Predictions are, at best, educated guesses. Every year, the best minds in baseball reporting look at the way teams performed the previous year, look at the moves they made in the offseason to improve, and try to assess how well all 30 squads will fare in the new year. It’s not an exact science by any means, and there are always teams that go on to defy expectation (I’m looking at you, 2017 Twins), but by and large they offer a good overview of where the cards might fall.
Statcast guru Mike Petriello actually created a metric to see how many potential wins were gained and lost in the offseason based on moves the team made. By his estimation, the Tigers went down by three wins, while the Phillies and Yankees boosted their wins by eight. You can read in detail about how he came by these numbers in the article itself.
Here's the list for all 30 teams, by the way pic.twitter.com/XhgDYSPOrd— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) March 6, 2019
Fundamentally, while the Tigers actually look to improve over last season’s dismal 64-win total (FanGraphs has them projected to win 67 games), Petriello’s numbers suggest their offseason moves have actually made them worse than last year.
Everyone other predictive metric suggests the Tigers will place dead last in the AL Central, with only a small measure of difference in their win-loss predictions. USA Today sees the Tigers ending up with a 64-98, same as the past two seasons. It’s worth noting that USA Today predicted the Tigers would finish 63-99 last season, only off by one game. But it’s also worth noting that they thought the Royals and White Sox would win over 70 games apiece, and that was decidedly incorrect. To be fair, no one could have predicted just how dismal the AL Central would be last year.
Our 2019 win totals are out now that Bryce Harper has found a home. Expect total chaos this season: A three-way tie in the NL Central, a two-way tie atop the NL East - and all five teams landing on the same record, creating a dizzying set of tiebreakers. pic.twitter.com/rZAEf3IFeY— USA TODAY MLB (@usatodaymlb) March 5, 2019
Just like with FanGraphs, only the Orioles (53, ouch) and the Marlins (62) are predicted to do worse than the Tigers.
The last group to release their predictions for the 2019 MLB season this week was Baseball Prospectus, who aligned with FanGraphs in their outlook for the Tigers, at 67 wins. They see the Tigers tying with the Marlins, and the Orioles limping across the final line in last place.
None of these metrics are perfect. No one can truly know who will be a breakaway success in the baseball season, because we can’t predict injuries, or slumps, or the next Jose Ramirez. But the general consensus is that the Tigers will have a similar season to last year, if maybe slightly better.
Averaging the FanGraphs, USA Today, and Baseball Prospectus numbers, the Tigers seem to be in line for a 66-96 record, a number I just made up right now, and just as likely to be correct as the others. The Tigers could meet these expectations, or they could surprise everyone and have a significantly better year. They could also do much worse, but let’s not think about that, because losing stinks.