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Detroit Tigers Pitchers and Catchers 2016
Current Detroit Tigers Starting Pitcher Rotation
1. Justin Verlander
2. Jordan Zimmermann (acquired as free agent)
3. Anibel Sanchez
4. Mike Pelfrey (acquired as free agent)
5. Shane Greene
Tigers Battery Mates To Play a Big Role in Tigers' Success
New General Manager Al Avila had a formidable task in satisfying owner Mike Ilitch's thirst for another winner. 2015 was a debacle from ownership all the way down. There is a sense that in the Tigers' case, drastic change is good.
And so we say goodbye to catcher Alex Avila and starting pitcher Alfredo Simon. We bid adieu to pitchers Al Albuquerque, Kyle Lobstein and Randy Wolf. Gone are Joe Nathan and Tom Gorzelanny.
Detroit fans say hello to Jordan Zimmermann, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Francisco Rodriguez, Mike Pelfrey, Mark Lowe and Justin Wilson.
The Tigers in 2016 have a very different look. Change is good after a last place divisional finish in 2015.
Detroit Tigers Catchers for 2015
Detroit Tigers Starting Catcher: James McCann.
Detroit picked McCann in the second round of the 2011 draft. He's a tools player with some speed and a strong arm. The Tigers saw some electric play from the young backstop in 2015; enough to let Alex Avila depart via free agency (White Sox).
Fans will probably forget McCann is only 25 years old when their expectations run high. If, however, McCann can regularly get the bat on the ball and the ball in play, fans will be in for a treat. McCann has a powerful stroke so he has a tendency to swing and miss a lot. 2016 would be a good year for him to mature into a gap hitter who doesn't try to do too much at the plate.
2014 stats: .264, 7 HR, 41 RBI, .387 SLG PCT.
Detroit Tigers Starting Pitchers for 2016
Starting Pitcher: Justin Verlander
Justin Verlander logged over 200 innings over an eight year span during his career. That workload seems to be taking a toll.
Still dominant when healthy.
Starting Pitcher: Jordan Zimmerman
The right-hander, who will turn 30 on May 23, sports a career ERA of 3.32. Detroit's front office is banking that the best years are yet to come for the former National League veteran.
Final 2015 stats: 13-10, 3.66 ERA, 164 strikeouts.
Starting Pitcher: Anibal Sanchez
The right-handed Sanchez is one of the best starting pitchers in baseball when he's healthy. His durability is questionable but his arm seems fine.
Starting Pitcher: Shane Greene
Baseball scouts like Greene's odds of sticking as a middle of the rotation guy in the bigs. He has increasingly impressive command of his fastball.
Final 2014 stats (with the New York Yankees): 5-4, 3.78 ERA, 81 strikeouts.
Starting Pitcher: Buck Farmer
Big right-hander has the pitches (good fastball, good off-speed stuff) to pitch in the Bigs but does he have the make up? Time will tell. The twenty-four year old drafted out of Georgia Tech will have to showcase consistency in focusing on every pitch and keeping the ball down to stay in the majors in future years.
Final 2014 minor league stats: 12-6, 3.07 ERA, 129 strikeouts in 123 innings pitched.
Starting Pitcher: Kyle Ryan
23-year old left-hander will be on a major league roster for good in the not too distant future.
Detroit Tigers Relief Pitchers for 2015
Closer: Joakim Soria (traded to Pittsburgh)
The fiery right-hander came over to the Tigers from the Texas Rangers in July, 2014. Once he arrived, he impressed Detroit's management. He doesn't rely too heavily on his fastball to get hitters out and has silenced any doubters who wondered if he was the answer when former closer Joe Nathan was injured and lost for the 2015 season.
Synopsis: Soria seems awfully comfortable in the Tigers closer role. If he continues to throw the way he has been, he might be the long-term answer the Tigers have been seeking since Jose Valverde imploded in the postseason of 2012.
Final 2014 stats: 2-4, 3.25 ERA, 18 saves in 20 chances, 48 strikeouts.
