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Detroit Tigers: How Origination’s Top Prospects are Faring in Arizona Fall League

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Aug 31, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers center fielder JaCoby Jones (40) hits a double in the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park. Detroit won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 31, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers center fielder JaCoby Jones (40) hits a double in the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park. Detroit won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Detroit Tigers
Mar 29, 2015; Clearwater, FL, USA; A general view of a Detroit Tigers hats, gloves and sunglasses in the dugout against the Philadelphia Phillies at Bright House Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Adam Ravenelle, Jeff Thompson and Spencer Turnbull

Adam Ravenelle

AFL Stats: Four appearances, four innings pitched, three strikeouts, three saves, one hit allowed, one walk allowed.

With the exception of Jones, Ravenelle has turned in perhaps the most encouraging display of Tigers prospects in the AFL. The Vanderbilt product could very well end up pitching out the back of Detroit’s bullpen someday, and his numbers this fall only back that up. The sample size is small, but it is positive nonetheless.

Will Ravenelle Crack the Major League Roster in 2017?

Potentially. The hard-throwing right-hander combines his blazing fastball with a solid change. Those pitches helped him reach Double-A Erie, where he continued his trend of striking out batters.

Ravenelle struck out 57 batters in 58 minor league innings last season, while allowing batters to hit just .220. His 33 walks are a slight concern, but if he can throw strikes, he could pitch for the Tigers next season.

His chances will only improve if Detroit moves on from some of the veteran relievers (Mark Lowe, Dustin Molleken and Warwick Saupold) on the team’s 40-man roster.

Jeff Thompson

AFL Stats: Four appearances, six innings pitched, five strikeouts, four hits allowed and two walks allowed. Gave up just one run.

Will Thompson Crack the Major League Roster in 2017?

Likely not. A third-round pick in 2013, Thompson has yet to advance beyond Lakeland. However, he showed well for the club in 2016, notching a 3.49 ERA and 100 strikeouts in 118.2 innings pitched. With a 3.75 career ERA in 290.1 minor league innings, Thompson simply needs to be challenged at a higher level.

That level probably isn’t the Major Leagues—at least not next season. Thompson could very well debut with the Tigers in 2018.

Spencer Turnbull

AFL Stats: Two appearances, two games started. Pitched six innings, allowed nine hits, five runs (four earned) and four walks. Recorded six strikeouts.

Long one of Detroit’s top starting pitching prospects, Turnbull was sidelined by injuries for much of last season. He ended up making 12 starts, totaling 44.1 innings pitched. Over the same span, he struck out 39 while holding batters to a .195 batting average and a 1.06 WHIP.

Will They Crack the Major League Roster in 2017?

The right-hander could still make an impact with the Detroit Tigers as a starter, but that likely isn’t going to happen next season. Even before the injury, Turnbull hadn’t progressed past Lakeland.

Next: Tigers Pitching Staff Has Extremely Promising Future

The fact that he turned in some solid innings for the affiliate in 2016 is encouraging, but 2018 or 2019 may be more realistic dates for the pitcher’s Major League debut.

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