What is the Detroit Tigers 2016 Starting Rotation?
What is the Detroit Tigers rotation heading into 2016? Motor City Bengals has you covered.
After a long wait, Major League Baseball’s regular season is finally upon us—and that means the return of the Detroit Tigers.
Detroit entered Spring Training with few battles for starting positions. Sure, there was plenty of competition for bench and bullpen places, but the battle for the fifth spot in the rotation garnered the most attention.
Daniel Norris was widely believed to win the job from the onset of Spring Training, but an injury and inconsistency plagued the promising young pitcher. With Norris on the disabled list, the battle came down to Matt Boyd and Shane Greene.
Boyd’s numbers (4.24 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 17 innings) were solid, however, Greene was stellar. The former Yankee showed flashes of the form he flashed in New York and early in his Detroit career.
The 27-year-old outlasted Boyd and ultimately earned the fifth spot. Here’s a look at the team’s entire rotation.
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By now, you’ve probably heard about Justin Verlander’s 2.12 ERA, 74 strikeouts and .194 batting average over his final 11 starts. However, the former Cy Young winner was equally as ace-like in Spring Training.
The longtime Tiger, who will start on Opening Day, pitched to a 2.84 ERA and two wins in five spring starts. He only struck out 11, but showed that he’s continued the momentum built towards the end of last season.
Coming off a relatively down season, Zimmermann’s contract with the Tigers could turn into a bargain if he can pitch like did in seasons past. From 2012 to 2014, the starter posted a 2.96 ERA, 45 wins and a 13.3 WAR.
What’s more, he could be in for a strong debut season with Detroit. Zimmermann was victimized by a poor defensive infield in Washington. With Jose Iglesias, Ian Kinsler and the sure-handed Miguel Cabrera, the veteran should thrive. Improved run support will benefit the 29-year-old.
While Zimmermann had a relatively down season, Anibal Sanchez just had a plain down year. The former Marlin had a miniscule 0.1 WAR and a 4.99 ERA in 157 innings pitched. This is also without mentioning the league-leading 29 home runs allowed.
Sanchez has shown in the past that he can limit the long ball, if he can do so again, he’ll be well on his way to having a rebound year.
A high BABIP generally signifies that a pitcher had rough luck on batted balls. In other words, a high BABIP means the defense isn’t giving the pitcher much help.
As it happens the Minnesota Twins didn’t give Mike Pelfrey much help in 2015. Pelfrey’s BABIP was .334, good for the third-highest number in the league.
As with Zimmermann, Pelfrey should find more success in Motown with an improved defense behind him.
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Greene was arguably the Tigers best pitcher in Spring Training. The starter, who will be entering his third Major League season, struck out 23 batters in 19 innings pitched. He also posted a stellar 1.86 ERA and only four walks.
If he can continue to pitch at a similar level in regular season, Detroit will be in excellent shape where the rotation is concerned.
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