After three games it is clear, the Detroit Tigers starting pitching looks like the strength of the team

The Detroit Tigers won two of three games from the Cleveland Indians. Sure it was only three games, but there is reason for optimism. The Tigers got 16 innings from their starting pitching. In those 16 innings the Tigers starters gave up just three earned runs. At that clip, the Tigers will win a lot of series.

Three games does not make or break a season. It is however, a look at the trajectory the Detroit Tigers are on. Facing a talented Cleveland Indians lineup, Tiger pitchers got to work.

LAKELAND, FLORIDA – MARCH 12: Julio Teheran #50 of the Detroit Tigers delivers a pitch in the first inning against the New York Yankees during a spring training game on March 12, 2021 at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Opening day Detroit pitcher Matthew Boyd got the start. Going 5.2 innings Boyd gave up 3 hits and had 2 strike outs. Boyd looked good as he threw all of his pitches and painted the corners. This is good news for Boyd who has endured two seasons of struggles.

Game 2 of the series saw the Detroit Tigers turn to Julio Teheran. Teheran went 5.0 innings giving up 4 hits, 1 run, 1 earned run with 3 strike outs. Not a bad start, again much like Matthew Boyd, Julio Teheran threw his pitches and hit the zone. He did a good job for the most part keeping Indian batters off-balance.

In Sunday’s loss, the Tigers turned to rookie left handed pitcher Tarik Skubal. Skubal is one of the Tigers organization top pitching prospects and a top 25 MLB prospect. Skubal had a strong outing. Going 5.1 innings, Skubal gave up 4 hits, 2 runs, 2 earned runs with 4 strike outs.

DETROIT, MI – AUGUST 29: Rookie pitcher Tarik Skubal #42 of the Detroit Tigers delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the third inning of game two of a doubleheader at Comerica Park on August 29, 2020, in Detroit, Michigan. Skubal recorded his first major league win in the Tigers 4-2 victory over the Twins. All players are wearing #42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day. The day honoring Jackie Robinson, traditionally held on April 15, was rescheduled for August 28 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to Friday’s postponed game, Robinson will be honored during today’s game. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

Tarik Skubal had a tough first inning and then reached back and showed how mentally tough he is. So often with young pitchers when they go through a tough inning things tend to unravel. After a tough first inning Skubal maintained his composure.

Detroit Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said he wants all pitchers to attack the strike zone. Three games played three starting pitchers followed through with what Hinch wants. This is a positive. Hinch is setting the expectations for all Detroit Tigers pitchers. No matter if the are in Detroit or the minor leagues.

This can do nothing but help the organization moving forward.

Detroit Tigers pitcher Tarik Skubal is adding a new pitch and it could mean big things

Detroit Tigers pitching prospect Tarik Skubal made some starts last season in Detroit. As with many rookie pitchers, Skubal was up and down. Yet after some rough starts, Skubal started to figure things out and showed that he is close to being a very good starting pitcher. As one of the Detroit Tigers top pitching prospects Skubal seemed to have separated himself from the others. Now heading into the 2021 season, Tarik Skubal is adding a pitch to go with his other plus pitches.

This offseason, Tarik Skubal starting off trying to add a changeup to his pitching repertoire. Unsatisfied with the results he was getting, Skubal  changed gears and went in another direction. Like Detroit Tigers other top ranked pitching prospect Casey Mize, Skubal is working on adding a splitfinger fastball.

DETROIT, MI – CIRCA 1985: Jack Morris #47 of the Detroit Tigers pitches during an Major League Baseball game circa 1985 at Tiger Stadium in Detroit, Michigan. Morris played for the Tigers from 1977-90. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

Tarik Skubal struck out 27.2% of the hitters he faced in the 2020 MLB season, 4.3  above league average for a starting pitcher. However there was a clear vulnerability to right handed hitters.  They hit nine of the home runs he allowed in 2020.

Skubal has a fastball early and often approach to pitching in general. A pitcher can get away with that in the minor leagues. In the major leagues it is totally different. A steady diet of fastballs first translates into a lot of baseball ending up in the stands. As Skubal witnessed last season.

When thrown correctly the splitfinger fastball can be a devastating out pitch. Much like the one Casey Mize throws and former Detroit Tigers pitching legend and Hall of Fame member Jack Morris threw.

While Tarik Skubal is still learning the pitch there are signs that he has it down. If a lefthanded pitcher like Skubal can master the splitter then suddenly the sky becomes the limit for what he will be able to do. It will also push his development forward quiet a bit.

Tarik Skubal has all of spring training and more than likely a few starts at Triple-A to hone the pitch. No matter how you slice it this can help both Skubal the the Detroit Tigers.

Detroit Tigers manager A.J. Hinch is “taking the kid gloves off” young pitchers

When current Detroit Tigers manager A.J. Hinch took over as manager of a young Houston Astros team who was starting to come out of a long rebuild (sound familiar?) he did so by unleashing the young Astros pitching staff. He did not limit pitches or put inning limits on the staff. Now on the first day of spring training, Hinch said he is going to do the same with young Tigers pitchers.

Just yesterday, Detroit Tigers General Manager, Al Avila said this will be the season that Matt Manning will be pitching in Detroit. Be it out of spring training or at some point early in the season. Manning will join top organization prospects Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal giving the Tigers and the fan base a true look at the future.

DETROIT, MI – AUGUST 29: Rookie pitcher Tarik Skubal #42 of the Detroit Tigers delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the third inning of game two of a doubleheader at Comerica Park on August 29, 2020, in Detroit, Michigan. Skubal recorded his first major league win in the Tigers 4-2 victory over the Twins. All players are wearing #42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day. The day honoring Jackie Robinson, traditionally held on April 15, was rescheduled for August 28 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to Friday’s postponed game, Robinson will be honored during today’s game. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

Back to A.J. Hinch. This would appear on the surface to be a case of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Meaning, If “taking the kid gloves off” young Tigers pitching prospects worked in Houston then Hinch is hedging a bet it will work again in Detroit.

New Tigers pitching coach Chris Fetter will be charged with overseeing the talented group of young arms. Yet, Fetter will be getting instructions from Hinch. The age old question in baseball is how do you handle young pitchers?

Both Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal, spent time with the Tigers last summer. Both top pitching prospects took the typical rookie pitching lumps. With time under their belts the two enter spring training with a spot in the Tigers starting rotation.

CHICAGO – AUGUST 19: Casey Mize #12 of the Detroit Tigers pitches during his Major League debut against the Chicago White Sox on August 19, 2020 at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images)

Like the Detroit Tigers veteran pitchers, Mize and Skubal will not be limited. A.J. Hinch feels that the way young pitchers get better is by innings pitched and allowing the pitcher to fall flat on their face when they have a bad outing. That is how pitchers learn.

This is one storyline to keep an eye on during spring training and into the 2021 Detroit Tigers season.

Two prospects help the Detroit Tigers win the series against the Cleveland Indians

Sunday against the Cleveland Indians the Detroit Tigers watched two of the organizations top prospects pave the way for a series win. Left-handed starting pitcher Tarik Skubal and third baseman Isaac Paredes. Giving a look at what is to come for Tigers baseball.

Sunday’s game started much the way Tarik Skubal’s first start, started. A home run. This time however Skubal did not buckle or get held up in the home run. Instead, Skubal dug in and showed flashes of why he was such a fast riser in the Detroit Tigers minor league system.

In 2 1/3 innings pitched (due to a pitch count) Skubal showed his competitiveness. Striking out five Indians batters four of which wiffed on Skubal’s elusive fastball. Skubal only allowed three hits and one walk. Showing better control this time out.

Tarik Skubal looked confident as he mixed his pitch’s much better in his second major league start.

On the flip side, Detroit Tigers prospect Isaac Paredes has shown to be getting more and more relaxed and confident the more at-bats he has. Friday night at Progressive Field facing the Cleveland Indians not only did the young Paredes hit his first major league home run, the home run happened to be a grand slam.

Sunday, Paredes continued his progression. Paredes had two left field singles and a double to deep left field in a 3 for 4 afternoon. This is a surprise to no one inside the Tigers organization. Paredes has been touted as a solid contact hitter with some pop in his bat.

As Tigers fans watch some of the clubs top prospects take their first major league steps, they can not help but be encouraged by what they have seen. With no Matt Manning as of yet, both Tarik Skubal and Casey Mize have shown well.

While Isaac Paredes has Detroit  fans dreaming of a time when he and Tigers prospects Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene make up the middle of the batting order.

The series win was sweet for the Detroit Tigers and the Tigers fan base. Because prospects led the charge.

Previously unranked Detroit Tigers prospect Tarik Skubal is turning heads

Embed from Getty Images The Detroit Tigers drafted lefthander Tarik Skubal in the ninth round in 2018, Skubal has opened eyes as a pitcher with the potential to join top prospects Casey Mize and Matt Manning,  something no one saw coming.

Starting the season with the Lakeland Flying Tigers, Tarik Skubal put up some lofty numbers. Skubal was 4 wins 5 losses, but as I keep saying wins and losses do not matter for pitching prospects. The rest of Skubal’s numbers are crazy, In 15 games pitched the young prospect had 19 walks and 97 strikeouts.

Tarik Skubal was recently promoted to Double-A Erie. Pitching like he did not miss a beat. In 3 starts for the Seawolves, the southpaw has walked 4 while striking out 34. Turning the heads of scouts and general managers everywhere.

A ninth round draft pick, Skubal was drafted out of Seattle University.  The 22 year old Skubal had Tommy John surgery in 2016. In a minor league systems that has some great arms, one national scout said Tarik Skubal has the best arm in the Detroit Tigers system. High praise. Yet Skubal is backing the praise up.

Having cleaned up his fastball velocity Tarik now has consistency pitch in and pitch out, start after start. The Tigers were going to develop the left handed pitcher and use him out of the bullpen. Quality start after quality start has now shifted the Detroit Tigers into leaving Skubal in as a starter.

The question now is where does Tarik Skubal fit in the Tigers prospect rankings? While he is only 22 years old. Other Tigers prospects are more seasoned and are ranked appropriately. Given that, and his high ceiling factored by his walks to strikeouts, Skubal lands at #17.

As he moves forward in his development should he stay on his current trajectory, Tarik should end the season close to if not in the top 10 Tigers prospects.

A draft risk coming off of major surgery and an up and down senior year in high school. The Detroit Tigers have a left handed pitcher who looks like a draft pick steal, certainly the Tigers are getting tremendous value out of the pick.

One more reason Tigers fans should relax. It is going to be fun again soon at Comerica Park.

Tarik Skubal, maybe the steal of 2018 draft for the Detroit Tigers

Embed from Getty Images For the Detroit Tigers the 2018 MLB draft, most of the focus has been on Casey Mize, the first-overall selection. For good reason. Other players from the draft class have generated headlines and buzz: outfielder Parker Meadows (second round), second baseman Kody Clemens (third round) and outfielder Brock Deatherage (10th round).

It is starting to look like the Tigers found a gem in the ninth round.  A pitcher who keeps turning heads: Tarik Skubal, a left-handed pitcher, whose fastball touches 95 m.p.h.

Skubal has 41 strikeouts for Single-A Lakeland, that not only leads the Florida State League but ranks 10th in all of minor league baseball. Skubal was a 2015 College Baseball Freshman All American at Seattle University. Skubal redshirted in 2017 while recovering from Tommy John surgery. He came back and regained his velocity, recording 106 strikeouts in 80 innings but fought and struggled with his command, walking 56. Those walks might have scared off other teams, but the Detroit Tigers scouts saw enough in the left handed pitcher and took him in the ninth round.

Since  joining the Tigers,Tarik Skubal  has had no control issues. He bounced through three levels of the minor leagues last year, dominating along the way. If Tarik continues to develop, at his current rate it will be an all out draft pick steal for the Tigers organization.

It is not often players selected ninth round turn out in the major leagues. This is different. Tarik Skubal is starting to look like the Tigers found a gem.