As teams begin to arrive at Spring Training, the excitement escorting the sport’s return is in full momentum.
After last season, people have a lot to look forward to, like will the National League Central have the top three teams in baseball again?
If so, which two have to play a one-and-down wildcard game?
As hot as the Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals were, other teams were struggling all season to hit the .500 mark, like the Detroit Tigers.
However, it’s a new season, and I’m hopeful that the Tigers will have a breakout one.
At the heart of this team’s offensive attack is the most recent Triple Crown winner, Miguel Cabrera.
He really hasn’t slowed up since 2012.
While he didn’t lead the league in home runs or runs-batted-in (RBI) last season, he did lead the entire Major League Baseball in batting average with .338.
Cabrera was also among the best in the league for on-base percentage.
He is coming into the season as one of the most feared hitters in all of baseball.
Following up that first devastating punch in the line-up is the team’s second baseman, Ian Kinsler, who led the team with 184 hits last season.
These two headline a team that last season ranked 10th in overall offense.
That bodes well for this coming season.
They are posed to improve on that in 2016.
Defensively, this team’s pitching staff could be just as dangerous as their offense.
The best-known pitcher on the team was the 2011 Triple Crown winner for pitchers, Justin Verlander.
Last season wasn’t a great season for Verlander, after only starting in 20 games and walking away with a 5-8 record.
I look for him to rebound from that and be even stronger this season.
The man has been at this game 11 years now, and he is a professional.
The Tigers also have Jordan Zimmerman on their side.
He is coming off a season where he boasted a 3.66 earned-run-average (ERA), collected 13 wins and struck out 164 batters.
Coming out of the bullpen is the active leader in saves, Francisco Rodriguez.
Last season he played in 60 games and recorded a save 38 times, while only blowing two of them.
In those games, K-Rod struck out 62 hitters and gathered an ERA of 2.21. Backing up the pitcher is a group that committed only 86 errors.
This is a veteran team.
A lot of them have playoff experience, and deep playoff experience at that.
I feel like this team is so close to getting back to their winning ways.
Smart movements this offseason will be the key to see if they are ready to improve from a team that was well below .500, to a team that could be a serious threat in the American League.
They might not make the postseason this year, but I feel that they can make great strides to becoming that team they once were.