Current Rotation Outlook
Following last season’s results, Fulmer, Boyd and Norris aren’t likely to leave the rotation anytime soon. For that matter, neither is Verlander.
Of the remaining starters, Zimmermann seems the most likely bet to stick as a starter. The former National isn’t likely to consistently pitch like he did during a pair of starts in the second half that saw him allow 12 runs in 2.2 innings.
By the same token, he probably won’t be the same starter who pitched to a 0.55 ERA in his first five starts. However, if he can provide the Tigers with quality innings, double-digit wins and a sub-four ERA, Detroit’s rotation will be in good shape.
Why Detroit Needs Another Starter
If Fulmer, Boyd and Norris continue to develop next season, a rotation consisting of the trio, Verlander and Zimmermann should be good enough to make the postseason. However, Detroit may need another starter.
The young pitchers’ innings limits will still be somewhat of an issue next season. Additionally, the Tigers can’t depend on incumbents like Pelfrey and Sanchez to fill in.
Of starters with at least 100 innings pitched, Pelfrey and Sanchez ranked in the bottom 30 in WHIP, FIP, and xFIP. In fact, Pelfrey owned the worst WHIP and second-worst SIERA in the entire league.
Detroit needs a sixth starter who could step up in the event of an injury. Specifically, they need one who won’t allow baserunners and runs in droves.