The Tigers made their final cuts and at least for opening day, the team is set. The Tigers kick things off Thursday afternoon against the Yankees and while I made some predictions in my Hardball Times preview, here I’m going to make some more specific predictions.
1) This isn’t going out on a limb, but the Tigers will compete in the AL Central. I still think on paper, they’re the third best team in the division. I also think that’s it’s close enough though that if a couple of things go right, the Tigers can take the division. Either way, it should be a fun three team race. The Tigers have two series against the White Sox and one against the Twins in September so it could be a nailbiter.
2) Brandon Inge is going to have a career year. This is just one of those hunches. Inge is further removed from his injuries and he had a quietly decent season last year. I like his chances of hitting 30 home runs and topping .800 in OPS for the first time in his career.
3) Ryan Perry will have a breakout season. With Joel Zumaya once again on the shelf, I think this is the year Ryan Perry puts it together and shows Tigers fans why he was taken in the first round. He didn’t have a great spring, but hopefully that just means he’ll work harder to put it all together.
4) Austin Jackson will struggle but he’ll also make some strides to becoming a lead off hitter. I wouldn’t be surprised if Jackson hits closer to .250 this year but I’m hoping he makes up for it with walks. A lot of people will write his season off as a sophomore slump but I think it’s more just one year in his evolution as a lead off hitter.
5) Whoever wins 85 games first will win the division. I think the division winner will end up in the high 80s but this is going to be another typical season in the Central.
6) Jacob Turner will pitch in a Tigers uniform at some point this season, most likely as a September call up.
7) The Tigers will win 86 games and they’ll finish second place in the division.
So there you go. Only time will tell….