The upper minors are packed with starters.

The upper minors are packed with starters.

22.05.2019 08:11

How will the pieces fit at Erie and Toledo?"When we think of a roster crunch in a team’s farm system Jose Ramirez Jersey , usually we’re talking about a very isolated issue revolving around one premium defensive positin. Maybe you have two or three shortstops all in the same stage in their development, and the time comes to move one to second or third base. Or you have multiple catching prospects piling up on each other in the upper minors. Typically, these aren’t difficult to resolve. Less common, is to run into the issue with starting pitchers, particularly across two levels of a farm system. Yet the Tigers’ pitching heavy rebuild now has them in a spot where they have many more starting pitching prospects than there are starts to allocate to them. And several more of the most talented players in the system will be inbound to the Double-A level in 2019. This should make for some interesting decisions facing the Tigers’ front office this spring.Every one of the following young arms was primarily a starter last season at either the Double-A or Triple-A level. Most, the Tigers have already shown an ongoing interest in by keeping them on the 40-man roster. Meanwhile, Sandy Baez, who made 15 starts for the Double-A Erie SeaWolves, has already been converted to a reliever full-time. Some of the following names are likely to follow him into the bullpen as the Tigers carve out the proper workload for their 10 best starting candidates. 2018 Starting PitchersPlayerAgeHighest 2018 levelPlayerAgeHighest 2018 levelMake way for the new breedFew of those 11 pitchers are ready to graduate to the major leagues, at least on a full-time basis. Turnbull, Funkhouser, and Hall are all close, and should pitch for the Detroit Tigers this season in some capacity, but none are likely to seize a starting rotation spot in the majors at this point. Others, like Carpenter and Ladwig, aren’t on the same level and will have to seize whatever opportunities arise. The Tigers presumably won’t give any of them priority in a rotation at any level. A few may even be whittled away before spring camp closes.Top prospects Casey Mize and Franklin Perez seem likely to start the year briefly at Lakeland, but really have nothing to prove at that level. Mize is already considered major league ready by many scouts, while Perez has already had success at the Double-A level. He simply needs to get healthy this offseason and back on track. Both of them should be pitching for the SeaWolves as soon as possible. Meanwhile, Gregory Soto hasn’t exactly “graduated” from the Florida State League, but spinning his wheels there in 2019 doesn’t make much sense. The Tigers may give him a little more time as a starter in Lakeland, especially as he’s been suspended the first 20 games of the season for an as yet unknown offense. Or, perhaps they’ll simply make the move and turn Soto into a reliever.Finally Ronald Acuna Jr. Jersey , we have Grayson Long, who missed most of 2018 for thoracic outlet surgery. He won’t be back on the mound until mid-season, presumably, but Long had a very nice season pitching in Double-A for the Los Angeles Angels back in 2017. He’ll turn 25 in May, and if his health is good, he too may be in the mix for a spot at Erie once he gets some work under his belt. Still, it’s also possible, even likely, that the Tigers simply take it easy with him coming off the surgery, and keep him in Lakeland under the watchful eye of the Tigers development staff.Still that’s 13 or 15 starting pitchers all bound for the top two levels of the system. The Tigers won’t have to sort this out by April 1st. Holding a few guys back in Lakeland will allow time for the situation to sort itself out a bit. Even so, the system is reaching the point where the Tigers are finally going to be forced to make some decisions.The rotationsLet’s take our best crack at filling out both squads’ rotations. This may not be where they start or end up, but expect these assignments to occupy the majority of their seasons.2019 Projected RotationsToledo Mud Hens (AAA)Erie SeaWolves (AA)Toledo Mud Hens (AAA)Erie SeaWolves (AA)That Erie SeaWolves rotation should be absolutely nasty, by the way. These things tend to resolve themselvesOf course, it’s important to remember that some of the crunch will sort itself out on its own. Injuries, trades, success and failure this spring, all these elements may decide matters before the Tigers even need to weigh in with tough decisions. Some of the lesser names mentioned will simply be bounced around to fill gaps in both starting and relief capacities. Still, it’s pretty clear that a few pitchers are really up against it heading into the 2019 campaign. To find room for their top ten starting pitching prospects, the Tigers will have to take a hard look at several of the older prospects who have stalled out to a degree, and decide to either cut them loose, trade them, or move them to the bullpen. It’s also high time the Tigers consider trying to turn some of their depth into major league talent via trade. That could take the form of simply trading prospects for a player Sean Newcomb Jersey , or through