2016 was an interesting year for the Detroit Tigers. They had a lot of highs and a lot of lows but when the dust settled, they finished a full eight games behind the Cleveland Indians for first place in the American League Central.

When the offseason rolled around, Tigers general manager Al Avila made it known that changes were coming. Whether or not he meant the Tigers were going to trade away some of their star players, many took it that way and when Avila traded Cameron Maybin for a small return, it seemed like the wheels were in motion.

But then something happened. The rumors kept flying around, including some which included players like Justin Verlander and Ian Kinsler leaving for the Dodgers, but nothing ever came to fruition.

Now, as the 2017 season is about to get underway, the band is back together in Detroit for a run at the playoffs and hopefully more. Here is a look at three reasons why the Detroit Tigers WILL make the playoffs.

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1. Dominant Starting Pitching

There is a saying in baseball that goes like this, “good pitching beats good hitting.” That is a saying I believe in wholeheartedly and it happens to be the No. 1 reason why the Detroit Tigers will make the playoffs in 2017.

Leading the way will be American League Cy Young award runner-up, Justin Verlander, and American League Rookie of the Year award winner, Michael Fulmer. If those two can replicate what they did in 2016, the Tigers will have one of the best starting combos in all of baseball.

Joining Verlander and Fulmer in the rotation will be Jordan Zimmermann, Daniel Norris and either Matt Boyd or Anibal Sanchez (If you are reading too late, we will already know who the No. 5 starter is). Zimmermann is coming off a season in which injuries got the best of him, but he is feeling good and is ready to roll. With Norris ready to take the next step in his progression, the Tigers rotation could be scary by the time September rolls around.

Sep 11, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) pitches in the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
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