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MLB Detroit Tigers

Early Grades for Detroit Tigers’ Starting Rotation and Bullpen

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Early Grades for Detroit Tigers' Starting Rotation and Bullpen

Detroit Tigers
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The Tigers have one of the strongest one-two punches in all of baseball in their rotation. Overall, the rotation has fared pretty well this year while the bullpen has struggled. Here are the grades for the rotation and the bullpen.

Justin Verlander - B+

Justin Verlander
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Justin Verlander - B+

Justin Verlander
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Record: 2-1
2.28 ERA
1.346 WHIP
20:10 K:BB

Verlander hasn't been dominant this season, but he's still been near the top of his game. He's gotten out of a lot of jams, so he will have to keep himself out of those in the future to keep his ERA down. It appears he's on track to be one of the best pitchers in the AL once again.

Max Scherzer - B+

Max Scherzer
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Max Scherzer - B+

Max Scherzer
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Record: 0-1
2.70 ERA
1.050 WHIP
25:5 K:BB

Scherzer is playing to earn a gigantic contract this offseason. He's missing opposing bats at an high rate, already striking out 25 batters on the season, and could still garner that mega-deal if he stays consistent this year.

Anibal Sanchez - B

Anibal Sanchez
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Anibal Sanchez - B

Anibal Sanchez
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Record: 0-1
3.21 ERA
1.286 WHIP
17:8 K:BB

Sanchez is a very solid No. 3 starter, especially in Detroit where he has two All-Stars pitching in front of him. He's getting the job done this season without being too flashy. Since they have Verlander and Scherzer at the top, as long as Sanchez keeps eating up innings and being efficient, the Tigers will be more than happy.

Rick Porcello - B-

Rick Porcello
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Rick Porcello - B-

Rick Porcello
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Record: 1-1
4.15 ERA
1.154 WHIP
8:2 K:BB

Porcello has been right on the cusp of his full potential for a while now, and 2014 is when the Tigers need him to reach it. He's still not quite there right now, but he hasn't pitched poorly and will try to be more effective so he can be a bigger piece of the Tigers' rotation going forward.

Drew Smyly - A-

Drew Smyly
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Drew Smyly - A-

Drew Smyly
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Record: 1-0
1.55 ERA
0.500 WHIP
6:1 K:BB

Smyly has been a very pleasant surprise for the Tigers in the early going this season. He's actually been the club's best pitcher so far and has simply not allowed runners to reach base with him on mound. It would be a big boost to the Tigers' high hopes this season if Smyly could continue to produce at such a high rate.

Bullpen - C+

Joe Nathan
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Bullpen - C+

Joe Nathan
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When they brought Joe Nathan in to be the closer, the Tigers thought they had a solution to the back end of the bullpen in 2014. Nathan has been brutal this season, going just 2-for-4 in save opportunities. Most of the rest of the bullpen has been similarly ineffective and they will need to correct that going forward if they hope to make a deep playoff run this season.