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2016 MLB roster outlook: Detroit Tigers

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2016 MLB roster outlook: Detroit Tigers

2015 record: 74-87, 5th place in AL Central

Manager: Brad Ausmus, 3rd season

Estimated 2016 payroll: $200 million

Key additions: OF Justin Upton, SP Jordan Zimmermann, CL Francisco Rodriguez, SP Mike Pelfrey

Key losses: C Alex Avila, OF Rajai Davis, SP Alfredo Simon

Projected lineup

2B Ian Kinsler
LF Justin Upton
1B Miguel Cabrera
DH Victor Martinez
RF J.D. Martinez
3B Nick Castellanos
C James McCann
SS Jose Iglesias
CF Anthony Gose

Projected rotation
RHP Justin Verlander
RHP Jordan Zimmermann
RHP Anibal Sanchez
LHP Daniel Norris
RHP Mike Pelfrey

Top relievers
CL Francisco Rodriguez
RHP Mark Lowe
LHP Justin Wilson

Biggest questions entering 2016
1. Can they improve their pitching? It was just two years ago the Tigers had Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, David Price and Anibal Sanchez; all on one team. Before that Doug Fister was there with Verlander and Scherzer, as they formed one of the best pitching staffs in baseball. That all changed last season, as they posted the worst team ERA in the American League. For the Tigers to become contenders again, they will have to pitch better. Bringing in starter Jordan Zimmermann should help. He was their first major offseason addition and Detroit hopes he can be the top shelf pitcher he was for years with the Nationals.

2. Will Verlander return to form? A resurgent Justin Verlander could help the Tigers improve their pitching staff dramatically. He has not been the dominant pitcher he once was for three seasons now, but he did post a 2.80 ERA over his last 15 outings in 2015. Verlander was once the best pitcher in baseball. If he can regain that form, the Tigers' outlook will look a whole lot different.

3. Can they match the Royals? The Tigers boast Verlander, Zimmermann, Justin Upton and Miguel Cabrera, but few will be predicting them to win their division. That's because the reigning champion Royals look like the favorites in the AL once again and a team that could go to their third straight World Series. The Royals won 95 games last year, while the Tigers finished in last with only 74 wins. That's a ton of ground to make up for a team that wants to win now.

[Roster info via RosterResource.com]

[RELATED: First pictures of Doug Fister in Astros uniform]

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Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

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USA TODAY Sports Images

Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

WASHINGTON -- Juan Soto, the youngest player in the majors at 19, hit a three-run homer in his first career start as the Washington Nationals defeated the San Diego Padres 10-2 on Monday.

Mark Reynolds had two solo home runs for the Nationals, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Bryce Harper had a homer and an RBI double.

Soto's drive highlighted a five-run second inning for Washington. The promising outfielder, who played for three minor league teams this season, hit the first pitch from Robbie Erlin (1-3) over the Nationals bullpen in left-center field. Soto also singled.

Soto's homer traveled an estimated 442 feet at Nationals Park. He earned a standing ovation from the crowd and the teenager responded by taking a curtain call. Per Baseball-Reference.com, Soto became the first teenager to hit a home run in a major league game since Harper on Sept. 30, 2012.

Called up to Washington on Sunday, Soto became the first 19-year-old to make his major league debut since Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias in 2016. He entered that game in the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter and struck out.

Washington's starting left fielder began the season at Class A Hagerstown. He hit a combined .362 with 14 homers and 52 RBIs in his three minor league stops.

Gio Gonzalez (5-2) allowed two runs and two hits in seven innings.

San Diego's Franmil Reyes, playing in his seventh career game, also hit his first career home run.

Trea Turner hit a pair of RBI doubles for Washington. Reynolds had three hits.

Erlin surrendered six runs and seven hits over four innings in his third start of the season. San Diego had won three in a row.

Reyes connected for a two-run homer in the fourth inning, but the Padres' lineup generated little else against Gonzalez, who allowed one run over six innings in a no-decision at San Diego on May 9.

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.

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Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

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@MLB

Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

Juan Soto, the highly-regarded 19-year-old Nationals' prospect, got his first major league start of his career tonight. 

How did it go, you ask? Surely it would take Soto - who was in Single-A less than two weeks ago - some time to adjust? 

What were you doing at 19??

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.