Tigers’ lineup ranked 10th-best in MLB

The Detroit News
Miguel Cabrera

The Detroit Tigers, who finished 11th in the majors last season with 750 runs (4.66 per game) have the 10th-best lineup in baseball heading into the 2017 season, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.

Olney broke down his top 10 with three categories on each team – “The big dog,” “The big concern” and “the big variables.”

The big dog, of course, is Miguel Cabrera, who in 2016 slugged his way to his 10th 30-plus homer season (38) and 12 season with 100 or more RBI (108).

The big concern, in Olney’s estimation: “The Tigers signaled to the rest of the industry and their fans their effort to reduce payroll, through the intended deals of pricey veterans such as J.D. Martinez, Ian Kinsler and Victor Martinez. Detroit hasn’t had luck in making that happen, and a question hovering over the Tigers as spring training and the regular season approaches is whether the team would move Kinsler or J.D. Martinez, who are each important to the offense.”

The big variables are Justin Upton and Nick Castellanos. “Both players can be streaky and when they are swinging well, this is a very deep, dangerous batting order,” Olney says.

The Boston Red Sox, who led the majors with 878 runs last season, are ranked No. 1, followed by the Colorado Rockies and Chicago Cubs.

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1. Ian Kinsler, 2B

2. J.D. Martinez, RF

3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B

4. Victor Martinez, DH

5. Justin Upton, LF

6. Nick Castellanos, 3B

7. Tyler Collins, CF

8. James McCann, C

9. Jose Iglesias, SS