Friday, March 15, 2013

MAKING THE PITCH: Detroit Tigers

Tiger Management, along with Manager Jim Leyland,
have a tough choice to make for that #5 spot in the rotation.
(photo courtesy of Mike McCann's Field of Fotos)

Felipe M

We take a look at the projected starting rotations and closer situations of every MLB team.  Of course, this will come from a fantasy perspective.  All cited stats are based on 2013 projections.  


The Detroit Tigers will now be looked at.

PROBABLE STARTING ROTATION
  1. Justin Verlander
    • Good: It's JUSTIN VERLANDER!
    • Bad: His WHIP (1.07) is only slightly better than Jered Weaver and Zack Greinke.  
  2. Doug Fister
    • Good: 3.63 K/BB is three-tenth's worse than Verlander's.  
    • Bad: 9.21 H/9 raises expected WHIP to 1.23.
  3. Max Scherzer
    • Good: 3.51 K/BB: do you sense a pattern with this pitching staff yet? 9.46 K/9 would lead the team in that category.  
    • Bad: 8.31 H/9 increases WHIP to 1.22.  
  4. Anibal Sanchez
    • Good: 3.12 K/BB is fueled by a  7.97 K/9.  
    • Bad: H/9 of 8.78 raises WHIP to 1.26. 

CLOSER

  1. Bruce Rondon
    • Good: #3 Prospect in Tigers' organization.  9.96 K/9 along with 6.75 H/9 gives him a chance to be dominant.  Jim Leyland, in an interview today, explained that he's been impressed with the pitcher's progress.  The praise from Leyland came after he pitched a perfect 9th inning against the New York Mets of yesterday's game.  
    • Bad: He's a young, raw pitcher and it's not surprising that he's projected to struggle with walks (BB/9 of 4.98), raising his WHIP to 1.30.  He's also might be susceptible to the long ball (HR/9 1.29).  The Tigers also seem to be really interested in acquiring Carlos Marmol from the Chicago Cubs.  
FANTASY ADVICE

The #5 slot is up for grabs between Rick Porcello and Drew Smyly.  Suddenly, Porcello has found a way to boost his strikeout totals.  He's seen an increase in the last few seasons or so and last I checked, he was striking out one batter per inning during this spring.  However, FanGraphs did an interesting feature on his strikeout totals in the spring, citing that the level of talent he's faced is pretty much a joke (how hard is it to strikeout Dan Uggla, anyway?).  

On the other hand, Smyly seems to have no problems striking out hitters (K/9 of 7.78 compared to Porcello's 5.35) and even though he might give up more walks, both pitchers are expected to finish the year with similar WHIP (1.30).  It's a pretty close match this spring, but it looks like the Tigers' best bet is to send down Smyly to the Minors; unless, of course, they can trade Porcello (to the Cubs for Marmol?).  

As much as Rondon's upside seems to be legit, personally, I would stay clear from the young fireballer.  The walks are a concern.  I also would prefer Smyly over Porcello, but even Porcello might be worth a flier.  If his spring numbers are close to being the real deal, Porcello's stock will easily sky-rocket.  

As far as the other Tigers' starters go: any one of those pitchers will help out your fantasy team in a big way this season.  Verlander is the benchmark that all, wanna-be elite pitchers should try to reach.  Fister, Scherzer, and Sanchez will fit nicely in the middle of your rotation.  They are conventional, top-notch, 2nd-tier starting pitchers.  

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