a willingness to add a prospect to a trade of a major league piece, such as Nick Castellanos or Matt Boyd, to try and upgrade the return.Obviously, depth like this is a good thing, but now the Tigers have to get more proactive. It does an organization no good to simply hang on to everyone until they’ve proven incapable of growing into a major league regular. The fact remains that few prospects make it in the major leagues. Particularly the slightly below average types with which the Tigers are absolutely loaded. They’ve got to find a way to keep their best prospects, while looking to improve in other areas even if it requires paring away some of that depth. If they play their hand well, the Tigers should be able to retain a very talented core group of young starting pitchers, while at the same time rounding out the organization in other ways. How do you see the rotations shaking out at Toledo and Erie? TORONTO (AP) — Through chattering teeth, Charlie Montoyo talked about how good it felt to win for the first time as a major league manager.After Matt Shoemaker and the Blue Jays beat Detroit 6-0 Friday night, Toronto players marked their new skipper’s milestone victory by bundling him into a laundry basket, dragging him into the showers and dousing him with beer.“He got about 50 or 60 cold ones all at the same time,” winning pitcher Matt Shoemaker said. “It was awesome.”Pitcher Marcus Stroman posted video of the impromptu celebration the to his Twitter account.The frosty bath left Montoyo soaking wet and more than a little chilly in his postgame news conference.“I’m freezing,” Montoyo said as he took his place at the podium.Montoyo spent 18 years as a minor league manager and another four as a big league coach with the Tampa Bay Rays before being hired to replace John Gibbons in Toronto.“Now I can retire, I have a win at every level,” he joked.Matt Shoemaker pitched seven sharp innings and Justin Smoak and Freddy Galvis each drove in two runs, a day after the Blue Jays were blanked in a 10-inning loss.Shoemaker (1-0) allowed two hits, walked two and struck out seven. The right-hander signed a one-year deal with Toronto over the winter after spending his first six seasons with the Angels.“He shut us down,” Detroit manager Ron Gardenhire said.Tigers catcher John Hicks said Shoemaker had three pitches working.“He had good action with his fastball, his slider was really good, and the split, too,” Hicks said.Combined with Stroman’s seven scoreless innings Thursday Preston Tucker Jersey , Shoemaker gave the Blue Jays a team record for consecutive shutout innings by starting pitchers to open the season. Toronto’s previous best was eight innings, set by Jack Morris in 1992.Javy Guerra finished with two perfect innings for Toronto.Matt Boyd (0-1) struck out 10 in five innings.After establishing a team record for futility with a 13-inning scoreless drought to begin the season, the Blue Jays broke through with a four-run fourth. Teoscar Hernandez broke the skid with an RBI single, and Billy McKinney scored from first when center fielder Mikie Mahtook bobbled a bases-loaded single by Galvis.Mahtook also failed to corral Brandon Drury’s leadoff triple in the first inning, although Boyd struck out the next three batters. Those were the first in a stretch that saw Boyd fan seven of nine.Gardenhire said miscommunication was to blame for Detroit’s defensive miscues.“We had that a couple of times,” he said.Smoak made it 6-0 with a two-out, two-run single off Blaine Hardy in the seventh.Detroit’s Nicholas Castellanos was left stranded after a one-out double in the fourth, then got caught in a rundown after reaching on a one-out triple in the sixth.“He kind of hesitated and when he did that, now you’ve got a mess,” Gardenhire said.Castellanos was the only Tigers player to get a hit.“Four hits in two games, that’s not going to score you a lot of runs,” Gardenhire said. “We’ll get there.”ZEROESToronto’s three shutouts in 2018 were the second fewest in the majors. Only Detroit (two) had fewer. The Tigers were blanked an MLB-leading 18 times last year.ALWAYS SPECIALShoemaker, who was born and raised in suburban Detroit, said he always enjoys facing his boyhood team.“I grew up a Tigers fan” he said. “Cecil Fielder was my guy growing up. It’s a little different excitement pitching against your hometown team.”I KNOW YOUA former Blue Jays prospect, Boyd joined to the Tigers in the deal that sent left-hander David Price to Toronto in July 2015.TRAINER’S ROOMTigers: Minor league RHP Franklin Perez, one of Detroit’s top pitching prospects, is expected to miss four to six weeks because of tendinitis in his right shoulder. Perez missed much of 2018 because of shoulder and back injuries. He was acquired from Houston in 2017 as part of the package for Justin Verlander.Blue Jays: Montoyo said Toronto’s starters will likely be limited to between 80 and 100 pitches per outing through the end of April.UP NEXTTigers: RHP Spencer Turnbull was 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in five spring training games, including two starts.Blue Jays: RHP Aaron Sanchez has a 1.50 ERA in seven career games against Detroit, four of them starts.

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