People can't expect a repeat of Max Scherzer's 21-3 season, but he should win 18-19 games. (Robin Buckson / Detroit News)
Detroitó They have talent, as much as any team and more than most, but the Tigers still have to play up to their potential to succeed in 2014.
That starts with their individual potential.
What would be a good season at the plate, for instance, for Ian Kinsler, their new second baseman?
What would be a bad season for Anibal Sanchez, who was the Tigersí second-best starting pitcher of 2013?
Hereís a look, with statistical assistance from baseball-reference.com, at the 10 players on the team who will probably be the most impactful .
Heís so good that the 162-game average for his career is 36 home runs, 123 RBI and a .321 batting average.
In six years, as a Tiger, though, heís done even better, averaging 38 home runs, 123 RBI and a .327 batting average.
Another ďaverageĒ Tiger season for Cabrera would be an excellent season.
Fewer than 30 home runs, 120 RBI and less than a .320 batting average would be fine for someone else, but considering how high the bar is for Cabrera, that might be considered sub-par.
Chances are heís still climbing up the stats ladder, though.
Canít expect a repeat of his 21-3 season, but can expect him to be a candidate to win at least 18-19 games ó and possibly be a 20-game winner again.
Scherzer has made such huge strides with his ERA in the last two years that anything on the high side of 3.20 would be surprising. An acceptably good season for him would be 18-8, 3.09. A sub-par season for him at this point would be 15-12 with a 3.36 ERA.
It was easy to get spoiled by the 2011 season he had. That was the year he went 24-5, but itís been rougher sledding since.
Some believe heís still an outstanding starter capable of being the best, so with that in mind, letís judge him on the average of his last five seasons.
Verlanderís average season in the last five would give him an 18-9 year with a 3.05 ERA. That would be back up there with whatís expected of him.
Whatís not expected would be a repeat of last yearís 13-12 record with a 3.46 ERA.
One such season is a blip on the screen. Two would be something far more alarming.
The Tigersí second-best starter last year entered the prime of his career with a 2.57 ERA last year, the lowest in the American League.
Combined with a 14-8 record, he finished a deserved fourth in the Cy Young voting. But some missed starts kept him under 15 wins, and to get to 15-plus is the next natural level for him.
Going 16-10 with a 2.73 ERA would be a good season for Sanchez. To win fewer than the 14 games he won last year, even with the same ERA, would be insufficient
Heís been a big-league closer for eight healthy seasons and one that wasnít. In the eight, heís saved 40-plus games four times, but never fewer than 36.
His ERA in healthy seasons has ranged from last yearís 1.39 to 2.80 in 2012.
Using those guidelines, a good season for Nathan would be 40-plus saves with an ERA of 2.10. But the number of saves is far more important than the ERA.
What would be a disappointing season for Nathan? Considering who he is and what heís already accomplished in his career, a year in which he has under 35 saves and over a 2.80 ERA would have to be considered sub-par.
It was a tale of two seasons within one for Martinez last year as he bounced back from knee surgery.
He struggled mightily at the plate for three months, hitting .225 in his first 77 games, then excelled in the last three months, hitting .370 in his last 82 games.
Expecting .370 for a full season is a bit much, but itís reasonable to expect Martinez can hit .320-plus and knock in 100-plus runs again, now that heíll be the Tigersí cleanup hitter.
Anything less than .300, and fewer than 90 RBI, would be a disappointment.
He certainly likes hitting in Comerica Park (.333 last year) with its gaps, which helps to explain how his combined total of 42 doubles and triples were his most since 2007 and the second-highest total of his career.
Plus he scored 90 runs for the first time since 2007 and for just the second time in his career. A good season would be a repeat of his first as a Tiger.
He would have a sub-par season would be if he reverts to the .262 he hit for the Angels in 2011. But even then, he hit 23 home runs with 82 RBI, so itís never been all bad with Hunter.
Age (38) has yet to take a toll. His 606 at-bats in 2013 were the most of his career.
He hasnít come close to hitting .300 again since he hit .319 in 2008, so thatís probably out. And heís not hit 20 home runs in either of the last two years, let alone the 32 he hit in 2011.
So where to set the bar for this newcomer? Letís set it at his three-year average. If he hits higher than the .262 heís averaged the last three years, consider it a plus. Also, if he hits more than the 21 home runs heís averaged the last three and drives in more than the 74 heís averaged, itíll be a good season for him.
But also judge Kinsler on the runs he scores.
He has averaged 104 runs scored in the last three seasons, so if heís in triple digits again, no matter what his batting average is, or what his other stats are, heíll be accomplishing a major portion of whatís expected of him.
This will be a hugely important season for Jackson because itís his fifth season óthe one that often dictates how much a club wants to retain a player long term.
Jackson canít be a free agent after this season, but the way he plays will begin to dictate how much the Tigers will want to prevent him from becoming a free agent after his sixth season.
A good year for Jackson this year will be anything that proves he had only a so-so season in 2014.
There is a next level of performance waiting ó but it starts with him hitting with more consistency from year to year than heís done.
Anything under .270 this season would not enhance the likelihood of a long-term extension next winter.
Heís big, heís strong, he has a great swing. And heís taking over as the Tigersí everyday third baseman.
But what is Castellanos going to hit ó and how much will be produce? Anyoneís guess.
There are parameters of good and bad seasons even for kids, though.
If Castellanos hits .266 with 15 home runs and 70 RBI in his first full season as a big-leaguer, itíll be just fine. Not awesome, but fine. Thatíll be 10 points off what he hit at Triple A last year ó plus three fewer home runs and six fewer RBIs.
What to be disappointed by? If he hits under .240 and fewer than 10 home runs and knocks in fewer than 60 runs.
But he doesnít expect to be disappointed.
And neither do the Tigers.