The Detroit Tigers have a number of good arms throughout their farm system and some have already made it to the major league level.
While most Detroit Tigers fans just assume that the team’s young bounty of starting pitchers still resides in the minor leagues, that statement is only partly true. Yes, the likes of Casey Mize and Matt Manning are toiling away at Double-A Erie and Beau Burrows is in Toledo, but two starting pitchers have made their mark at the major-league level.
These two starters are righty Spencer Turnbull and lefty Tyler Alexander, the latter of whom threw seven crisp innings of one-run ball against the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday afternoon. The majority of the Tigers’ young starters remain in the minors, but the pitching movement has already begun, even if some fail to notice it.
Tigers fans don’t have much to look forward to with the majority of the team’s roster occupying placeholder roles, but like the upcoming trade deadline, the development of Turnbull and Alexander is something to get excited about.
The 25-year-old Alexander has been impressive since making his major-league debut on July 3, tossing 12 innings over two starts and posting a 2.25 ERA. Alexander has struck out five batters compared to just one walk, holding opposing batters to a .186 batting average.
Alexander, the 65th overall pick in the 2015 draft out of TCU, is known for pinpoint control of his three pitches, good deception in his delivery, and a high pitching IQ. His stuff is considered to be average at best, with a sinking fastball that sits around 90 miles per hour to go along with a slider and changeup. The changeup is considered his best overall pitch.
Due to his lack of pure stuff, Alexander’s ceiling is likely a No. 4 or 5 starter who can eat innings with his elite command. He fits the mold of a “crafty lefty,” and many pitchers of that nature have gone on the have long and successful major-league careers.
With the Tigers still in desperate need of healthy starting pitchers and innings eaters, Alexander should get every opportunity to prove himself in the big leagues over the remainder of the season. The Tigers liked him when they reached in the 2015 draft to select him, and he will now have the chance to prove his organization right.
Most Tigers fans know the story of Turnbull, who’s electric stuff has translated to success in the big leagues. He possesses a 3.65 ERA in 19 starts, quickly inserting himself into the Tigers’ long-term plans. Like Alexander, Turnbull is also young at the age of 26.
Even though he’s currently on the injured list with more lingering back injuries, Turnbull is expected to make a large handful of starts before his innings limit eventually catches up with him later this season.
Detroit Tigers fans should remain patient with their young starters still developing down on the farm. In the meantime, they can enjoy a glimpse of what hopes to be a promising future for the starting rotation.