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30 Teams In 30 Days: I'm Desperately Hoping This Is The Year The Tigers Turn It Around

I want to put this team higher, and I do see a potential future in which we look back at this prediction and say that I was way off. I try to be as objective as possible with every team I root for, but it's difficult for me with the Tigers. I sometimes can't tell if I'm speaking with my head or heart. In this particular instance, I think I'm being fair. There's still a high ceiling for this team. It's not a World Series ceiling, but it's the ceiling of a team that could win their division. 

As Detroit fans, I think we've become so accustomed to the idea that developing players is like pulling teeth. If you have a competent organization, that's different. Because of that, I think Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene will take the next step this season and become established Major League players. I think Tarik Skubal will be one of the best pitchers in the American League. I like the back end of the bullpen, and A.J. Hinch does as good a job as anybody at managing his pitchers. Chris Fetter remains a brilliant pitching coach.

There is a lot to like here, but in the back of my mind, I just can't overlook how dismal this team has been offensively over the last seven seasons. Yes, they got better last season. They got significantly better because they could not have gotten any worse. The 2022 offense completely bottomed out, and while there were improvements a season ago, there are still a lot of automatic outs in the bottom of that lineup. Spring training has featured the ascension of Andy Ibanez. If you can put together a solid campaign, it's an added boost for this team. Colt Keith will likely start the year as this team's second baseman. I know that the organization loves his bat. What happens if he can come along and be good from the get-go? All these things are possible, but when ranking teams one through 30, I'm more inclined to give a higher rating to teams with fewer what-ifs.

The Tigers didn't have an amazing offseason. Part of me thinks that as long as Chris Ilitch is the owner, they never will, but they did get better, which is something I don't know I can say about a lot of the other teams in this division. I think they'll hang around for a long time, but there's so much inexperience on this team, and so many questions marks that I just can't pick them yet to be in the upper half of teams in baseball. God, I hope I'm wrong.

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