Spring pitching to care about

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.

8 thoughts on “Spring pitching to care about”

  1. Thanks for the breakdown, Bilfer. Put me in the camp of those who say these numbers don’t mean a thing, though. One week, very early.

  2. I am not worried about it but I think you are on to something. Also remember they have basically scoured the NRI’s for a left handed reliever.

    BTW Jair Jurrjens hasn’t been added to the 40 man yet. He will be next season.

  3. Hey Billfer, love the website and its nice to see WXYZ giving you some props on thier site. I have a question though. Is there anyway you could give us all an update on those pitchers competing for the last bull pen spot. It would be nice to see where they stand on a week to week bases.

  4. Brian – nice catch on Jurrjens. My bad. But I think I’ll leave him where he’s at in the groupings. In terms of relevancy and interest I put him much more with the “prospects I’m interested in” camp.

    Nick – I’ll catch up with that topic in a week or so. In terms of individual performances I don’t think any one pitcher could have pitched themselves on or off the squad at this point.

    One other note, to be fair the rotation guys do probably get some benefit from pitching earlier in the game when more starters are playing defense.

  5. Bilfer, good insight and nice update. However the flip side to your rebuttel is that the starters are pitching to, by and large, major league regulars (see the Yankee game), so having “starting fielding” is a wash at best. To that end I think Clevlen is already a much better fielder than Ordonez. Further, so far the main starters are suffering by having the most unearned runs of the three groups with the “regulars” behind them.

    On another note, while it is early, we are beginning to see some interesting things develop. I am talking sperm meeting the egg early, but Durbin has looked great, and Grilli only so-so. Also, I think, I read something about Grilli and the Tigers did not see eye to eye on a contract. While, this in itself won’t get Grilli in bad with the organization, it certainly won’t help. I will be curious to see what develops if Durbin keeps looking as good as he has. Could he overtake Grilli? This situation reminds me of…. well… Grilli making the team last year.

  6. You know what, I honestly didn’t read the post. I just saw spring and pitching and have been waiting to say this for a while.



    Cut him, cut him, cut him. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. He is not the left handed releiver we are looking for.

    This guy has blown leads written across his forehead.

  7. I was at the Tigers/Yankees game on Sunday, and Heredia was throwing beach balls – he was clearly freaked out by Phelps’ single, and just could not get it together. I couldn’t believe it, nor could the approximately 12 Yankees fans remaining in the stadium at the time of Sardinha’s homerun.

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