0SB)
1B: Miguel Cabrera (.313, 25HR, 109RBI, 1SB)
2B: Ian Kinsler (.275, 17HR, 92RBI, 15SB)
SS: Jose Iglesias (.303, 3HR, 29RBI, 5SB in 2013 with Boston/Detroit)
3B: Nick Castellanos (.259, 11HR, 66RBI, 2SB)
LF: Yoenis Cespedes (.260, 22HR, 100RBI, 7SB with Oakland/Detroit)
CF: Anthony Gose (.226, 2HR, 13RBI, 15SB in 239 at bats with Toronto)
RF: J.D. Martinez (.315, 23HR, 76RBI, 6SB)
DH: Victor Martinez (.335, 32HR, 103RBI, 3SB)
Avila was one of the better offensive catchers in baseball for about three years. Now he has been one of the more overrated for three years. Whatever offensive clout he once had has pretty much disappeared. He still has decent power for a catcher, but that low average would turn me away in all but the deepest of leagues. If he struggles again, there is a good chance that James McCann gets a shot. He won’t get much for counting stats, but he is a solid hitter. However, it still doesn’t make him anywhere near relevant in fantasy leagues.
How high have you set the bar when .313-25-108 is considered a disappointing season? I guess that is kind of disappointing if he was the first or second overall pick, but he certainly didn’t hurt your team any. He has fallen to the middle of the first round in some instances, but I tend to think that Miggy will get up to 30 home runs at least. The only thing that makes him a little less valuable is that he is not eligible at 3B anymore, but you’re splitting hairs complaining about that. Miggy is still an elite option.
Those complaining about the Kinsler for Prince Fielder trade shouldn’t be any longer. Kinsler had a very nice season in Detroit. He even scored 100 runs! There is not much that he didn’t do last year, so he is a great pick in the fifth round where the ADP has him.
Iglesias had a superb 2013 in Boston, and struggled in Detroit. He missed all of last season due to injury, and has struggled finding his swing in the spring. He has the chance to get back to his 2013 numbers, which would make him a lower tier option in standard leagues. Given his struggles during the spring so far, I think he is better left for deep leagues until he figures things out.
Castellanos has been mostly overvalued in drafts. His highest home run total in the minors was 18, so I don’t see why some people think he is going to hit 25. He might hit 15 with a good average. That makes him worth a later round pick in standard drafts.
Cespedes struggled some in Boston, but he is still a really good source of power that will kick in some steals. He has struggled at times to maintain a solid average, but that could change in Detroit. As big as Comerica Park can play, it doesn’t compare to the coliseum. Cespedes is a good pick in the sixth or seventh round.
Gose has the ability to steal a lot of bases. He has two seasons of more than 70 steals in the minors. He has yet to maintain a good average in the majors, but he has outstanding speed. If he falters, Rajai Davis (.282, 8HR, 51RBI, 36SB) will take the job back. Both of them are worth owning in deep leagues because of they speed they can provide. Davis is obviously a better option from a fantasy standpoint because he is proven. Whoever gets most of the time is worth stashing away on your standard league bench if you need steals.
J.D. Martinez had a big year last year. He had shown some promise in Houston, but put it all together last year. His 23 homers were the most at any professional level, so there is reason to think that he might not be able to hit that many again. However, his minor league stats suggest that the average is not a fluke, and he can drive in some runs in this lineup. It is nice to have him on your team, but there might be better options available in round 12 where he is going.
Victor Martinez quietly had one of his best seasons. His move from catcher to DH has revitalized his career, and turned him back into an elite fantasy option. Will he hit 32 homers again at age 36? Probably not, but he should be in the 20’s, and he has five straight years with a batting average above .300. He is worth taking in the sixth of seventh round. The fact that he takes up your UTIL slot limits his value a little.
Steven Moya will likely make his major league debut at some point this year. The outfield is crowded, but if he hits like he is capable of in the minors, the Tigers will have to find some place for him.
Next: How Does The Rotation Look?
Mar 11, 2015; Melbourne, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher David Price (14) throws against the Washington Nationals at Space Coast Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports
David Price (15-12, 3.26 ERA, 271K with Rays/Tigers)
Justin Verlander (15-12, 4.54 ERA, 159K)
Anibal Sanchez (8-5, 3.43 ERA, 102K in 21 starts)
Alfredo Simon (15-10, 3.44 ERA, 127K)
Shane Greene (5-4, 3.78 ERA, 81K in 14 starts)
Joe Nathan (5-4, 4.81 ERA, 54K, 35/42 saves)
Price led the majors in strikeouts last year, and eats so many innings that he is the first player in at least 15 years to have a legitimate shot at 300 strikeouts. His stuff is that good. He does not have a mircoscopic ERA, but he is still a fringe fantasy ace because of the strikeout potential. His ERA was nearly half a run higher in Detroit which suggests that he may not be quite as dominant as last year. But he is still well worth a pick late in the second round or early in the third.
Verlander had a miserable season last year. His career has fallen off a cliff at age 32. Some regression should have been expected, but not this much. Can he bounce back? If you want to take a chance on him in the last round of your standard league draft, be my guest, but I have a feeling that you may still be disappointed. I would only start him during favorable matchups in deep leagues right now. His strikeout potential is often not enough to offset the damage that could be done to your ERA and WHIP. He will begin the season on the DL, but he is only expected to miss two starts.
Tom Gorzelanny could be in line for a couple of spot starts while Verlander is on the DL, but I would avoid him in all leagues.
Sanchez struck out 100 less batters in only 54 less innings last year than in 2013, but it’s hard to ignore the nagging injuries that Sanchez battled last year. If he is healthy, there is a good chance that he flirts with 200 strikeouts again and posts an ERA in the low 3’s. That makes him a solid pick in the middle rounds.
Simon pitched well as a starter last year, which was the first time he has worked as a starter since 2011. He will be 35 in May, so some regression may be in store. He doesn’t strike out enough batters to make him a good play in standard leagues, but he is worth a pick to round out your rotation in deeper leagues.
Greene pitched well last year, but I wouldn’t bet on him having continued success. His career ERA in the minors is 4.39. and he has never been a high strikeout guy. You can take a chance on him repeating his success this year in deep leagues, but I would stay away everywhere else.
The Tigers still have not decided if they are going to keep prospects Buck Farmer and Kyle Lobstein in the bullpen or not. If they stick as starters, there is ample opportunity for them to crack the rotation at some point this year. Farmer is one of the better prospects in their system, and could be worth a look in deep leagues when he gets called up.
Joe Nathan was statistically the worst closer in baseball last year (yes, even worse than Grant Balfour), and it wasn’t even close. The 40 year old has done nothing this spring to quash the fears of the Tigers and the fans. In fact, his setup man, Joakim Soria, is being drafted higher that him. You don’t need me to tell you what that means. Stay away in any league unless you are really, really desperate. It also means that Soria is worth hanging on to if you have an open bench slot. There is a good chance of him taking over as the closer while it is still snowing in Detroit.
If Soria struggles or they just want to keep him in the setup role for good, there is an outside shot that Jose Valdez could get the job. Valdez has been groomed as a closer since the Tigers drafted him in 2009. He throws hard, and has 90 career minor league saves. He could be saving games in the big leagues soon.
Stay tuned to Fantasy CPR as we continue our team by team rundown!
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