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Detroit Tigers Player Profile: Kyle Ryan

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Feb 21, 2016; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Kyle Ryan (56) works out at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 21, 2016; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Kyle Ryan (56) works out at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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Despite the fact that the Detroit Tigers supposedly have one of the worst farm systems in baseball, the team has managed to build a strong collection of young pitchers.

Mar 9, 2015; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers pitcher Kyle Ryan (56) tags out Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Caleb Gindl (39) in the third inning of the spring training baseball game at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 9, 2015; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers pitcher Kyle Ryan (56) tags out Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Caleb Gindl (39) in the third inning of the spring training baseball game at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports /

Collectively, they are all battling for a spot in the pen for the 2016 season. One of those is the 24-year-old, left-handed pitcher, Kyle Ryan.

The Detroit Tigers signed Ryan in 2010 in the fourth round of the amateur draft. He had just graduated from high school in Auburndale, Florida. Since his signing, he has followed the traditional path of the Detroit minor league system. He began in the Rookie League in Lakeland where he pitched in 12 games. He pitched for two seasons with the Single-A West Michigan Whitecaps where he started in a total of 52 games, allowing 14 home runs and striking out 204 batters. He returned to Lakeland for the Single-A+ Flying Tigers for 24 more starts in 2013.

With the high number of starts that the minor league coaches have given Kyle Ryan, it is clear that the organization has high hopes for him.

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In 2014, Ryan moved between Double-A Erie Seawolves, the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens, and the Tigers. In Erie and Toledo, he was used as a starting pitcher. In Detroit, he pitched in six games, starting in one. In his handful of games in Toledo, Ryan had an ERA of 1.64. He faced 120 batters, struck out 20, walked 5, and allowed zero home runs.

In 2015, Ryan began the season in Toledo, starting in 17 games. He pitched in 117, allowed 3 home runs, and struck out 63 batters. He did walk 33 batters.

The Tigers called Ryan up to pitch in late May against the Oakland A’s. After that game, he pitched in 56.1 innings. He started six games, closed three, and earned a 4.47 ERA. As a starting pitcher, Ryan’s ERAs in June were all under 4.00. But, as the season progressed, he topped 4.00.

Mar 4, 2016; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Kyle Ryan (56) throws a pitch during the fifth inning against the New York Yankees at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 4, 2016; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Kyle Ryan (56) throws a pitch during the fifth inning against the New York Yankees at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Despite his increasing ERA as a reliever, he has come to enjoy pitching out of the pen. In an article by Chris McCoskey from The Detroit News, Ryan said: “My preference is the pen. I just feel more comfortable. It’s weird to say, but I feel more comfortable being uncomfortable.”

Ryan is not the fastest pitcher. His fastball is usually in the low 90s. His strength lies in his secondary pitches. He has a curveball in the low 80s, a cutter in the mid-80s, and sinker that is close in speed to his fastballs. He has quality command, only hitting one batter in 2015.

On Saturday, the Tigers finalized contracts with several of their roster members who move between the Majors and the Minors. Ryan was one of the ten players that included pitchers Daniel Norris, Matt Boyd, Angel Nesbitt, Buck Farmer, and Bruce Rondon. Of this group, Norris and Boyd also throw left.

Next: Bryan Holaday Battles for Roster Spot

Ryan will be a pitcher to watch in spring training as he works hard to guarantee himself a spot in the bullpen, or possibly even in the starting rotation.

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