Detroit Tigers Sign Lucas Harrell
The Detroit Tigers continue to add depth, this time signing pitcher Lucas Harrell to a minor league contract.
As yet another week of Spring Training kicks off, the Detroit Tigers have added another pitcher to provide depth for the upcoming season. Detroit inked right-handed pitcher Lucas Harrell to a minor league deal. The Tigers official twitter account, which confirmed the news, also mentioned that Harrell “will be in minor league camp.”
While the starter will initially begin in minor league camp, he could make an impact sometime this season if called upon.
A former fourth-round pick, Harrell will give the Tigers a minor league pitcher with extensive big league experience. The lack of depth was partly the team’s downfall last season as inexperienced pitchers like Buck Farmer and Matt Boyd were hit hard by opposing offenses. In total, manager Brad Ausmus’ team used 26 different pitchers.
Harrell has over 400 innings of Major League experience. He started out with the Chicago White Sox in 2010, before being claimed on waivers by the Houston Astros midway through 2011. For his time in Chicago, the right-hander had a 5.28 ERA (4.45 FIP) in 29 innings pitched. He started three games and finished an additional five.
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Things were much different in Houston, as the 30-year-old pitched to a 3.46 ERA in his first six appearances (13 innings) for the Astros down the stretch in 2011. That success helped Harrell claim a rotation spot in 2012. The former White Sox pitcher racked up 32 starts and 193.2 innings. He struck out 140 batters while posting nearly identical ERA and FIP numbers—3.76 and 3.75, respectively.
While 2012 was a success, 2013 was not. Harrell made 36 appearances, only 22 of which were starts. Additionally, his ERA ballooned to 5.86. The righty also had the unfortunate distinction of leading the League in losses (17) and walks (88).
From 2012 to 2013, Harrell’s WAR dropped from 3.1 to -1.6.
The starter also struggled in three 2014 starts, allowing 19 hits, 14 runs and nine walks in only 12.1 innings pitched. This lead to a stint in Korea with the LG Twins, where he posted a 10-11 record with a 4.93 in 171.2 innings pitched last season. While those numbers don’t jump off the page at you, it is worth noting that Harrell’s 7.9 strikeouts per nine innings was the highest of his career. Obviously it came in a different league, but it is encouraging nonetheless.
According to FanGraphs, Harrell throws a fastball, a two seam fastball, a cutter, a slider, a curveball and a changeup.
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In all likelihood, the veteran will start the season in Triple-A as a starter. The Tigers will be hoping that some combination of Daniel Norris, Shane Greene and Matt Boyd get the job done and succeed in the fifth rotation spot. However, Detroit now has an experienced starter to turn to should the team’s depth be tested.