It was reported by Tom Reisenweber of the Erie Times-News that Drew VerHagen will be starting the second game of the Tigers’ doubleheader against the Cleveland Indians this Saturday, marking the beginning of his major league career. Called up with the intent to not upset the flow of the starting rotation, VerHagen is the surprise choice of the Tigers to pitch this weekend. The Tigers have not officially confirmed the move.
And even though VerHagen will only be called up to pitch the one game only to be sent down afterwards, it still seems fitting to get to know the newest member of the Detroit Tigers. So who exactly is Drew VerHagen?
The 23 year old Texas native attended Vanderbilt University and was then drafted by the Tigers in the 4th round (154th overall) of the 2012 MLB draft.
Feb 23, 2014; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Drew VerHagen (75) poses for a photo picture for at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Fast forward to present day, Verhagen is pitching for the Toledo Mud Hens (AAA), sporting a 6-7 record and a 3.67 ERA through nineteen games played. The 6’6, 230 lb. righty has logged 110.1 innings this season, walking 25 and striking out 63 batters. VerHagen is primarily a ground-ball out pitcher and isn’t by any means dominant but he’s only 23 years old; there’s still time to improve and develop. To criticize him because of his pitching repertoire would be unfair of me at this point in time.
VerHagen is what you could call a “green” pitcher, meaning that he is yet to develop some of his pitches, as well as his overall arsenal.
According to Bless You Boys, VerHagen’s “fastball is easily his best pitch, as he works in the 92-94 range consistently as a starter, and has shown that he can ramp it up all the way to 96-97 in shorts bursts” but “his breaking ball is currently a well below-average pitch, as he struggles to get tight spin on it, leaving it hanging far too often.”
To break it down, VerHagen doesn’t really have that many pitches to throw. It’s also worth thinking about that VerHagen will be facing a decently potent lineup, composed of the likes of Michael Brantley, Jason Kipnis, and Nick Swisher. But there’s still time to further the development of this young man’s arm. Obviously the Tigers see something in him if their giving him the start over some of their higher tier prospects, including Robbie Ray, whom has already made three ML starts.
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It’s really not that big of a deal as it’s only one start; it’s expected he’ll be added to the roster only to be sent back down to Toledo, which is allowed as a 26 man roster is implemented during doubleheaders. It’d be very shocking if the team kept him around for right now, but expect to see VerHagen in the future. As the Tiger’s 12th best prospect heading into this season, it’s quite possible Drew will return at some point. But it’s always exciting when somebody new joins a team and it was the perfect opportunity to familiarize yourself with the man whom will be taking the hill this Saturday at Comerica Park.
Welcome, Drew VerHagen and best of luck…