Projecting The Erie Rotation


As things move along in the spring, things seem to get a little bit clearer. While it doesn’t mean they have to stay where they are optioned, Tigers will be sending players to minor league camps over the next week or so. For instance, we do know that Avisail Garcia was optioned to Erie, which I essentially projected when I didn’t put him on the Lakeland roster. It was one of the questions I had, however, I felt with how aggressive Tigers are with their top prospects, I figured they would push Garcia.

Anyway, I am not talking position guys today. I am taking a look at what we could potentially see in Erie to start the season in the rotation. Here we go.

#1 Jay Voss

Voss is a lefty starter the Tigers get in return for NatE. Robertson. Originally a reliever, Voss has made a smooth transition to starter in the Tigers organization, and has gone from also-ran to legitimate prospect. While he doesn’t flash outstanding stuff, he has a solid repertoire, and could be the anchor of this rotation. I’m actually a little surprised with the open competition the Tigers have had this spring that Voss hasn’t gotten a little more of a spring training look. Voss posted an ERA of 3.67 in 19 starts with the Seawolves last year.

#2 Drew Smyly

This of course is assuming that Smyly doesn’t make the big club coming out of spring. It doesn’t look like that will be the case, as Andy Oliver and Duane Below appear to have the lead in that respect, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he landed in Toledo, though there is a logjam there. I don’t think that is necessary with Smyly, especially considering that he only had 7 AA starts last year. He performed well, and he might not be here for long.

#3 Trevor Feeney

Feeney is a good organizational soldier with back of the rotation stuff at best. I would label him a calming influence on the rest of the staff, because he has always been solid since being drafted by Detroit. I’m not trying to be mean here, because there is something to be said for guys like Feeney, but there isn’t much to get excited about in his case. Should keep his team in games though.

#4 Mark Sorensen

I could probably just copy down what I wrote about Feeney here and put Sorenson’s name in place. In fact, that is what I almost did. Sorenson seems like an Eddie Bonine guy to me that hasn’t had the good results yet. He isn’t a bad pitcher by any stretch, just won’t make a big impact in the majors any time soon.

#5 L.J Gagnier or Brooks Brown

Really there is a trifecta of guys in play here. The Tigers optioned Casey Crosby to Toledo this week, and while that doesn’t mean he is going to stay there for sure, usually it does. So the third guy in this equation is Thad Weber. Weber spent last season in Toledo, and my assumption is that he will again. Weber, Brown, and Gagnier are pretty interchangeable, but there is going to be one guy likely left in the cold, and possibly being released all together. There is a logjam developing regardless, and the trickle down effects will occur depending on what the major league club does.

If I had to guess, and that is what I am doing anyway, I think it’s Brown that starts in Erie, and Gagnier and Weber potentially start in Toledo.

This is probably the least inspiring group of pitchers that I have looked at so far, but Voss, and of course Smyly, could make the trips to the park in Erie fun for prospect watchers.