The Detroit Tigers decided to give Ryan Carpenter a start with Blaine Hardy hitting the DL. However, fellow left-hander Matt Hall deserves a shot.
The Detroit Tigers snagged left-hander Matt Hall in the sixth round of the 2015 MLB Draft. Since then, he has catapulted through the minor leagues as a high strikeout starting pitcher. His control has been an issue in the past, although it appears to be a problem he is working on correcting.
When Hall reached AA earlier this year, the Tigers decided to try him out in the pen. Across 57 innings, Hall posted an excellent 12.00 K/9 and a 1.58 ERA. Suddenly, it looked like his future was in the bullpen. After all, Hall’s scouting report shows a 60-grade curveball but only a 45-grade fastball and sub par marks for his other off speed pitches.
Indeed, in our midseason top 30 prospects list, we had Hall at No. 16 and labeled him as a future bullpen piece.
However, Hall’s promotion to AAA has allowed him another opportunity to pitch out of the starting rotation. And he has taken the opportunity and ran with it. Through seven starts with Toledo, Hall has posted a 3-0 record with a 2.61 ERA and a tidy 46/16 K/BB ratio. At this point, Hall should be given every opportunity to prove himself as a starter in the big leagues, especially since the Tigers are lacking left-handed starters in their system.
So when Blaine Hardy, one of Detroit’s few lefties, went on the DL with elbow tendonitis many were hopeful that Hall would get the call. Instead, the team went with another left-hander, Ryan Carpenter.
Carpenter has big league experience, having made four appearances (three starts) with Detroit this season. However, his 6.39 ERA and 4.97 K/9 tell you basically all you need to know about the 27-year-old Carpenter’s big league credentials. Plus, his AAA numbers haven’t been much better: in 13 starts Carpenter has a 5.30 ERA, although his 3.77 FIP and 8.58 K/9 are much more palatable.
Hardy’s placement on the DL was a bit sudden, so it’s possible Carpenter was recalled because he was on enough rest to actually make tonight’s start. Also, Carpenter was already on the 40-man roster, whereas Hall is not. Hall’s promotion would require an additional roster move, which may have prevented his promotion at this time.
Ultimately, Hall needs to get a chance this season to pitch out of Detroit’s rotation. It’s a rebuilding season, and therefore Detroit’s prospects should be getting looks as soon as they are ready. Carpenter is not a viable big league pitcher, and his future is virtually non-existent. Hall has a chance to stick in a big league rotation, and it doesn’t do the Tigers any good to roll with Carpenter for the rest of the season when Hall has proven himself ready to take on big league hitters.
Ultimately, the Detroit Tigers will probably wait until September to give Hall a chance. If he can prove himself ready to face big league hitters, he could compete for a rotation spot in 2019, particularly if the team is able to move Jordan Zimmermann before then.