Tigers Sign Minor Leaguer Darin Downs
By John Verburg
According to a MLBTraderumors post, the Tigers made their first move of the off-season today when they signed minor league free agent Darin Downs from the Florida Marlin organization. Now, this isn’t an earth shattering move by any means, but it was exactly this kind of move by the Tigers last year that got them Al Alburquerque. Downs is quite a bit different than A.A. though.
Here is some information on Darin Downs that I could find.
Downs is a 26 year old lefty that was drafted by the Cubs in the 5th round of the 2003 MLB draft. Downs has floated around several organizations including; the Cubs, the Rays, and the Marlins. Throughout his minor league career, Downs has a 49-43 record and an ERA of 4.13 in both a starting and a relief role. In 2010, Downs had probably his best season of his career, splitting time between AA and AAA, and finishing with a 2.95 ERA. He worked mostly in relief, but finished with a K rate of 10.4/9 for that season. In fact, overall he has K’d 8.5/9 over his career which is very respectable.
I don’t think the Tigers necessarily signed him to be a starter, but there is some potential for Downs to do either depending on need. It was difficult to find some information on Downs, at least as far as what he throws, but the best I could do at this point is guess that he touches the low 90’s from scouting reports from way back in high school. His K rates suggest he does have a wipe out pitch, and it seems like he has more success in relief, meaning he probably gets a few more mph from his fastball in that role.
But his stats or his baseball prowess isn’t even the most interesting thing about Darin Downs. Its his courage, and his perseverance in coming back from a skull fracture that is interesting. I found this article from 2009 which explains the situation, and needless to say after reading that story, I have to say, I am rooting for the kid to make a major league club at some point.
But it isn’t just the story. A guy with his K/BB rate has to be a little talented. Maybe the Tigers can catch lightning in a bottle again?