What else can baseball fans do in January but dream of October? In You May Say I'm a Dreamer, the Outside Corner staff will imagine the route to a World Series in 2013 title for all 30 teams.
After falling short a year ago with a juggernaut roster, the Tigers took that same juggernaut roster into October and kicked the tar out of the best teams in baseball, winning the World Series and vindicating Dave Dombrowski's bold moves throughout the years.
As usual, Detroit was led by its stars. Miguel Cabrera followed up his MVP-winning, Triple Crown 2012 with another MVP award, hitting 42 homers with a 1.047 OPS, falling just shy of another Triple Crown in the process. Detroit also brought the Cy Young award home once again after Justin Verlander threw 242 innings, struck out 245 hitters, and posted a 2.65 ERA. With the MVP and Cy Young winners on the team, the Tigers really didn't need much else, did they?
Well, not really. But they got production from other parts of the team. Prince Fielder's second year in the Motor City resulted in 36 homers, a .991 OPS, and more walks than strikeouts for a third straight season. In his return from a torn ACL, Victor Martinez hit 22 homers and had an .864 OPS while solidifying Detroit's DH position. Catcher Alex Avila bounced back from a down year in 2012 and hit 14 homers with an .860 OPS and 69 walks. Center fielder Austin Jackson continued his high BABIP ways, hitting .302 with 14 homers and 22 stolen bases and amazing defense in center field.
The rotation was more than just Verlander, too. Max Scherzer responded to his breakout 2012 season by throwing 203 innings, striking out 220 hitters, and posting a 3.32 ERA as he finally got his home run issues under control. Doug Fister threw 190 innings with a 3.08 ERA and a 3.56 strikeout to walk ratio. Anibal Sanchez built on his solid 12 starts in Detroit last season by throwing 195 innings of 3.46 ERA ball. Sure it was Verlander that led the rotation to the promised land, but he wasn't dragging the rest of the staff kicking and screaming.
In the bullpen, rookie Bruce Rondon did what he had to do in relief. Rondon struck out 60 hitters in 55 innings with his fastball touching triple digits on occasion, saving 27 games for the Tigers with a 3.27 ERA. Veteran Octavio Dotel threw 63 innings with a 3.43 ERA and a 4.79 strikeout to walk ratio. Al Albuquerque struck out 60 hitters in 43 innings. Joaquin Benoit got his homer issues from a year ago contained, and had a 4.17 strikeout to walk ratio in 71 innings for the Tigers.
Once the playoffs rolled around, the Tigers were a freight train. In the ALDS, they swept the Rays in three games. In the ALCS, they beat the Blue Jays in five. And finally in the World Series, Detroit had their way with the Nationals, beating the NL East champions in five games to bring the first World Championship to Detroit since 1984.
Last year was supposed to be the year for the Tigers, but Detroit fans were totally fine with having to wait a season to get their title. And thus, Justin Verlander and Prince Fielder finally have their rings.