A couple of days ago the Sports Illustrated power rankings for the start of the 2013 season came out and the Detroit Tigers were listed at number 8 out of 30.
Coming in ahead of the defending American League Champions, were 7 other teams but 4 of them were in the National League.
Topping the entire list was the Washington Nationals, winners of the National League East last season. The squad won 98 games last year and only got better in the off-season by adding centerfielder Denard Span and reliever Rafael Soriano. I agree with Sports Illustrated on this one. I think they will be near the top of the list for most of the year.
However, right behind them is division foe, the Atlanta Braves. The Braves acquired B.J. Upton and Justin in moves earlier this off-season. Coming in third was the defending World Series Champion San Fransisco Giants.
The remaining teams in front of the Tigers were the Cincinnati Reds, Toronto Blue Jays, Tampa Bay Rays and the St. Louis Cardinals.
I don’t really agree with Sports Illustrated’s assessment of the Tigers. I feel like they should be ranked a couple of spots higher than they are. And obviously it is early but the Tigers made sure they kept starter Anibal Sanchez and are getting designated hitter Victor Martinez back from injury. The lineup will be just as potent as it was last season even though they lost outfielder Delmon Young and Ryan Raburn.
The major issue though will be the bullpen for the Tigers. They lost closer Jose Valverde and are unsure who the closer will be. As of now, the Tigers will have to rely on Bruce Rondon, Phil Coke, and Joaquin Benoit to close out games for them. I think a combination will be good to start off the year but they will have to look in to trying to improve at the position.
If I were to rate the Tigers I would mark them as 5th in all of baseball. But as we all know it’s about what they do on the diamond, not what it says in power rankings.