The Detroit Tigers have recently been a dominant topic of conversation in online betting odds, thanks to the MLB Trade Deadline week that saw them rent the services of highly-prized starter David Price for two months, in exchange for the permanent acquisition of three hot pitching prospects in Daniel Norris, Matt Boyd and Jairo Labourt from the Rays. (Actually, make that two-and-a-half hot prospects, considering Labourt is still not groomed enough to throw it well in the MLB).
Online Betting: Where do Detroit’s Pitching Deadline Trades Leave them in the Running?
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) August 3, 2015
In summary, here are the ins and outs of the Tigers during the Trade Deadline:
Understanding the Trades
To understand the premise of their trades, which involved the exit of standout pitcher Price and superstar hitter Cespedes, here is what you need to know—the Tigers (currently placed 10-plus games behind the Royals in the AL Central and several miles in the AL Wild Card race) came to terms with the fact that they were not going to be legitimate divisional title or playoff contenders in 2015 after falling behind in both legs. And as a result, they deemed it best to hire the services of their key players until the season ends, while getting a couple of key additions in exchange.
With the likes of Price set to return to Detroit at the end of the season, it was actually a good business plan from the management, especially because all the players acquired from the trade are permanent signings, rather than the temporary cases of the traded-out players.
That said, here is a brief outlook of how Detroit’s pitching stands for the season and probably in the years to come:
Detroit’s Pitching Equation: 2015 and Beyond
Took the 18th spot on Baseball America’s mid-season rankings of best prospects. He’s a 22-year-old lefty with plenty of upside, especially if he can work on his offerings. Norris owned a 4.27 ERA with 7.7 K/9 against 4.1 BB/9 over 90 2/3 frames at Triple-A this year, though he was better last year, racking up double-digit K/9 numbers and allowing just 3.1 walks per nine, finishing the year with a 2.53 earned run mark in 124 1/3 minor league innings.
A 24-year-old lefty prospect who spent most of the year in the high minors after a short (a rather tough) two-start stint in the majors. Though he doesn’t have a huge arm, he reportedly excels at feel, deception and command when on the mound, a probable reason he was ranked 11th-best among Toronto’s prospects prior to the trade.
A 21-year-old lefty working at the High-A level and was ranked at No. 19 in Toronto’s latest rankings of club prospects.
A 22-year-old right-handed pitching prospect acquired from the Mets in the Cespedes deal. He is set to report to Double-A Erie, which is bound to hone his already up-and-coming skills. Fulmer boasts of a swing-and-miss slider and mid-90s fastball that helped him to go 6-2 with a 1.88 ERA at Double-A Binghamton, as he struck out 83 in 86 innings.
Right-handed pitching prospect that has fastball hits in the low-90s but is boosted in his efficiency with an average changeup. He started the season in Double-A, but was recently called up to Triple-A Las Vegas. In the combined 18 starts in the two leagues, Cessa was 7-7 with a 3.98 ERA. He is set to report to Triple-A Toledo.
Going by the above brief highlights of the pitching prospect, there’s definitely talent in the players, and with good training, a number of them could find their way into the team’s rotation. As a matter of fact, Norris (the most MLB-ready prospect of the new acquisitions) made his Detroit debut on Sunday, leading the team to a 6-1 win over the Orioles. Boyd and Fulmer are reportedly not far behind, and they too could me making their debuts soon. As you’d expect though, the Tigers intend to use them in the coming seasons rather than in 2015, which is already a lost cause for the team.
“In all the deals, we feel we got legitimate guys, real good prospects for us,” said Tigers President and General Manager Dave Dombrowski. “We have helped our pitching depth at the upper levels a great deal. … we think this gives us an influx of guys who can help us going into next year. It puts us in a good spot going into next year.”
All in all, it remains to be seen how the new pitching prospects will mesh up with their teammates and impact the team in 2015, 2016 and the years to come. But as a general statement, there’s no doubt that the Tigers (whose pitching has been iffy this year) has sufficient talent to work and build on, as they seek to make a comeback to the top echelon of the MLB titans.