The Detroit Tigers youthful pitching staff needs to have a turnaround season if they want to be respected. If not, the 2018 Tigers could be the worst team of all time.
Baseball fans are rejoicing as we are now less than a month away from pitchers and catchers reporting. Unfortunately for Detroit Tigers‘ fans that doesn’t mean a whole lot.
The usual buzz and excitement around the Tigers’ rotation is over. In fact, this rotation could end up being one of the youngest and weakest in the major leagues.
The obvious leader of the rotation will be Michael Fulmer. The 24-year-old is coming off a solid season where he appeared to be one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball. However, nerve damage in his throwing elbow limited this young ace’s season to just 25 games.
Fulmer finished the 2017 season with a record of 10-12, with a 3.83 ERA. However, fans know that he was much better than these numbers showed.
Countless times throughout the season, former Tiger manager Brad Ausmus left Fulmer in games too long. He even kept him in the rotation after it was obvious to any viewer that he was injured.
The former AL Rookie of the Year will be looking to have an even more dominant season in the 2018 campaign. The Tigers will have to rely heavily on his success in order to make this season respectable.
Who will take the 2-3 rotation spots?
The second pitcher in the rotation will most likely be Daniel Norris.
Norris has had an extremely disappointing career thus far. He was the top prospect acquired by the Tigers when they sent David Price to the Blue Jays back in 2015.
What the scouts saw in Norris hasn’t translated to the major league level. He is currently 11-11 in three seasons in Detroit. However, he has started 39 games with the club in that time frame. He also has a dismal career ERA of 4.35.
Like Fulmer, Norris’ young career has been riddled with injuries. In fact, Norris has been on the Disabled List four times in his young career in Detroit. The Tigers need Norris to remain healthy and pitch to his potential in order to find any kind of success this season.
The 3rd slot in the Tiger’s rotation should be filled by Matt Boyd. Boyd had a growing year in Detroit last season. He started 26 games in the 2017 campaign, and finished the season with a 6-11 record with a 5.27 ERA.
Boyd seemed to be showing progression towards the end of the season. As a matter of fact, each of his last 7 starts was a quality start. In one of those starts against the Chicago White Sox, he even came close to pitching a no-hitter.
Boyd showed glimpses of being a reliable starter in the major leagues toward the end of the season. If that continues, the 26 year old could become a potential trade target around the halfway point.
Veterans will lead the back of the rotation.
Fourth in the rotation will be a newcomer in Mike Fiers. Fiers was just signed to a one-year 6-million dollar contract by the Tigers earlier this offseason.
The decision to sign Fiers was quite a puzzling one. Fiers previously pitched for the Milwaukee Brewers and the defending champion Houston Astros. His career numbers definitely aren’t great. He has posted a 4 plus ERA and has a 42-47 record in 6 seasons in the majors.
His best season was in 2016 when he went 11-8 with the Houston Astros. However, he led the league in wild pitches with 17, and gave up about a home run an outing. His inconsistency left him with a 4.48 ERA. Not great numbers for the best season of his career.
It was definitely a low-risk, low-reward signing. At the very least, the 32-year-old will bring veteran leadership to an overall very youthful staff. Expect inconsistency and frustration when Fiers takes the mound.
Another pitcher that Tigers’ fans are frustrated with is Jordan Zimmermann who will be the fifth starter in the rotation.
Zimmermann has just not been himself since joining the Tigers on a five year 110 million dollar contract in 2015. The two-time All-Star had an impressive seven seasons with the Washington Nationals. He had a 70-50 record with a 3.34 ERA.
Zimmermann was supposed to come into Detroit and replace David Price in the juggernaut that was the Tiger’s rotation. However, he only started 18 games in his first season with Detroit as he injured his neck.
2017 was supposed to be a rebound season for Zimmermann, but he was just awful. He finished last year giving up 108 earned runs, more than anyone else in the league. He also had a 6+ ERA. The team absolutely need more from him in order to be successful this season.
The Detroit Tigers rotation will disappoint.
The Tigers rotation is definitely not going to be a very good one. However, they have other options including Buck Farmer, Drew VerHagen, and their #1 prospect Franklin Perez could see the majors this season.
They could even look to their bullpen for starting help as Alex Wilson stated he would like to have a go at starting.
There will be a lot of experimentation and learning for the Tigers’ rotation this year. Lots of things can change as well. Fulmer, Boyd, Fiers, or Norris could have some great trading value if they pitch well. It will be very interesting to see what come of the 2018 Tigers’ rotation.