Tigers’ young arms could be key in May

Detroit Tigers

This story was excerpted from Jason Beck’s Tigers Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

The Tigers centered their organization rebuild around a wave of pitchers at the top of their prospect list. Then they focused on building depth in pitching prospects behind their top arms.   

Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal and Matt Manning helped lead Detroit out of the AL Central cellar and closer to contention last year. If the Tigers are going to stay in contention this year, they’ll need their pitching depth to come through, for the month ahead if not longer.

Tuesday’s rainout against the Pirates set up the Tigers for a busy five-week stretch, with 35 games over 33 days. With Mize, Manning and Tyler Alexander on the injured list, manager A.J. Hinch needs pitchers. He’s looking down Interstate 75. 

Beau Brieske, the Tigers’ No. 22 prospect per MLB Pipeline and a 27th-round pick from 2019, held down the Dodgers’ offense last weekend in his second Tigers start. Alex Faedo, Detroit’s No. 16 prospect and its first-round Draft pick in 2017, made his Major League debut in Wednesday’s doubleheader against the Pirates.

No. 12 prospect Joey Wentz, acquired in the Shane Greene trade three years ago, might not be far behind. Elvin Rodriguez, who made his MLB debut for Detroit last month, could make his first start soon after joining Triple-A Toledo’s rotation.

“One of the benefits of how our roster is, is that we have some good young pitching waiting in Triple-A for an opportunity. This is the first opportunity,” Hinch said Wednesday. “Alex gets it. We’ll have another 27th man [next Tuesday]. Could be Alex. Could be somebody different. You’ll probably see a handful of pitchers be used to fill these rotation spots until Casey and Matt are ready to go.  

“I’m not sure what’s the right time, when’s the right time. Are they ready? I don’t know, but I think the opportunity is there for them to come up and pitch well and make a statement on being part of the summer plans.”

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