Detroit Tigers minor league camp starts on Wednesday. Let’s look at the Lakeland Flying Tigers’ projected pitching staff.
During our Detroit Tigers radio podcast a few weeks back, myself and Chris Brown talked to the voice of the West Michigan Whitecaps Dan Hasty and we received questions about what the rotation would look like for the Whitecaps in 2022. It got me thinking about projecting the what the pitching staffs would look like at other levels of the organization.
Last season, the Lakeland Flying Tigers experienced several drastic changes. The first being they were now the Low-A affiliate. The second change is the Automated Strike Zone, which was a change for the pitchers to figure out the subtle changes in where a strike would be called.
The last change being that there was no minor league season in 2020, so there was some growing pains for several players making their Low-A debut.
The infusion of the 2021 draft picks
The Tigers went back to stocking up the farm system with arms in the 2021 draft. Jackson Jobe and Ty Madden were both first-round draft picks. Dylan Smith, the right-hander out of the University of Alabama, in the 3rd round followed by Tyler Mattison (4th), left-hander Brant Hurter (7th), Jordan Marks (8th) and Garrett Burhenn (9th)
This new crop of pitchers has created a good situation for the Tigers between Lakeland and High-A West Michigan as far as depth goes and talent. For this prediction of the Flying Tigers rotation, I am just looking at where several pitchers pitched last season, where would be the right “fit” and based on what knowledge exists on them now. So here is my educated guess for the 2022 Opening Day Flying Tigers starting rotation.
- Jackson Jobe
- Tyler Mattison
- Brant Hurter
- Carlos Pena
- Jordan Marks
- Garrett Burhenn
Why six? For innings limits purposes and for call-ups purposes. As far as why Jackson Jobe starting the season at Lakeland, the Tigers have no plans to rush him through the system, so this would be an opportunity to develop his command. As I mentioned with Mattison in my write up after he was drafted, he has a fastball and a good changeup but will continue to develop his curve. Hurter stands at 6’6, 250 with three solid pitches as Chris discussed in his breakdown of the draft picks rounds 6-10.
Pena, who was in Lakeland last season and started in 6 of the 9 games he appeared in, could be back in the rotation as the lefty from the Dominican Republic made the leap from complex ball to the Flying Tigers. He pitched in 40 innings, striking out 33 with 9 walks. His main pitch is a changeup which, according to Minor League Splits, he threw 70% of the time.
Marks was the Big South pitcher of the year for the University of South Carolina-Upstate. The Sarnia, Ontario native, throws a fastball that can get up to 98, curve and a change. Burhenn pitched for the Ohio State University last season and throws four pitches, a fastball, slider, curve and a change-up.
Those are my educated guesses for the starting rotation. Tomorrow, we look at what appears to be an impressive West Michigan Whitecaps rotation.