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Detroit Tigers Pitchers and Catchers 2016

Updated on April 11, 2016
Detroit Tigers starting pitcher, Justin Verlander.
Detroit Tigers starting pitcher, Justin Verlander. | Source

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 starting catcher, James McCann.
Detroit Tigers starting catcher, James McCann. | Source

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.

Backup Catcher:

Jarrod Saltalmacchia

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.

Re-signing starter Anibal Sanchez to a five-year deal was the highlight of GM Dave Dombrowski's 2013 offseason moves.
Re-signing starter Anibal Sanchez to a five-year deal was the highlight of GM Dave Dombrowski's 2013 offseason moves. | Source

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.


Joe Nathan

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.


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    • Jason Marovich profile imageAUTHOR

      Jason F Marovich 

      5 years ago from Detroit

      It's nice to see the Detroit - Cleveland rivalry heating up. The Indians are relying on several key players to produce at the top of their levels while Detroit is just hoping injuries don't derail their star lineup. It should be an exciting late summer for both the Indians and Tigers. Thanks for stopping by, F Slovenec.

    • FSlovenec profile image

      Frank Slovenec 

      5 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      Just like the Giants Bruce Boche, Tito Francona was able to manage through the Detroit pitchers. I like the Detroit team although I am a die hard Cleveland Fan living 4 blocks from Giants Stadium in San Francisco. I think this is going to be a spectacular year in baseball. Detroit is still the premier team in the AL so the central should be a good race with KC and Cleveland capable..Love the game!!!

    • jschlehuber profile image

      Jared Schlehuber 

      6 years ago from In the batter's box

      I played with him at oral Roberts. He had a down year offensively in 2011, but rebounded to hit around .300 in 2012. You nailed it on the head. If he can make consistent good contact he will rise fast.

    • Jason Marovich profile imageAUTHOR

      Jason F Marovich 

      6 years ago from Detroit

      Pickar definitely has an interesting combination of defensive ability and size. If the Tigers farm system is able to teach him to make contact consistently, he could develop into a extra base hitter in Comerica's spacious confines. I'll give the Tigers scouting staff the benefit of the doubt where it comes to Pickar's .195 average at Oral Roberts in 2011. They likely see some potential at the plate to go along with his fine defensive ability. I appreciate your reading and commenting, jschlehuber.

    • jschlehuber profile image

      Jared Schlehuber 

      6 years ago from In the batter's box

      Expect to hear the name Bennett Pickar in the near future at catcher. May not hit like Avila or Martinez but may be one of the best defensive catchers in all of professional baseball

    • Jason Marovich profile imageAUTHOR

      Jason F Marovich 

      6 years ago from Detroit

      Thanks, again, Bobbie. The Tigers have had a challenging year, roster-wise, that's for sure. I don't expect their bad luck with injuries and slumps to last into late summer.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      My heart is still 1st for the New York Yankees but, I hope that the Tigers make it to the World Series/good luck Verlander. An Excellent Article.

      Best Wishes,


    • Jason Marovich profile imageAUTHOR

      Jason F Marovich 

      6 years ago from Detroit

      Thanks, Jean Goetz.

    • Jason Marovich profile imageAUTHOR

      Jason F Marovich 

      6 years ago from Detroit

      @TeeDee - I see one thing right off that I like about Casali. He gets on base a lot. If he keeps that up, you might be right that Leyland will find a spot for him on the roster in three years. Thanks for stopping by.

    • profile image

      Tee Dee 

      6 years ago

      Curt Casali will be starting in Comerica in 3 years.

    • profile image

      Jean Goetz 

      6 years ago

      Thanks for a great informative and interesting article. I love Tiger Baseball!

    • profile image

      Linda J. Ream 

      6 years ago

      Great Job Justin Verlander, Enjoy THE TIGERS, THANK YOU TIGERS.

    • Jason Marovich profile imageAUTHOR

      Jason F Marovich 

      6 years ago from Detroit

      If Avila starts off hot, then I think you're right, Jim Leyland will have to find a place in the lineup for his bat, even when he needs a rest from catching. Thanks for reading and commenting, BBellville.

    • BBellville profile image


      6 years ago from Marietta,OH

      Alex Avila is for sure going to be the top catcher in fantasy league this year, but as always you have to wonder if he can hold up playing so many games at catcher. I'm sure they will slide him into the DH as often as possible, or should try to at least to keep his bat in the lineup all year.

    • adjkp25 profile image


      6 years ago from Northern California

      Verlander is a stud and I'm surprised the hitters in the AL haven't started a petition to ban him from pitching against them since he makes them look so bad. The whole Detroit staff is arguably the best in baseball.

      Martinez will be missed but Fielder's bat will offset the offensive loss. Hopefully Martinez will still be a veteran presence in the dugout even though he cannot contribute on the field.

      Barring any setbacks they should make it to the ALCS at a minimum in 2012.

    • Jason Marovich profile imageAUTHOR

      Jason F Marovich 

      7 years ago from Detroit

      Bobbie: People, like me, love to read nostalgic stories about baseball, especially about the Yankees! I get a thrill out of sharing my stories online, I hope you will, too. Welcome to HubPages!

    • profile image

      Bobbie Alsieux 

      7 years ago

      Dear Jason, you are a very famous & great player & I respect your loyalty to your home team. I was glad to hear that you are also a Yankee Fan. My older brother, Mark, caught, when he was a young boy Micky Mantle's Baseball but, he didn't listen to me when I said let's not play baseball with it & he hit a home run - someone stole the ball! Well, I at least I played baseball with Mickey Mantle's Ball for 1 game;I was about 7 at the time & it was so exciting!.

    • Jason Marovich profile imageAUTHOR

      Jason F Marovich 

      7 years ago from Detroit

      I've been a long time Yankee fan, too. The Tigers are my hometown team, though, so maybe it's best if the Yankees do struggle a little, for now! Thanks for reading and commenting, Bobbie729Alsieux.

    • Bobbie729Alsieux profile image


      7 years ago from West Orange, New Jersey

      I am a Yankee Fan but, I enjoyed this article;excellent enthusiasm.


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