Detroit Tigers rumors are here once again with the offseason in full swing. According to a report, teams were interested in relief pitching prospect Paul Voelker at the Winter Meetings.
Detroit Tigers rumors continue to swirl as we make our way through December. Per a tweet from the Detroit Free Press’ George Sipple, teams were interested in relief prospect Paul Voelker while the Tigers were at the Winter Meetings.
The veteran reporter tweeted on Wednesday afternoon, “Double-A Erie RHP Paul Voelker is a player other teams have expressed interest in part of talks with the #Tigers @WinterMeetings.”
Voelker recently completed his second season at Double-A Erie. The 24-year-old, who uses a blazing fastball and a slider to get hitters out, logged a 4.17 ERA in 54 innings.
Overall, his career ERA in the minors is 2.97. Additionally, his FIP with the SeaWolves finished at 3.56, so he’s a better pitcher than his ERA would indicate.
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While Voelker’s run prevention numbers weren’t outstanding, his strikeout numbers were. In his 54 innings pitched, the right-hander punched out 13.2 batters per nine frames.
This is nothing new for the Dallas Baptist University product. In his minor league career, the prospect has struck out 11.7 batters per nine innings.
Additionally, the reliever also has closing experience, with 33 career saves in 110 appearances. Last season, the former 10th-round pick notched 13 saves for Erie.
Double-A players are making the jump to the Majors more and more often. This is purely speculative, but perhaps some teams saw Voelker as a controllable relief arm to plug into their bullpen next season.
Potential Role With the 2017 Detroit Tigers Bullpen
Voelker will likely have a role in the Tigers bullpen for years to come. However, he’ll face competition for a place this season.
Assuming no trades are made between now and Spring Training, some combination of Justin Wilson, Shane Greene, Alex Wilson, Kyle Ryan, Bruce Rondon, Blaine Hardy, Mark Lowe and Daniel Stumpf may open the year on the Opening Day roster.
Still, it isn’t hard to imagine Voelker making his Major League debut as the season progresses. Should injuries or trades occur, Voelker is an excellent option to call on.