The Detroit Tigers entered Spring Training with a roster that was largely set in stone. Despite that, some non-roster invitees have stepped up so far. Here’s a look at the players not on the Tigers roster who have performed.
Despite a roster that was largely set heading into Spring Training, the Detroit Tigers invited a number of different players to Major League camp. Among the notables were top prospects Joe Jimenez, JaCoby Jones and Mike Gerber, as well as big league veterans like Bobby Parnell, Casey McGehee, Nate Schierholtz and John Mayberry Jr.
While the Tigers have made a number of moves to pare down the roster (players like Jimenez, Jones and Gerber have already been sent to minor league camp), the team has received some stellar production from players not on the roster.
Here’s a check on some of the more productive ones.
Honorary Mention—Joe Jimenez
The 26-year-old relief pitcher, who previously appeared in 13 games for the Chicago Cubs in 2012, has been a pleasant surprise so far in camp out of the bullpen. In total, the journeyman has pitched to a 3.00 ERA and has held batters to a .188 batting average. What’s more, he also has eight strikeouts in nine innings pitched.
Like Castillo, Kensing has put quietly together a solid spring camp. He owns an 0-1 record with a 3.38 ERA in 5.1 innings pitched (six appearances). However, batters have hit .318 off of him.
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Parnell, a former shutdown reliever for the New York Mets, has posted an unsightly ERA of 8.22 in 7.2 innings pitched. However, if you take away his numbers from that horrendous game against the Blue Jays, things look much better.
If you take that disastrous contest out of the equation—Parnell was tagged for five runs while recording only one out—the pitcher put up a solid 2.45 ERA in his previous 6.2 innings pitched.
Despite a suspension that will keep him out for the first 38 games of the regular season, the Detroit Tigers invited top prospect JaCoby Jones to camp. Jones has been sent down, but the decision looked like a smart one from Detroit’s perspective.
The former Pittsburgh Pirates prospect, who can play a number of positions, hit .313 with six runs scored, four RBI, three walks, two home runs and two doubles in 16 at-bats. Whether it be as a shortstop, center fielder, third baseman or in a Ben Zobrist-type role, Jones will be on the Tigers roster next year—and for years to come.
The corner infielder is getting some significant playing time this spring, and is making the most of it.
Tied with Thomas Field for the team lead in games played (18), McGehee is thriving at the plate. The former Marlin hitting a robust .303 with two doubles, a home run and six RBI. He has also shown solid discipline at the plate, drawing seven walks compared to just three strikeouts.
Mike Gerber has a history of being extremely productive. In two minor league seasons, the outfielder is a .294 hitter with a .359 on-base percentage. He’s totaled 118 runs scored, 50 doubles, 14 triples, 20 home runs, 118 RBI and 25 stolen bases in a mere 200 games.
His domination of minor league pitching, and ability to stuff the stat sheet have helped him skyrocket up the list of the team’s top prospects. Case in point, this very publication has him ranked as the team’s sixth best prospect.
Gerber continued to rake in Spring Training, hitting .313 with four runs scored, two doubles, a triple and a home run in only 16 at-bats.
Schierholtz, who was signed on a minor-league deal, is only hitting .276. However, he has a strong .921 OPS to go along with five RBI, four runs scored, two home runs, two doubles and a triple.
The former San Francisco Giant has also contributed an outfield assist in 13 games.
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