Not often can a team boast back-to-back MVP winners on the same team. Fewer still can lay claim to having both a Triple Crown winner and a Cy Young winner on the same roster. And only nine times in the history of MLB has a team had a pitcher and a position player win back-to-back MVP awards.
Justin Verlander is without a doubt the most dominant pitcher in baseball today. His WAR (7.5) last season was a full point higher than the second-place finisher David Price (6.4). He has led the league in strikeouts three out of the last four years, and he finished fifth in the only season he wasn’t the leader (2010).
Verlander has also been a workhorse for the Tigers, leading the league in innings each of the last four years, excluding 2010, when he finished fifth again.
As the best pitcher in the game, Verlander anchors a pitching staff that would be mediocre without him.
Reigning AL MVP Miguel Cabrera is, like Verlander, one of the most dominant players at his position. He is undoubtedly the best third baseman in the game, and his numbers prove it.
Miguel won the Triple Crown last season, the first since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967, posting a .330 average with 44 home runs and 139 RBI. The guy was absolutely en fuego, but none of it would have been possible without one of last year’s biggest free-agent signings protecting him in the lineup.
Prince Fielder is a classic power-hitting first baseman, and his added power threat in the Tigers’ lineup last season opened up a world of seeing pitches that Cabrera had never experienced before. Fielder’s bat is formidable, and pitchers have a tough time deciding which one to pitch to.
There isn’t really a right decision, though. They’re both gonna crush it.
That kind of historic talent on the Tigers’ roster will prove to be too much for the AL Central. Consistency isn’t the forte of most of the Central’s teams, and Detroit should breeze through to a first-round playoff matchup in the Motor City.
1. Detroit Tigers
2. Kansas City Royals
3. Chicago White Sox
4. Cleveland Indians
5. Minnesota Twins
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