By RanterX on February 24, 2013
When it comes to the Detroit Tigers, the issue of pitching is an interesting topic. Last year, the Tigers had a star-studded starting rotation, but a less-than-stellar bullpen. Heading into 2015, it looks like the starting staff may not be quite as good, but the bullpen could get a boost with newcomer Alex Wilson and the potential returns of Bruce Rondon and Joel Hanrahan. Without further ado, here are the Tigers' top five pitching prospects.
In 2014, relief pitching prospect Angel Nesbitt opened quite a few eyes, going a combined 3-0 with a 1.48 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 72 strikeouts in 66.2 innings pitched while splitting time between Class-A Advanced Lakeland and Double-A Erie. He also racked up a total of 20 saves. The Tigers recently added him to their 40-man roster, so don't be surprised to see him before too long given their well-documented bullpen issues.
Although Buck Farmer had a forgettable four games with the Tigers in 2014, he had an excellent season in the minor leagues. The 23-year-old Farmer went a combined 12-6 with a 3.07 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP during his time with the Class-A West Michigan Whitecaps, Double-A Erie SeaWolves and Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens. He rose through the Tigers' farm system very quickly in just one year, so don't be surprised to see him keep moving up.
Drew VerHagen made one spot start for the Tigers in 2014, receiving a loss after throwing a decent five innings. Despite missing a good portion of time with a back injury, VerHagen went a very respectable 6-7 with a 3.67 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP in Triple-A in 2014. If he can be at full strength by Spring Training, he might be one of the Tigers' big league-ready pitching prospects.
Just one year after being drafted by the Tigers, Austin Kubitza put together a phenomenal campaign for the Class-A West Michigan Whitecaps, going 10-2 with a 2.34 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. While many Tigers fans were disappointed when the team traded Jonathon Crawford, who was Kubitza's teammate last year, the organization still has quite a few good arms down on the farm and Kubitza appears to be one of the best.
Like his teammate Kubitza, southpaw Kevin Ziomek put together a tremendous campaign in Single-A just one year after being drafted by Detroit, going 10-6 with a 2.27 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP. He also fanned 152 batters in just 123 innings pitched. It appears that the 22-year-old lefty's future with the Tigers may be just as bright as anyone's.
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