What these ageless arms mean for Detroit

Originally published in The Tigers Den Blog | 26 January 2011


Having worked an arrestable amount this weekend I wasn’t able to attend Tigerfest at Comerica this Saturday, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t listen to any of it thanks to the local radio, 971 The Ticket and Pat Caputo, one of my favorite voices in Michigan. There were a lot of good things going on at the annual Tigers Homer Party, but none of which hit me harder than GM Dave Dombrowski talking about his young arms and the quality of his draft talent…

Listen, most of the time all this hype about the season just rolls off my back. I’m not big on promotions or getting all amped up because of festivals and stuff like that. Nor do I really care to meet many players. Sure, it’s nice to get an auto from Cabrera or Verlander, or talk to Phil Coke, but I’m not in awe of them, and no one else should be either (look up to your elders in your family, and if they’re crazy then you might be out of luck). The point I’m getting to, and I am getting to one, is that I simply look forward to the season without any of this drama. I am a serious Tigers fan and I don’t hold to much hype other than the hype I create for myself. I read Bless You Boys, TigsTown, Beck’s Blog on a daily basis (or rather, every time they post) along with a bunch of other Tigers blogs which you can find on my blogroll below, so I don’t need a Tigerfest or anything like that to get me pumped.

But when Dombrowski began talking about how these young Tiger arms are looking more and more like they will be seeing the mound at Comerica in the near future, and he specifically talked about Andrew Oliver, Jacob Turner, and Charles Furbush, I got excited, actually excited. It’s been a long time since 2003, but not long enough to forget that all that homedrafted talent (Nate Cornejo, Adam Bernero) and the disastrous season that took place.

So, to go through the Minor League system and see some of this talent cropping up, from Justin Verlander, Joel Zumaya, to Rick Porcello, and now that we’ve seen a bit of Oliver and heard so much about Turner, that’s it’s awesome to be able to keep going down the list of pitchers and continue to pick out names

For the sake of this column, let’s toss the top prospects and rankings out the window and look at realistic opportunities that players are given and what that means to their major league hopes. The Tigers are becoming extremely proactive when it comes to promoting young talent. Rick Porcello is the champion example. Jason Beck just wrote that they aren’t afraid to promote him this year. Sure, that may be a marketing ploy, but it’s a smart one. How many teams may soon be able to promote that 80% of their starting rotation is homegrown? Not many teams that are in playoff contention every single year, that’s for sure.

And that’s exactly what makes the Tigers so intriguing this year and next. The fact that they have such young arms, but are filled with enough veteran talent that a playoff run is expected.

For now, let’s leave with a few names and numbers:

Brayan Villarreal | 18-23yrs | RHP | 5 yrs | 13W – 21L | 3.50 ERA | 77G 53GS | 9.0 SO/9IP | 1.17 WHIP | 2.95 SO/BB |

Adam Wilk | 22-23yrs | LHP | 2 yrs | 15W – 6L | 2.35 ERA | 41G 41GS | 6.8 SO/9IP | 0.967 WHIP | 5.84 SO/BB |

Casey Crosby | 19-22yrs | LHP | 3 yrs | 10W – 5L | 2.96 ERA | 30G 30GS | 9.5 SO/9IP | 1.23 WHIP | 2.35 SO/BB |

Jacob Turner | 19 | RHP | 1 yr | 6W – 5L | 3.28 ERA | 24G 23GS | 8.0 SO/9IP | 1.11 WHIP | 4.43 SO/BB |

Charles Furbush | 21-24yrs | LHP | 3 yrs | 20W – 17L | 3.80 ERA | 63G 60GS | 9.4 SO/9IP | 1.22 WHIP | 4.01 SO/BB |

Andrew Oliver | 23 | LHP | 1 yr | 9W – 8L | 3.45 ERA | 23G 23GS | 8.2 SO/9IP | 1.28 WHIP | 2.38 SO/BB |

For comparisons sake the minor league stats of:

Justin Verlander | 22 | RHP | 1 yr | 11W – 2L | 1.29 ERA | 20G 20GS | 10.3 SO/9IP | 0.902 WHIP | 5.23 SO/BB |

Joel Zumaya | 17-24yrs | 7 yrs | 27W – 21L | 3.30 ERA | 92G 79GS | 11.0 SO/9IP | 1.20 WHIP | 2.59 SO/BB |

Rick Porcello | 19-21yrs | 2 yrs | 9W – 8L | 2.76 ERA | 28G 28GS | 5.4 SO/9IP | 1.19 WHIP | 2.12 SO/BB |

Jeez Verlander. Impress much?

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