There’s certainly no secret that the American League Central division is a division that left the 2012 baseball fan, a little bit, shall we say, unfulfilled, at least in the wins column. In 2011 the Tigers had 95 wins, a whole 15 wins more than the 80 win Chicago White Sox, who finished in second place. Last year, the race was a bit closer, as we know, the Tigers still won the division with 88 games, but the White Sox closed the gap, winning 85. A division winner with 88 games.
So, what’s the word, so far, on how people think the Tigers will fare this year?
Luckily, I found some CAIRO projections updated on the 28th of January, so they’re not yet a week old. To be honest, I can’t stand these things, they’re strictly numerical, which is horrible this early in the year since there are still quite a few Free Agents out there and spring battles still have to be fought out. But we all know that. That’s old news. These projections are simply interesting, even if they are, on the surface, so obviously flawed – for example CAIRO had Baltimore finishing with 70 wins last year, and Oakland with 74. Both teams won at least 90 and made the playoffs. Furthermore, CAIRO had the Tigers scoring 803 runs on offense going into the season, and they only put up 726, which was five runs above the league average.
Still, CAIRO gives us all an idea where the teams stand in correlation to their actual talent level, so we can’t just throw these away. For example, if you were to simulate the Orioles season last year 1000 times, I think they would have won as many games as they actually did like 5 or 6 of those seasons. We must always remember, that in real baseball there are always outliers that cannot and will not be explained and projections are meant to show us how each team should perform.
So, knowing all the flaws as well as the reasons, where do the Tigers stand?
- Well, they’re supposed to be better than every one else in the division.
- They’re supposed to score 800 runs (again).
- And win 89 games.
So, what do I take from it? Well, at least no one is expecting the Royals to run away with this thing.