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Detroit Tigers 2013 Fantasy Projections: Behind the Scenes

Today I put three players from the reigning A.L. Champs under the BTS microscope and see what fantasy owners might expect in 2013

Ezra Shaw

Let's finish up the A.L. Central with a look at three from the Detroit Tigers. Up first, starting pitcher Max Scherzer. If you drafted Max at the beginning of 2012, did you kick yourself over the first month when his ERA was close to stratospheric? Not only was the start of his season difficult to stomach, but you rode the Scherzer-coaster through the end of July. During that time there were certainly many starts that were difficult to stomach, but if you hung in there the entire season, you ended up getting 16 wins, 231 Ks, a 3.74 ERA, and a 1.27 WHIP. What might an owner expect in 2013? Let's start with a look at some history. The strikeouts have always been there. He fanned 174 in 2009, 184 in 2010, 174 in 2011, and 231 last season. His DOM (K/9), likewise, has always been excellent with the 8.00 in 2011 being the lowest in the last four years. Another check mark on the Plus Side is the fact that his CTL (BB/9) has improved from 3.30 in 2009 to 2.9 in 2012. Inconsistency, in some areas, however, have hurt owners, at times, and should be noted. While Mr. Scherzer's xERA has always been below 4.00, the real McCoy has caused headaches, at times. In 2009 he posted a 4.12, in 2010 he lowered it to a very nice 3.50, in 2011 it was back up to 4.43, and finally, last year it was down to 3.74. WHIP? Same story; 1.34 in 2009, 1.25 in 2010, 1.35 in 2011, and 1.27 in 2012. What does all this mean for 2013? We (meaning I) could take the easy way out and go with the apparent "alternating year" theory, project something close to 2011, and call it a day, but I am not sure that would give Max his due. Could we have simply been witnessing the development of a young pitcher, and the ups and downs that go with that? I think that is more accurate. For 2013 I think his 2012 DOM of 11.1 will regress to around 9.0, but with the continued improvement in CTL, I think owners will be treated to another sub-4.00 ERA to go with 186 Ks and a 1.28 WHIP. Max should also get plenty of wins pitching for the Tigers, so if you wait on pitching, I think you have yourself a pitcher you can build a staff around.

Next up, outfielder Quintin Berry. Mr. Berry was one of the many players I failed to pick up off the waiver wire in 2012, because of my inept FAAB bidding skills. (Note: a Magic Eight Ball does not help with FAAB bid amounts). I sure could have used him. I needed steals and runs and in a little less than half a season, Mr. Berry provided a boat load of each. He put that 150 SPD of his to good use and scored 44 runs and stole 21 bases. And while his .258 BA was nothing to write home about, it probably did not hurt you much, either. Can he repeat? I think so. He has stolen bases throughout his minor league career, and I do not see any reason for him to stop now. Given his 0.31 batting eye, there is not much chance the BA will improve, but he has 30+ SB potential and will score plenty of runs in that Tiger lineup. As a fifth outfielder in a deep league, Quinten can play on my team, any time.

Let's finish with a look at Alex Avila. In four major league seasons, this young catcher has yet to give owners a full season of stats. It is hard to say how much injuries to Mr. Avila hurt his 2012 production, but they certainly contributed. In 2012 he hit 9 HRs, vs. 19 in 2011, even though his at-bats were only about 100 lower. Did the injuries contribute to the power reduction? Maybe. His PX went from 154 (100 is league average) in 2011 to 107 in 2012, and his FB% went from 40% in 2011 to 30% in in 2012. I am going to chalk some of his up to the injuries, and some to regression. Batting average? In spite of some fairly consistent underlying stats, his 2012 BA was .243, which was significantly lower than his .295 in 2011. Alex's 72% ct%, 14% bb%, and 0.59 batting eye are representative of his three previous major league seasons, and should give owners a BA closer to .258. To go with this, I think owners can expect 14 HRs.

Did I miss someone you have your eye on? Leave a comment and I will do my best.