Detroit Tigers 2014 Grades: Kyle Lobstein

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RP. Detroit Tigers. KYLE LOBSTEIN. B.

Earlier we issued a grade of incomplete for Joakim Soria. This is because we never got an accurate gauge of the player’s abilities as we remember from his days as a Kansas City Royal. So why did we issue a grade to Kyle Lobstein despite only seven appearances on the Detroit Tigers? Simple, we never knew what to expect from the rookie and while he didn’t post great numbers, he stepped up when the team needed him to, thus we award Lobstein a solid grade of “B.”

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When Anibal Sanchez went down with an injury in the middle of August, the Tigers scrambled to find someone for the stretch run that could fill in. Robbie Ray was the spot starter earlier in the season, but since May he had struggled not only in Detroit but also at AAA-Toledo.

Lobstein was called up and made his major league debut in Minnesota in the first game of a doubleheader on Aug. 23. In that game the Tigers turned to another rookie, Buck Farmer, to hold down the potent Minnesota bats and try to preserve the bullpen for the second game. Farmer failed, allowing seven runs and lasting only into the second inning. Lobstein was the unsung hero in the lost cause. After Pat McCoy pitched an inning (allowing two more runs), Lobstein stepped onto a major league mound for the first time.

While he allowed three runs on four hits, Detroit just needed him to chew some innings. That he did, pitching the final 5.2 innings in the 12-4 decimation.

That outing earned Lobstein a start over Ray and Farmer the next turn through the rotation. Kyle gave the team innings and held them in the game with the Yankees on Aug. 28, allowing his team to win it with a ninth inning walk-off.

Another solid effort came while the Tigers were looking to avoid a home sweep at the hands of the San Francisco Giants. On Sunday Night Baseball, Lobstein limited the future National League champs to one run on four hits and earned his first major league win.

In each of his first four starts, Lobstein allowed three runs or less, but seemed to bottom out near the end of the year, including the penultimate game of the year. With the division on the line, Kyle fell victim to the Twins’ hot hitting and surrendered a career-high six runs, necessitating the Tigers win the division on the season’s final day.

With the strong likelihood of a Max Scherzer departure, Lobstein figures to be in the mix for the fifth starter in 2015 should the Tigers not sign anyone in free agency for that spot. While the Tigers may hope Ray wins that spot, results on the field this year would seem to favor Lobstein.

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