Detroit Tigers: Tarik Skubal’s Start is Historical

WEST PALM BEACH, FL - MARCH 09: Tarik Skubal #87 of the Detroit Tigers in action against the Houston Astros during a spring training baseball game at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches on March 9, 2020 in West Palm Beach, Florida. The Astros defeated the Tigers 2-1. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
WEST PALM BEACH, FL - MARCH 09: Tarik Skubal #87 of the Detroit Tigers in action against the Houston Astros during a spring training baseball game at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches on March 9, 2020 in West Palm Beach, Florida. The Astros defeated the Tigers 2-1. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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The Detroit Tigers have not produced a lot of pitching talent in the later rounds. Tarik Skubal looks to break a trend that has been going on in Detroit for years.

The Detroit Tigers drafted Mark Fidrych in the 10th round of the 1974 MLB Draft. We all know the story. He had an All-Star season in 1976. So how does that tie into Tarik Skubal? Well, a chance to be an All-Star, sure but these facts are all draft related.

Round Number 9

Tarik Skubal will be the 6th drafted player by the Tigers in the 9th round to make to the majors and the first left-handed pitcher to do so. Here are the others:

  • Jim Walewander 2B (1983)
  • Phil Mankowski 3B (1970)
  • Doug Baker SS (1982)
  • Kurt Knudsen RHP (1988)
  • Clint Sodowsky RHP (1991)

Baseball America

When Tarik Skubal made Baseball America’s Top 100 list, it marked the first time in Tigers history that a left-handed starting pitcher that was drafted not in the top five rounds by Detroit made the list.  The top 100 prospect list began in 1990 so there is about 30 years of data to work with.

With his debut tomorrow, he joins Scott Aldred as the two lowest drafted lefties to start for Detroit. Aldred, a 16th round draft pick out of Montrose, Michigan, made his debut at 22 years old in 1990.  Aldred was a top prospect among the Tigers but not on the grand scale that Skubal is.

Other Notable Late Round Draft Picks Who Debut in Detroit

While some of these players are not household names, here are some other pitchers who made it to majors from the later rounds. Bold are lefties.

  • Adam Wilk 11th round draft pick (2009) reliever
  • Dave Borkowski 11th round draft pick (1995)
  • John Doherty 19th round (1989)
  • Carl Willis 23rd round (1983)
  • Kyle Ryan 12th round (2010) started in 2014
  • Duane Below 19th round 2006

None of the names above have had the promise of Tarik Skubal. Take out the noise social media creates and realize that the numbers he put up through the minors as a left-hander is very rare in the Tigers minor league system. Now, we will get to see how he does against a very good Chicago White Sox lineup. Here’s hoping he joins Mark Fidrych as the second late-round pitching All-Star.