As Spring Training continues, the Detroit Tigers continue to move their players including the few moves this week.
The biggest news of the day was the Detroit Tigers optioning Michael Fulmer to the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens. Fulmer was acquired by the Tigers when Yoenis Cespedes was traded to the New York Mets at the deadline in July 2015. He is currently considered the top prospect in the organization. At this point, it looks like he will remain a prospect; his performance was not Big League worthy.
In 7.1 innings pitched in Spring Training, Fulmer managed a 6.14 ERA. He faced 33 batters, struck out 7, walked 5, and allowed 1 home run. Unfortunately for Fulmer, the other potential starting pitchers, like Shane Greene, Matt Boyd, Buck Farmer, and Daniel Norris, have thrown significantly better innings. In fact, in today’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Matt Boyd threw five shut-out innings allowing two hits. Still, he has to prove himself a better choice than Norris and Greene.
Having so many young pitchers fighting for a roster spot is one fun problem to have – and one that the Tigers haven’t had in a while.
The other player that was moved today was Montreal Robertson. He has been with the Tigers since he was drafted by them in 2011. He was outrighted off of the roster and sent to minor-league camp. With the rules of options and waivers, Robinson had to have passed through on waivers – otherwise, Tigers would have had to option him to get him off of the 40-man roster.
Robinson most likely passed through waivers because he is currently injured. In February, he injured his right shoulder while lifting weights. His shoulder subluxation, which is a partial dislocation and causes the feeling of having a dead arm, will keep him out of games until at least the middle of April.
Last year, Robinson played with Single-A+ Lakeland Flying Tigers and with Double-A Erie Seawolves. Between the two teams, he only pitched in 68 innings and had a combined WHIP of 1.441. He walked 35 of the 305 batters he faced. It is quite clear that he is not yet ready to pitch in with the Tigers, even without the injury.
Another prospect will be back in the minors. Jairo Labourt is still listed on the 40-man roster, but he is no longer an active member. On March 14, he was optioned to Single-A Lakeland. He pitched two innings during Spring Training and earned a 4.50 ERA. In those two innings, he walked four batters, allowed one run, and hit one batter. He still needs time to work on his command, but once he gets that under control, the left-handed pitcher could see more action in the higher levels.
Labourt came to the Tigers with Daniel Norris and Matt Boyd when David Price was sent to the Toronto Blue Jays at the deadline in July 2015. Of the three pitchers, Labourt continues to need the most work in the minors. Looking back on the 2015 trade deadline, it was a sad day, but the prospects that were acquired do prove that good seasons are on the horizon – including the 2016 season.