Monday, March 15, 2010

Tigers Opening Day Lineup: Will they get the Magglio of 2007?

According to Lynn Henning at the Detroit News, this will be the Tigers starting lineup on opening day.  There is good news and bad news, but the Tigers might be ok if he's right about Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen:

1. Austin Jackson CF
2. Johnny Damon LF
3. Magglio Ordonez RF(Detroit News)
All but transformed by an off-season conditioning program that would have made a Marine proud, Ordonez has been a stunning story. He is in the best condition of his life and hitting like the Ordonez of 2007.

4. Miguel Cabrera 1B
5. Carlos Guillen DH (Detroit News)
He is healthy. He is upbeat. He is a quality big-league hitter. A case could be made that Guillen is the most important person in Leyland's lineup. Without a productive Guillen at the fifth spot, the Tigers will have a miserable time delivering game-changing runs.
6. Scott Sizemore 2B
7. Brandon Inge 3B
8. Gerald Laird C
9. Adam Everett SS (Detroit News)
Nothing will change. Everett will hit .235, perhaps, and get a handful of big hits. Shortstop is the most important defensive position on the field, and Everett takes care of business there with the best of them. But at a place where offense also counts, the Tigers will get the minimum in 2010.

Scott Sizemore and Austin Jackson have never played in the Major Leagues, so that should be interesting.  Miguel Cabrera is probably going to be pitched around a lot, although he's not known for his patience (68 BB in 685 PA in 2009).  Magglio Ordonez has a lot to prove after everyone criticized the Tigers for allowing him to reach enough at-bats to trigger an option that will pay him $18 million, but few in Detroit will mind if he hits like he did in 2007. 

Magglio Ordonez (2007) .363 BA, 117 R, 28 HR, 139 RBI

For Carlos Guillen to be productive, he would need to go back to 2007-levels as well:
Carlos Guiilen (2007): .296, 21 HR, 102 RBI

If Ordonez and Guillen are healthy and productive, the Tigers might be able to score enough runs to be playoff contenders.  If they aren't productive, it'll be a long season and Miguel Cabrera won't see much to hit.

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