Detroit Tigers reliever Alex Wilson will be vying for a starting rotation gig in spring training in 2018. He is a long shot, but what if he wins a starting spot?
It is a very unlikely scenario that Alex Wilson wins a spot in the Detroit Tigers starting rotation. The same could be said for former Colorado Rockies farmhand Ryan Carpenter. Carpenter signed a major league contract in the off season. However, there is still a chance that Alex Wilson, Ryan Carpenter, or even Buck Farmer could win a spot in the rebuilding Tigers starting rotation. It is also fun to think about in this dreary Michigan weather and cold baseball off season.
If Norris stumbles in spring training, expect him to be optioned to the minors or, here is a better idea. With his injuries and inconsistencies, Norris might be better suited in a bullpen role where he can play up his left handed fastball.
Daniel Norris has been injured every single year he has been in a Detroit Tigers uniform. So that means 2015, 2016, and 2017 he was put on the disabled list at least once.
He has also been marred with inconsistency. In 2016 and 2017 he gave up more hits than innings pitched, his BB/9 in 2017 was 3.9. His 2017 WHIP was 1.613 while 2016 WHIP was 1.399. In 2015 Norris had an ERA of 3.75 between Detroit and Toronto, in 2016 he had an ERA of 3.38, but in 2017 Norris had an ERA of 5.31 with an ERA+ of 86.
With all of the inconsistencies and injuries Norris, who is still only 24, might be better off in a bullpen role. Possibly even a setup man or even closer. Norris has the stuff to pull it off with a fastball topping out at 96 miles per hour. If one of the three pitchers listed above wins a spot in the rotation, Norris is the most likely candidate to get booted from it. Norris, however, might be the one better suited out of the rotation. Norris also has one option left, so he can be sent down, however sending him down this early in the season might be ill advised.
Injury could open spot for Wilson
Wilson, Carpenter, and/or Farmer could also win a spot due to injury. Jordan Zimmermann has been injured both years in his Tigers tenure. Fulmer is coming off of elbow surgery as well. If Fulmer has any unfortunate setbacks or if Zimmermann’s neck starts acting up again, look for a spot or two to open up.
Of course, in the likely scenario Alex Wilson does not win a rotation spot he will just be sent back to the bullpen. What about Farmer and Carpenter though? Ryan Carpenter signed his first major league contract and was added to a 40 man roster for the first time in his career in the off season. So Carpenter could be sent down to Toledo. Farmer could be sent back to Toledo as well, however he has only one option left. So if Farmer does not win a rotation or bullpen spot and is sent down; that is the last time he can be optioned to the minors without subjecting him to waivers.
While the rotation is more than likely to remain the same , competition is always a good thing. Competition pushes most players to be better and shows coaches and the front office what they can do.