1. Catcher Alex Avila will step up.
– Avila had a breakout 2011 season after he finished 2010 strong, but then followed up with a sub-par 2012 and 2013 season offensively, save for a few big homers. Avila seemed to have gained a good mental approach back at the end of 2013, and I think he will come into 2014 strong and have another season similar to his 2011 although maybe not as good. Avila can definitely play defense and handle pitchers well but I think his ability to hit will make him a lot better in 2013 for the Detroit Tigers, and he will step up and be a good seven-hole hitter. Avila was putting up some impressive on-base percentage numbers and I think his trend of that could resume this upcoming season.
– In 2006 the Tigers had the Joel Zumaya-Fernando Rodney-Todd Jones set, which was not the best combination in the league, but it was pretty good and worked for them. Nathan is better than Jones, while Rondon and Joba Chamberlain could develop into good setup men. Rondon improved as 2013 went on and he should come back strong with his 100 MPH fastball. Joba could really have a good year out of the bullpen as Jeff Jones tries to fix him and could put up some really good setup numbers. The Tigers bullpen will not suddenly become elite in 2014, but it should be a lot better than the 2013 bullpen whose only good arms were Joaquin Benoit and Drew Smyly.
3. The 2014 Tigers will win more games than any Tigers team since 2006.
– The 2006 and 2011 Tigers both won 95 games. Look at those Opening Day rosters and compare them to the 2014 roster any way that you can, and on paper the 2014 one is the best. Now the 2012 and 2013 ones were better on paper too, but this Tigers team is not one-dimensional and as long as few things work out and the Tigers position themselves to acquire a bat in July, I think this Tigers team could win up to 97-98 regular season games and could possibly bring a World Series to Detroit. Other than the fact they lost Doug Fister for not much, they had replaced everyone they lost very well and are still favorites within the AL Central.