Best duos in Detroit Tigers history

Written by:
May 16, 2022
Schyler // Wikimedia Commons

Best duos in Detroit Tigers history

In Major League Baseball, it takes more than one skilled player to field a championship contender. It takes talent all over the field at a variety of positions, both in terms of pitchers and hitters. While having a star pitcher and a star hitter at the same time is no guarantee of success, it does put your team in a position to have the type of season that fans will talk about for generations.

While it’s not quite the same as the NBA, where one standout duo can take a team from the cellar to playoff contention, it’s not uncommon for an outstanding season from a pitcher and position player duo to add 20 wins or more, according to Baseball Reference’s wins above replacement player metric. The number is designed to illustrate the difference between a star player and the type of player that would be considered “replacement level”—that is, one who could be easily signed as a midseason free agent or called up from the minor leagues.

The following is a list of the top pitcher/position player duos in Detroit Tigers history. Using wins above replacement, Stacker compiled a list of the seasons in franchise history that had a pitcher and hitter with the most combined value. Note that, for the purpose of capturing and examining the game's "modern era", only seasons after 1969 were used for this list.

#10. 1972 Detroit Tigers
- Bill Freehan: 4.2 WAR (#33 position player in 1972)
- Mickey Lolich: 7.4 WAR (#4 pitcher in 1972)
- Total: 11.6 WAR

#9. 2007 Detroit Tigers
- Curtis Granderson: 7.6 WAR (#6 position player in 2007)
- Justin Verlander: 4.2 WAR (#23 pitcher in 2007)
- Total: 11.8 WAR

#8. 1971 Detroit Tigers
- Bill Freehan: 4.3 WAR (#36 position player in 1971)
- Mickey Lolich: 8.5 WAR (#5 pitcher in 1971)
- Total: 12.8 WAR

#7. 2016 Detroit Tigers
- Ian Kinsler: 5.6 WAR (#18 position player in 2016)
- Justin Verlander: 7.4 WAR (#1 pitcher in 2016)
- Total: 13 WAR

#6. 1969 Detroit Tigers
- Jim Northrup: 5 WAR (#29 position player in 1969)
- Denny McLain: 8.1 WAR (#4 pitcher in 1969)
- Total: 13.1 WAR

#5. 1987 Detroit Tigers
- Alan Trammell: 8.2 WAR (#3 position player in 1987)
- Jack Morris: 5.1 WAR (#13 pitcher in 1987)
- Total: 13.3 WAR

#4. 2013 Detroit Tigers
- Miguel Cabrera: 7.5 WAR (#4 position player in 2013)
- Max Scherzer: 6.5 WAR (#5 pitcher in 2013)
- Total: 14 WAR

#3. 1976 Detroit Tigers
- Ron LeFlore: 5.3 WAR (#18 position player in 1976)
- Mark Fidrych: 9.6 WAR (#1 pitcher in 1976)
- Total: 14.9 WAR

#2. 2012 Detroit Tigers
- Miguel Cabrera: 7.1 WAR (#6 position player in 2012)
- Justin Verlander: 8.1 WAR (#1 pitcher in 2012)
- Total: 15.2 WAR

#1. 2011 Detroit Tigers
- Miguel Cabrera: 7.6 WAR (#6 position player in 2011)
- Justin Verlander: 8.6 WAR (#2 pitcher in 2011)
- Total: 16.2 WAR

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