Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Uncustomed Heroes of 2016: Tigers

In an alternate universe, the Tigers win the Wild Card spot over the Orioles, face the Blue Jays in the WC playoff game. Do they win, with Verlander on the mound.

Yeah. Yeah, I think they do.

Now, whether or not they get past Texas to play the Indians in the ALCS is another thing, but the 2016 Tigers were the best team not to make the playoffs. They were right there, doing a ton of things right, and teams like the Blue Jays, who had less than half the year the Tigers had, got all the glory.

Jordan Zimmermann didn't have a full season in Detroit, but he did pretty well, especially in the first half. He'll likely have a fuller 2017.

Jose Iglesias had another nice year in the infield for Detroit. Look, he doesn't have to do much at the plate except stay near .300. He's just a great defensive shortstop, and he's good for the Tigers.

Who'd have thought that K-Rod would still be shutting them down, even in 2016. Francisco Rodriguez had another really strong season, even in the AL. This is his first successful AL stint since his run with the Angels, so that was a nice enough gamble for the Tigers, who tried a similar tactic with Joe Nathan a few seasons ago.

Erick Aybar came to Detroit in a late-season waiver deal, after doing his best in Atlanta. He mostly stuck to a backup role for the Tigers, but he still did a pretty nice job in that.

Meanwhile, this guy won the Rookie of the Year.

Michael Fulmer may have won because he got in early and Gary Sanchez didn't get in early enough, but he still had a fantastic season, and made himself a pretty formidable 2nd-in-command to Justin Verlander. Hopefully he'll continue to have some nice seasons.

Coming Tomorrow- The last-place Minnesota Twins.

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