A former first-round pick, Detroit Tigers prospect Kyle Funkhouser was a fourth-round steal, and could be a gem in the making.
The Detroit Tigers had a steal in the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft, selecting Kyle Funkhouser with the 115th overall pick. Funkhouser is Detroit’s No. 8 overall prospect. He’s a mature pitcher, and near major-league ready.
He is a former first round-pick in the 2015 MLB Amateur Draft. The Los Angeles Dodgers selected Funkhouser 34th overall. Instead of signing, he opted to return to the University of Louisville for his senior season.
Funkhouser throws a mid-90s fastball, and has three secondary pitches: a slider, curveball, and changeup. He showed a good feel for pitching early-on in the minors. The Tigers list him as a potential three or four starter.
The right-hander dominated college through his first three seasons, and half of his final. Funkhouser had a career 2.81 ERA in a Cardinal uniform. His best collegiate season was in 2014, when he went 13-3 with a 1.94 ERA in 120.1 innings pitched as a Sophomore. He led Louisville to the College World Series that year.
The reason Funkhouser was around in the fourth round of the 2016 Draft was his Senior-year performance. He was inconsistent. Funkhouser had a 5.56 ERA in early-April, but came up big down the stretch, and dropped his ERA to 3.86 by season’s end.
Funkhouser was the best minor-league performer of the eight Cardinals selected. He went 0-2 with a 2.65 ERA in 37.1 innings for the Connecticut Tigers in 2016. Last year, Funkhouser was 5-2 with a 2.44 ERA with 83 strikeouts in 62.2 innings. His season was cut short by inflamation in his elbow.
If he had a full year in the minors, Funkhouser would be in the conversation for the fifth starting-spot. Instead, he’s in-line for a 2019 major-league debut, provided a good performance.
Funkhouser was a steal in the 2016 Draft, and could be a good middle-of-the-rotation type starter in the future. Along with Matt Manning, Franklin Perez and Alex Faedo, Funkhouser will help shape the Tigers rotation for years to come.