Detroit Tigers: Top 10 Prospects Following 2016 Season

Feb 23, 2016; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Joe Jimenez (77) warms up during the Detroit Tigers spring training camp at Joker Merchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 23, 2016; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Joe Jimenez (77) warms up during the Detroit Tigers spring training camp at Joker Merchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /
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Feb 23, 2016; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Joe Jimenez (77) warms up during the Detroit Tigers spring training camp at Joker Merchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /

3. Joe Jimenez

Position: Closer
2016 Affiliate: Toledo Mud Hens

The Detroit Tigers closer of the future came very close to pitching out of the Detroit Tigers bullpen last season.

2016 Stats

In what has quickly become the norm, Joe Jimenez dominated opposing hitters in the minor leagues. Over 53.2 innings pitched, the reliever racked up 30 saves while striking out 78 batters. If you’re doing the math at home, that’s good for 13.1 strikeouts per nine innings.

In addition, the reliever only walked 17 batters and allowed a mere 10 runs.

This run of fine form saw Jimenez reach Triple-A. At this point, it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see the top prospect make Detroit’s bullpen out of Spring Training.

Future Role

With dominant career numbers in the minors (including 13 strikeouts per nine innings, 52 saves and a 1.59 ERA), Jimenez will eventually close games for Detroit. Just as it is exciting to imagine the Tigers’ future rotation, a bullpen pairing of Jimenez and Bruce Rondon holds the same appeal.

Eventually, Detroit will be able to turn to a pair of hard-throwing relievers with excellent off-speed offerings. The two have the potential to be one of the best late-inning combinations in the league.

After years of suffering through faulty bullpens, Tigers fans will eventually get an elite back end of the bullpen.