§ 13 saves through 14 chances in 2015. §
Other Tigers' Relievers:
Joba Chamberlain: A promising rookie season had Yankees fans jumping in their seats when Chamberlain took the mound, but the honeymoon ended after the 2012 season when New York let Detroit sign the hefty right-hander. Chamberlain turns 30 on September 23.
Final 2014 regular season stats: 2-5. 3.57 ERA, 59 strikeouts in 63 innings pitched.
Final 2013 regular season stats: 2-1, 4.93 ERA, 38 strikeouts, 26 base on balls in 42 innings pitched.
Final 2012 regular season stats: 1-0, 4.35 ERA, 22 strikeouts in 20 2/3 innings pitched.
Significant injuries past two seasons: None.
§ Update: 1.38 ERA through sixteen appearances in 2015. §
Angel Nesbitt: Efficient right-hander is making a strong impression in his rookie debut season.
2015 season through eighteen appearances: 3.12 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, .222 opponents batting average against, 13 strikeouts (3 walks) in 17 1/3 innings pitched.
Al Albuquerque: Right-hander went 6-1, with a 1.87 ERA as a rookie in 2011. Spent most of 2012 on the disabled list (recovery from surgery to repair stress fracture in right elbow). Since then, he's been up and down, but last year he was the bright spot on a much-maligned bullpen crew.
Final 2014 regular season stats: 3-1, 2.51 ERA, 63 strikeouts in 57 1/3 innings pitched.
Final 2013 regular season stats: 4-3, 4.59 ERA, 70 strikeouts in 49 innings pitched.
Final 2012 regular season stats: 0-0, 0.68 ERA, 18 strikeouts.
Injuries past two seasons: Right elbow (2012).
§ Update: Off to a rough start in 2015 (1.77 WHIP through sixteen appearances) as he struggles with his pitch command §
Bruce Rondon: A big, hefty, 23-year old right-hander has a fastball that reaches 100 mph. He's raw and sometimes wild, but he has a major league closer talent level. Rondon pitched well in his rookie season but underwent Tommy John surgery and will miss the 2014 season.
Final 2013 regular season stats: 1-2, 3.45 ERA, 30 strikeouts.
Final 2012 regular season stats: Did not play in majors. 0.83 ERA, 12 saves, and 23 strikeouts at double-A Erie.
Tom Gorzelanny: Turns 33 on July 12. Veteran left-hander was converted from starter to reliever a few years ago.The Tigers are his fifth team in eleven seasons.
Ian Krol: 22-year old left-hander made the Tigers out of spring training in 2014. Krol came to the Tigers as part of the package sent to Detroit by the Washington Nationals for Doug Fister. Krol is an unusual case: he didn't play in his senior year of high school but still got drafted (by the Oakland Athletics) in 2009.
Final 2013 regular season MLB stats: 2-1, 3.95 ERA, 22 strikeouts.
Significant injuries in 2013: None.
Luke Putkonen: The 27-year old right-hander was given a chance to get a look at major league hitters in late 2012. He was drafted in 2007 and came up through the Tigers' minor league system. He split time between Triple-A Toledo and the Tigers in 2013. Opposing hitters managed to hit only .185 against the lanky youngster at Toledo.
Final 2013 MLB regular season stats: 1-3, 3.03 ERA, 28 strikeouts.
Final 2012 MLB regular season stats: 0-2, 3.94 ERA, 10 strikeouts.
Significant injuries past two seasons: None.
Nathan is 40 years old and major league hitters have caught up to his fastball. The Tigers are banking that they'll get one more year out of the long-time closer if he gets and stays healthy. If not, they have Soria waiting in the wings.
Final 2014 regular season stats: 5-4, 4.81 ERA, 35 saves in 42 chances, 54 strikeouts.
Final 2013 regular season stats: 6-2, 1.39 ERA, 43 saves in 46 chances, 73 strikeouts.
Final 2012 regular season stats: 3-5, 2.80 ERA, 37 saves in 40 chances, 78 strikeouts.
Significant injuries past two seasons: Right flexor strain, start of season 2015.