Never minding the ludicrous idea that the Tigers could score 1,000 runs this season, they did look to come into the year with an overpowering offense and despite a slow start to April that left most people forgetful of them, the Tigers did exactly that. Though Miguel Cabrera perhaps had a disappointing season given his hype and move over to first base defensively, the Tigers offense was not what sunk them this season.
No, it was on the run prevention side that Detroit flopped. Notably, their defense was horrible. Anyone who was paying attention in 2007 would have predicted that coming in however. What was unexpected was the utter collapse of the Tigers pitching staff. Last season the bullpen was nothing special, but neither were they especially terrible. This year? Not so much as they had Bobby Seay and that’s about it as far as relievers that actually contributed positively to the pen.
However, not even that is the most troubling aspect of 2008 for Detroit. That distinction goes to the rotation, once hyped full of young talent. In 2008, it nearly all fell apart aside from Justin Verlander. Jeremy Bonderman, Dontrelle Willis and Kenny Rogers were all colossal failures compared to preseason expectations and what’s worse is that Detroit purged its system of Andrew Miller in acquiring Willis and Cabrera from Florida.
Detroit would like hope to be on the way in the form of Rick Porcello, but the teenage stud of the 2007 draft who the Tigers nabbed after he fell due to signability reasons did not have an inaugural professional season to write home about. Walking or hitting over 8% of hitters in advanced A ball isn’t going to get you noticed unless you’re fanning over 25% of them at the same time. Porcello certainly wasn’t doing that, registering a 13.7% figure in that department.
Yes, Porcello is young. Very young in fact; just 19 in a league averaging 23 years of age, but his slow start just going to reinforce that the Tigers are going to need to look elsewhere for awhile to find help in the rotation.
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