The Detroit Tigers have a solid group of young, minor league pitchers. Jeff Ferrell is one to watch.
Right now, Jeff Ferrell has been unable to show off his skills to the Grapefruit League because of a right shoulder injury. Brad Ausmus announced that Ferrell will not be pitching until his shoulder is better. Prior to the injury, he threw in two innings against the Washington Nationals. He gave up a run after allowing two hits and a walk.
Since Ferrell is a minor league pitcher, his injury does not have a big effect on the Lakeland team. But, the injury is troublesome nonetheless, especially since it is not the first time Ferrell has experienced some type of shoulder discomfort.
Ferrell is a 25-year-old right-handed pitcher from North Carolina. He was drafted in 2010 from Pitt Community College in Winterville, North Carolina. Ferrell graduated from Emsley A. Laney High School in Wilmington, North Carolina.
While in college, Ferrell and the team reached the 2010 NJCAA Division I World Series, but did not win. The team was eliminated after losing their second game to Temple Junior College. During his one season with Pitt, Ferrell pitched in 29 innings. He allowed six walks and recorded 41 strikeouts, earning a 4.97 ERA. The team went 42-10.
Once Ferrell was drafted, he spent time in the Gulf Coast League with the Rookie Flying Tigers. There, he started in 11 games earning a 3.14 ERA. He also pitched in a few innings in Connecticut. In 2011 and 2012, Ferrell spent the entire year with the Single-A West Michigan Whitecaps. He pitched in only 28 innings in 2011 and 92 in 2012. His 2012 ERA was 3.91 where he allowed 9 home runs and 29 walks. In 2013, he returned to Lakeland for the Single-A+ team; he pitched in 119 innings allowing 15 home runs and 36 walks. His 2014 stats in Double-A Erie were similar to his Single-A+ stats.
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Ferrell spent the 2015 season with a few teams. He started the year in Erie, then he was moved up to Triple-A Toledo. While in Erie, Ferrell had an ERA of 1.67 in 27 innings. But, when he moved to Toledo, that ERA increased to 4.76 in 11 innings. His innings were limited in 2015 because he had an injury. While recovering from the injury in Erie, Ferrell spent time in the Erie bullpen. He realized that he actually liked bullpen work and decided to stay there.
In 2015, the Tigers did call Ferrell up to pitch for a few games in Detroit. He threw in 11 innings, but was not too impressive. He allowed 8 runs, walked 4 batters, and earned a WHIP of 1.412. Meh.
Ferrell did play in the fall league in Arizona. He joined six other minor league players. While in Scottsdale, he spent time working on this bullpen stuff. Ferrell’s fastball can hit speeds in the upper 90s, but he usually stays below 95 mph. His change-up pitch can confound batters with its low speeds around 80 mph. Ferrell said about his pitches: “Ever since I went to the bullpen my velocity has gone up. It’s given me a bigger gap between my fastball and change-up.” Unfortunately, Ferrell’s time in Arizona was limited due to shoulder stiffness.
It is no secret that the Tigers have had issues with bullpen pitchers in previous years. Hopefully, Ferrell can develop into a bullpen pitcher the team can count on in the near future.
For more information about the Detroit Tigers players, visit our Player Profiles page.