KFFL answers important fantasy baseball questions for each Major League Baseball team as spring training approaches. What must fantasy baseball players know about the Detroit Tigers?
What's the fallout of Prince Fielder's move to Motown?
Our Hot Stove series touched on Prince's stock and Miguel Cabrera, impending third sacker. Their fantasy needles move ever so slightly; they're already elite options.
Motown, 5-hole suit Young
Fake GMs worry that some of the opposite-field homers Fielder hit in Miller Park won't translate to the more cavernous Comerica Park because of the differences between the power alleys - and that he might become more pull-happy and start slumping. Sure, his homers could trip a little, but they shouldn't dip below 30. Mashers with Fielder's body of work - and Fielder's body - don't yield to park factors to the extent most other bats do.
The new one-two punch means more plate crossings for the Detroit's lineup-topping pair. Despite spotty on-base skills, Austin Jackson becomes a slightly more attractive low-end fantasy outfielder.
Likely No. 2 hitter Brennan Boesch has much more to gain, especially the potential of seeing more meatballs stepping in before three-holer Cabrera. Boesch's power dipped a bit versus southpaws last year, but he holds his own against them. Turning 27 in April, he has a valid chance at 20 homers with augmented counting-stats potential.
Frustrating but talented Delmon Young, nestled into the fifth slot, could approach his 2010 RBI total if he can rediscover the efficient hitting he displayed with runners in scoring position. His brief 2011 Tigres stint hinted he's revisiting his formerly massive hype.
Catcher Alex Avila, who's coming off nagging knee issues that hampered him in late 2011, will not see as many DH at-bats as his fantasy prognosticators hoped for after learning of Victor Martinez's ravaged knee. The glove-challenged Young looks like the first choice. Expect Jim Leyland to pencil in Avila at sixth, but the Cabrera-Fielder storm won't drastically increase his already notable yet shaky value.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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