Last season, the Detroit Tigers finished a respectable 13th in total fWAR where starting pitchers were concerned.
However that stat, and the group in general, were buoyed by Justin Verlander and his 172 innings spanning 28 starts.
That’s a significant amount of production to make up for. And, if September was any indication, Detroit isn’t exactly well-stocked with immediate replacements.
Tigers’ starters once again finished 13th among Major League rotations in fWAR.
However, the group turned in the sixth-highest SIERA in the league over that span with a 4.77 stat.
Detroit’s rotation also had the second-highest WHIP in the regular season’s final month.
Now, the franchise will attempt to soldier with a Verlander-less rotation.
The good news is that Michael Fulmer will likely still be around.
Fulmer finished 18th in the league among starters in fWAR despite being limited to 164.2 innings and 25 starts.
A fully healthy Fulmer is an excellent way to start a rotation.
However, Detroit doesn’t have many other certainties after that.
Daniel Norris and Matthew Boyd could take significant steps forward and help expedite the rebuild by starting to realize their potential more. Or, the duo could continue to regress like in 2017.
There’s also Jordan Zimmermann, who is in a similar boat in terms of potentially having a bounce-back season or imploding even more so.
Ideally, Franklin Perez, Beau Burrows, Grayson Long, Tyler Alexander and Matt Hall will all debut at some point in the second half, but it remains to be seen when the next wave of prospect reinforcements will hit.
With all the uncertainty, as well as the prospects being nearly ready for the Majors, it makes sense for the Tigers to invest in a few short-term fixes.