With the pickup of Kyle Lobstein in the Rule 5 draft, and the rumor that the Tigers were looking for a left handed reliever in a potential Seattle/Detroit trade for Brennan Boesch, it seems clear the Tigers are intent on adding to the competition for the second lefty reliever spot in their bullpen.
Today, news came across that there has been a new name added to the list of lefties out there. The Yankees reportedly have designated Josh Spence for assignment, making room for the newly acquired Kevin Youkilis.
May 11, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; San Diego Padres pitcher Josh Spence (44) delivers to the plate during the eighth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies defeated the Padres 7-3. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Spence was drafted by the Padres in the 9th round of the 2010 draft, and wasted no time getting to the big leagues. He appeared in 40 games with the Padres in 2011, and again appeared in 11 games for the Padres last season. At just 25 years old, Spence is a guy that may be worth adding to the mix for the Tigers.
His stuff isn’t anything to write home about, and lives off of his slider and change up, considering his fastball doesn’t even really get up to the high 80’s all that often. Basically, Spence is like Adam Wilk with a better strikeout rate and a little bit less command. Still, he has shown that in stints, he can be effective in the major leagues. Lefties over Spence’s career thus far are batting a futile .158 against him with an OPS of .484. Overall, Spence has a career ERA of 3.15 and has struck out 41 batters in 40 innings. He has walked 24 batters, but beyond that he has proved difficult to hit.
Given that the Tigers are going into spring training with guys like Lobstein, Duane Below and Darin Downs as competition for the 2nd lefty spot, Spence could be an interesting pitcher to add to that mix.