The Detroit Tigers are dipping into their farm system for the first time this season, recalling outfielder Mike Gerber. What should the team expect from him going forward?
Detroit Tigers fans have been eagerly waiting for the youth movement to take shape in the Motor City. Ever since the team committed to a rebuild, fans have been excited to see the star players from the farm system finally get their chance in Detroit.
One of those players, outfielder Mike Gerber, teased us all with a call-up on Friday for a doubleheader against the Royals. He pinch-ran but didn’t get an at-bat, thus ending the excitement, temporarily.
Gerber is one of many left field options for the Detroit Tigers, a position they have struggled to fill. His call-up gives the Tigers another player who will compete alongside JaCoby Jones and Rule 5 selection Victor Reyes.
What to expect from Gerber Baby
Before fans get too excited, there’s a chance his call-up is temporary. It could primarily be to help create pinch-hitting matchups for Detroit’s National League series against the Pirates. Without the designated hitter, manager Ron Gardenhire will have to use more pinch-hitters for his pitchers. Both Reyes and Victor Martinez are switch-hitters, with Jones hitting from the right side. Gerber adds a left-handed hitter they could use to pinch-hit in late game situations against right-handers.
Still, even if his call-up is temporary until Detroit needs another reliever, it’s telling that Gerber got the call over other options like Mikie Mahtook, Christin Stewart, Jim Adduci or Jason Krizan. While Mahtook hits right-handed, the other three are all left-handers.
Gerber should get at minimum five or so at-bats against the Pirates this week. Don’t be surprised to see him draw a start (or two) as the team evaluates him against Jones and Reyes. Gerber, who was ranked the 11th best prospect in Detroit’s system, does a little bit of everything. He has good power and decent speed, and can play all three outfield positions. A former 15th round pick out of Creighton University, Gerber has hit at all levels of the minor leagues, catapulting himself onto the prospect radar. His profile fits as a high-level fourth outfielder, due to his wide-ranging set of skills.
The Tigers will give Gerber every opportunity to earn playing time this season, as they look ahead to the future. A future platoon between Jones and Gerber certainly seems possible. And with both capable of playing center field, the Tigers have options should they choose to deal veteran Leonys Martin at the trade deadline.