Detroit Tigers: Two top pitching prospects could be in MLB this season

Al Avila, Detroit Tigers (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
Al Avila, Detroit Tigers (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) /

After the conclusion of the 2019 MLB Draft, Detroit Tigers GM Al Avila gave reporters an update on the status of the team’s rebuild before Thursday’s series finale against the Tampa Bay Rays.

It’s no secret that the Detroit Tigers are still deeply entrenched in rebuild mode. With the Tigers more focused on development rather than contention in 2019, one of the biggest steps of rebuilding is seeing how your prospects fare in the major leagues when you know your team’s postseason hopes are gone.

As Detroit GM Al Avila fielded questions from reporters on Thursday, he mentioned a couple of specific prospects who could see time in the big leagues at some point this season. Usually, September is when a majority of prospects get promoted to the majors, but with the team in full rebuild mode, we could see a few of these guys coming up as early as right after the All-Star game.

According to’s Jason Beck, Avila specifically mentioned pitching prospects Kyle Funkhouser and Beau Burrows as a couple of guys who could make their MLB debuts on the mound for the Detroit Tigers at some point this summer.

Funkhouser, ranked as the number ten Tigers prospect currently by MLB Pipeline was not having the most outstanding year with Triple-A Toledo before being placed on the minor league IL with a shoulder injury. Funkhouser started six games with the Mud Hens and had a 7.64 ERA before his injury, but was activated as of yesterday and will spend a short time in Lakeland and Erie before returning to Triple-A.

Injury has also stunted the growth of Beau Burrows this season as well. Ranked as the sixth overall Tigers prospect, Burrows has been on the minor league IL with shoulder inflammation since early May. In five starts with Triple-A Toledo this season, the righty has a 5.32 ERA.

When it comes to standout prospect Casey Mize, Avila’s comments make it seem as if any hopes fans might have of seeing Mize on the Detroit Tigers big league roster this year are futile.

Last year’s number one overall pick, Mize currently holds a 1.21 ERA and 5-0 record through seven starts in Double-A Erie. The righty turned many heads with his no-hitter Double-A debut with the Seawolves on April 29th.

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With Funkhouser now healthy and Burrows likely returning from the IL soon, they seem to be the candidates most likely to see time on Detroit’s big league roster this season. Mize still needs more time, but Funkhouser and Burrows have served their time in the minor league system and should be ready to have their shot at showing what they are capable of at the highest level.