Grading the Tigers Part 2: The Pitchers

Chris Castellani

Chris Castellani

I just want to preface part two by saying that a made a bit of a blunder in part one. I forgot to give Anthony Gose a grade. I don’t know what happened, I just forgot. So before I get started I’ll just go ahead and give Anthony a “C” (though I give my screw up an F minus). Okay, now it’s time for me to grade this incredible pitching staff.

Alex Wilson
Grade: B+
Wilson was one of the few bright spots on a pitching staff that was dreadful for most of the year. Over the last month of the season, Wilson’s shoulder was clearly not one hundred percent. He was used far too often and I think his arm just ran out of juice. Wilson kept a sub two ERA for a majority of the season and he’s pretty much a lock for a spot in the bullpen next season.

Justin Verlander
Grade: B
I was ready to throw in the towel on JV. I was just finished. But Verlander proved a lot of people, including me, wrong. Last eleven starts: 4-4 2.12 ERA. Unfortunately, his offense decided not to score any runs for him. The Tigers scored two or fewer runs in nine of Verlander’s twenty starts, a big reason why he ended the season with a lousy 5-8 record. It’s a shame the offense couldn’t do their job when JV toed the slab. If they would’ve, Justin probably would’ve received higher marks.

Daniel Norris
Grade: B-
I like this kid a lot. It’s ironic that we traded him for David Price considering that’s kind of who he reminds me of. He’s obviously got a long ways to go to achieve David Price status but much like Price, he’s a hard throwing, tall, left hander with a good presence on the mound. I’d say he’s a lock for a spot in next year’s rotation.

Blaine Hardy
Grade: B-
Hardy and Wilson were the two lone bright spots in the Tigers bullpen this season. And much like Wilson, Hardy lost a bit of steam in the last month of the season. He’s not going to blow anyone away with his fastball but he’s reliable enough to have earned my trust for the near foreseen future.

Drew VerHagen
Grade: B-
I think this kid’s got moxie. I really hope he continues to develop because he could really be a weapon as a long relief pitcher. The only reason his grade isn’t higher is because he never pitched in any meaningful games.

Al Albuquerque
Grade: C-
If James McCann has a baseball IQ that is through the roof, then Al Al’s is under the floorboard. I don’t mean to accuse a player of being stupid, but I just don’t think this guy understands the art of pitching. You can afford to do that if you’ve got a nasty arsenal of pitches, but that’s not the case anymore for Al. The only thing more annoying than his walks are his balks. Yes, the balks. The balk, balk, balk, balk, BALK, BALK, BALKS! I swear this guy doubled the MLB total for balks this season. Every so often he’ll show flashes of greatness, but in a clutch situation, I trust Al about as far as I can throw him.

Alfredo Simon
Grade: C-
There was no pitcher in baseball more dominating and yet more hittable than Alfredo Simon in 2015. What do I mean by this? Take a look at the pitching splits. In games in which he earned a win, Simon’s ERA was 1.97. In losses and no decisions his ERA was 7.74. He had some personal issues doing the season that caused him to miss a few starts. Obviously, I can’t begrudge him for that. I also give him credit for trying to pitch through injury in the second half. But the only thing consistent about the “Pasta-farian” (I’m proud of myself for coming up with that one) is that he’s wildly inconsistent. I wouldn’t mind if the Tigers resigned Simon, but only as a back end of the rotation piece. He’s far too unreliable to be considered a top of the line starter.

Kyle Ryan
Grade: C-
Is there such thing as a positive C minus? If there is, then this would be it. Ryan showed quite a bit of improvement in September. He seemed to find his identity as a pitcher. His off speed stuff had a sharper break to it, and his cutter is developing into a legitimate swing-and-miss pitch. If he continues to improve, I wouldn’t be against seeing him in next year’s rotation.

Anibal Sanchez
Grade: C-
It was a poor year for Sanchez. Despite a period in June/July where it seemed he had recovered from a rough start (going 7-0 with a 3.18 ERA) Sanchez quickly returned to his early season form. He missed the last month and a half and yet he still led the American League in home runs allowed. To me, that’s a sign of a pitcher who
A) Is washed up
B) Isn’t healthy
I really hope it was the latter. I like watching Sanchez pitch when he is on. The effort is still there, and at moments the stuff in his arsenal seemed to be well above average, he just needs to keep the ball in the park.

Matt Boyd
Grade: D
Boyd showed a tiny bit of promise at points, but when he got rocked he got rocked badly. I don’t really see him ever being an ace but I won’t leave out the possibility of him being a fourth or fifth starter in the near future.

Kyle Lobstein
Grade: D
This one is upsetting to me. I thought Lobstein was good for the most part in the first few months, but his return from injury was a disaster. I hope he’s able to bounce back, because I think there’s a spot for him somewhere in the major leagues, whether it be as a starter or a reliever.

Neftali Feliz
Grade: D
If this guy wants to continue to pitch in the majors, he needs to make an adjustment. He’s not the flamethrower that he once was. He needs to check his ego at the door and make a change, or else he’ll be out of the league pretty soon.

Ian Krol
Grade: D-
For what I’ve heard, the Tigers are baffled about the fact that Ian hasn’t developed into a solid major league reliever. He was good in the minors, he was good in spring training, but he just hasn’t been good in the majors. I’m starting to think he probably never will be.

Buck Farmer
Grade: D-
I’ve just seen nothing from this kid that would make me think he’d be a major league pitcher. They put him in the rotation, they put him in the bullpen, and he wasn’t particularly good in either spot. I’ll give him another shot but my patience is wearing this in regards to ole’ Bucky.

Tom Gorzelanny
Grade: D-
This one is very simple, we paid Gorzo to pitch against lefties, and he couldn’t pitch against lefties. He had one job, and he couldn’t do it. The only reason he didn’t receive a straight up “F” is because he showed a slight improvement over the last month, posting a 2.89 ERA in September.

Randy Wolf
Grade: N/A
I can’t rip a thirty nine year-old who the Tigers plucked from the Blue Jays minor league system. We thought he’d be bad, he was pretty bad, but he seemed to be a really positive influence on the young guys in the clubhouse so I’m not going to be too hard on the guy.

Bruce Rondon
Grade: F
If I had to say one positive about this year’s Tigers team, it would be that as bad as they were, they never quit. Even when they knew that they had no shot of making the playoffs, they still continued to compete. The same can’t be said about this punk. I don’t know where Bruce got this sense of entitlement but allow me to let you in on a little secret, BRUCE RONDON HAS ACCOMPLISHED JACK SQUAT IN THE MAJOR LEAGUES! So far, he’s been a massive disappointment. I’m willing to give him another chance, but if this lack of effort thing comes up again, then cut him.

So that’s all she wrote for now. What do you guys think? You can tell me on Twitter. Peace and happiness everyone, go Tigers!

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