So far the Tigers spring season is off to a pretty good start, even considering the last 2 losses. Specifically the pitchers seem to have picked up right where they left off (minus the fielding errors) in 2007. Sure, the 5.37 ERA might not look impressive on the surface, but if you look at who’s been roughed up it hasn’t been the guys the Tigers will be counting on this season.
I divided the pitchers into 3 groups. The first group is those pitchers who project to be on the 25 man roster. They include Jeremy Bonderman, Kenny Rogers, Nate Robertson, Justin Verlander, Mike Maroth, Wil Ledezma, Fernando Rodney, Todd Jones, Joel Zumaya, Jason Grilli, Jose Mesa, and Edward Campusano (his inclusion here can be debated but I think he’ll be given every opportunity to stick).
The 40 group includes those pitchers on the 40 man roster who don’t figure to break camp with the club. These are guys we care about somewhat because they are either prospects or guys that the team may rely on to provide depth. They include Jordan Tata, Eulogio De La Cruz, Andrew Miller, Kyle Sleeth, Chad Durbin, Yorman Bazardo, Jair Jurrjens, Virgil Vasquez, and Zach Miner.
The last group are the non-roster invitees. The guys who will be filling out the Toledo roster and may be competing for the spot I currently have Campusano penciled in for.
If you look at the performance by group, it’s pretty easy to see that the NRI guys have really done the bulk of the damage.
Meanwhile, the core guys from the 25 man roster have been pretty outstanding with the only blemish being a sub-par strike out rate. Even that is partially mitigated by some pretty good control. And keeping in mind that Jason Grilli surrendered 7 of those earned runs in one appearance, the rotation and key bullpen members have fared remarkably well. Granted, it’s one week of games, and the pitchers should be ahead of the hitters, but I’d just assume see positive results than have to downplay negative ones.
While you shouldn’t draw conclusions about 12 innings stretched across a half dozen guys, the performance of the non-roster invitees may be indicative of the Tigers recent success. The past few years Dave Dombrowski has been able to attract a decent crop of guys looking to land that big league job. With a thin big league club, Detroit was an attractive destination for players in this situation. But with a pitching staff that is basically intact and considerable depth in the minors, the Tigers might not have had their first choices in available arms. Thankfully, we don’t have to be too concerned with the results.