The Detroit Tigers have announced their pitching schedule for their first few spring training games.
The Detroit Tigers will open their exhibition season on Monday, February 29 with their traditional game against Florida Southern College (NCAA Division II).
Jason Beck passed along the team’s starting pitching schedule for the game on Twitter.
None of these pitchers appear to be in major contention for a big league job in 2016, but several are interesting names to keep an eye on for the future.
Montreal Robertson is perhaps the most legitimate candidate to win a job in the bullpen, but he only made it to AA last season for 31 innings and has had command and control issues in his minor league career. He has a big arm, but he has a lot to prove.
Kevin Ziomek is a legitimate starting pitching prospect (he has a 2.96 ERA in 285 minor league innings), but he’s yet to pitch above A-ball and should be expected to receive a AA assignment in 2016.
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Joe Jimenez is another interesting name as a possible relief candidate. The 21-year old has power stuff and dominated as the closer for low-A West Michigan in 2015 (1.47 ERA with a 12.8 K/9 rate), but the organization would (rightly) like to see him succeed at higher levels before thrusting him into the majors.
Jairo Labourt is a power starter who was part of the return package for David Price. Still a project at this point, Labourt spent 2015 in high-A racking up the strikeout (and walk) totals. Of the scheduled pitchers for this game, Labourt is the only one currently on the 40-man roster.
The Tigers will open Grapefruit League play the following day against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Again, Beck has the scheduled pitchers for the game.
With the start of Grapefruit League play we see more legitimate pitching options for the Tigers. Matt Boyd is ostensibly batting with Daniel Norris for a starting pitching spot, but more likely he’ll either win a job in the big league bullpen or work in AAA as starting pitching depth.
Michael Fulmer is the Detroit Tigers’ best starting pitching prospect. He’s probably going to be assigned to AAA (the Tigers see him as a starter long-term), but he could conceivably win a bullpen job out of spring training. That’s a long-shot scenario, however.
Angel Nesbitt and Kyle Ryan both pitched in the big leagues last year, but realistically both are probably headed back to Toledo to start 2016. Ryan as starting pitching depth, and Nesbitt in relief.
Beck also passes along when the big-name starters will be making their first appearances of the spring.