The Tigers have reported to camp, and games begin as early as next week. We all know, once again, that the Tigers won’t be world beaters, but what is there to look for throughout the year to show that the Tigers are making progress and should be competitive in the next couple of years.
1) Jeremy Bonderman’s development is probably the first key. He’s got ace material, but so did Jeff Weaver. But, to keep drawing the comparison, if Bonderman has a season similar to Weaver’s second, I’d be happy. He threw 200 innings, had a 1.285 WHIP, and 4.32 ERA, all while going 11-15. If Bonderman can top those numbers at 21, I’d be happy.
2) I honestly think Bobby Higginson is going to bounce back this year. In the final year of his mega-deal, Bobby has been scorned through the Detroit area because he’s had a couple of poor seasons. I feel, with some hitters around him, he’ll bounce back and do well this year. This will give us some flexibility at the trading deadline, and even if we can’t deal him, we might be able to get him substantially cheaper then for what we’ve been paying him.
3) Our two corner infielders, Eric Munson and Carlos Pena, have to have good seasons. If they can both show they can get into the 25-30 homerun range like they’ve been touted, it will be a big boost to the lineup. I think for both guys this year, 20 homeruns should be minimum, not a goal.
4) A .500 April would be huge for this team. Not only would it give the team a nice boost in their confidence, but it would get the fans interested, which equates to ticket sales and a more fun environment at the ballpark.
But, baseball is back. Fan’s around the country have just had their moods improved as baseball is slowly getting back into the swing of things.
This year’s July baseball trip is going to be to the Skydome. Of course this time, there will be an additional person who will be going to his/her first baseball game. I just have to make sure I drive home to the kid that being a Jays fan is unacceptable.
And with games starting, I’m hoping to get back into a more regular writing schedule. If you haven’t checked it out, Bilfer over at the Detroit Tigers Weblog has been taking a look at the team. Be sure to check it out.