The Tigers drafted Voelker in the tenth round of the 2014 draft out of baseball powerhouse Dallas Baptist. Voelker immediately made an impact, tossing 27 innings between rookie ball and short-season that summer and striking out 31.
2015 saw Voelker climb from A-Ball to High-A to Double-A. He threw 55.1 total innings and
We are looking at a guy who has similar size, velocity and offerings as former Tiger Al Alburquerque.
carved hitters up, striking out 63 and only walking 20.
His ERA at each level was 2.25, 1.64 and 2.60.
Voelker saw an uptick in his ERA across a full season at Double-A in 2016, but his strikeout numbers remained elite. In fact, the right-hander struck out 79 in just 54 innings of work. He acted as the closer, locking down 13 saves despite the 4.17 ERA (2.71 xFIP).
Voelker got his first taste of Triple-A in 2017. Although he only tossed three innings in Toledo, he posted a 2.17 ERA and struck out 30 in 29 innings at Double-A Erie.
Across 172.1 career minor league innings, Voelker has struck out 217 and walked only 62.
Voelker’s high strikeout numbers and good command point to a career in a major league bullpen. While his ceiling is that of a closer, he seems more likely to land in a middle relief capacity, possibly falling into a set-up role if needed. Voelker gets his fastball up into the mid-90’s, but his slider could be his best pitch.
We are looking at a guy who has similar size, velocity and offerings as former Tiger Al Alburquerque. Voelker has posted better walk numbers than Alburquerque did in the minors, so if he can keep that control he could be a valuable piece in the Tigers bullpen for many years.
At 25 years old, Voelker has the best chance of anyone on this list of making his major league debut in 2018.
Up next we have the son of a Tiger’s great whose performance is starting to look more like his father’s: