Detroit Tigers News

5 Detroit Tigers who could benefit from Opening Day roster expansion

Mar 21, 2022; Lakeland, Florida, USA; Detroit Tigers second baseman Willi Castro (9) attempts to stretch out a double in the second inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during spring training at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 21, 2022; Lakeland, Florida, USA; Detroit Tigers second baseman Willi Castro (9) attempts to stretch out a double in the second inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during spring training at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports /
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Detroit Tigers reliever Will Vest pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies during the eighth inning at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium on Friday, March 18, 2022, in Lakeland, Florida.Tigersphil /

Detroit Tigers non-roster invites impress in limited duty

Of the pitchers left in camp, two arms stand out that have major league experience that are not on the 40-man roster in a pair of right-handers, Will Vest and Miguel Diaz.

While it may take a while before Detroit Tigers fans see Wily Peralta going due to visa issues, it allows a chance to see these two arms pitch. Diaz impressed manager A. J. Hinch in his one inning of work the other day. He flashed a four-seamer that was around 95-96 that had good darting action against lefties and pretty good changeup.

While you have to consider he would have to surpass someone on the 40-man roster, Diaz could take the spot of Funkhouser since he would start the season on the IL. He has over 100 innings of experience under his belt. What is holding back is his walk rate, which was around 4 per 9 last season in 42 innings of work with the Pardes. He was hitting 96 in his only appearance against Toronto on Monday.

Vest pitched for Seattle last season as a Rule 5 pick before Seattle designated him for assignment and return to Detroit and finished the season in Toledo. So far this spring, he has 4 strikeouts in just two innings of work with a walk. What stands out his velocity was up from last season, as he hit as high as 97 while sitting around 96 while in Seattle, his fastball velocity was sitting at 93. 

Non-roster invite righty Jacob Barnes has had a tough spring so far and looking at the arms left in camp, the only one we have not seen pitch yet is Ramon Rosso, a minor league signing that was invited to camp.

As far as pitchers left that I have not mentioned, right-handers Jason Foley and Bryan Garcia are on the 40-man roster along with Angel De Jesus, who is expected to start the season in Toledo. But with Diaz and Vest, it makes deciding the last few bullpen spots even harder for A.J. Hinch.

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