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Tigers 2013 Player Preview: Will these bullpen pitchers contribute?

It's no secret that our timing with this series was a bit off. There are too many players on the 40-man roster to finish the series in time for pitchers and catchers reporting. UNLESS we cheated by combining a few players into one post. The time to cheat is at hand.


Good afternoon! There are now 25 days remaining until spring training. These pitchers are on the 40-man roster. They might contribute in some fashion in 2013 -- but probably not in any dramatic fashion if they do. So they're combined into one post.

Kyle Lobstein

The 23-year-old left-hander arrived a trade with the Mets, who took him in the Rule 5 draft. Lobstein must remain on the Tigers' active roster in 2013 or be offered back to his original club, the Rays.

He spent 2011 at Double-A, striking out 8.1 batters per nine innings but continuing to battle issues with walks. He has spent his entire career, save for one appearance, as a starter. The Tigers obviously do not see him in that role any further, as the rotation is loaded, so he'll be have to serve as middle or long relief in Detroit.

How that goes for him, we shall see. You never really know, though often pitchers do show an improvement in their numbers when they only have to gear up for a short stint. It's hard to see him lasting the full year in the Tigers' pen, but I can't rule out the possibility.

Jose Ortega

Jose Ortega

#56 / Pitcher / Detroit Tigers





Oct 12, 1988

The 24-year-old right-hander made his MLB debut last season, sticking around for just 2 2/3 innings and two appearances. He struck out four of 13 batters faced, walked one and gave up three hits -- including a home run. Obviously not the best guide to use when projecting the future.

Ortega worked his way up from Venezuela Summer League, hitting all the major farm stops in the Tigers' system across 2011-12. His success was mixed in the lower levels and downright unsuccessful at Triple-A Toledo: A 6.30 ERA in 2011 across 50 innings hardly led one to believe Ortega would arrive in the big leagues a year later.

He has a few issues statistically: He doesn't miss quite as many bats as you'd like him to, but he misses the strike zone more than you'd like. Even during the season he was invited to the MLB he struggled, offering a 5.74 ERA in 2012 with a WHIP higher than 2. While WHIP may not be the best stat out there for pitchers, needless to say being 2+ is far from ideal.

That Ortega remains on the 40-man roster surprises me. I do not see any reason for optimism in 2013 and suspect he'll find himself removed from the roster sooner than later.

Melvin Mercedes

Melvin Mercedes

#0 / Pitcher / Detroit Tigers





Nov 02, 1990

The 22-year-old right-hander doesn't miss a lot of bats. That's what stands out to me. He has not pitched about Advanced-A Lakeland and has been a fixture with Low-A West Michigan for a few years. With a strikeouts-per-nine innings rate of 5.4-6 during the past two seasons, one can't help but feel pessimistic. He does seem to be getting his control in order, walking 3.3 per nine last year.

However, the native of the Dominican does have the extenuating circumstance of having Tommy John Surgery in 2010, and his ERA was a crisp 2.80 in 2012. Proclaiming himself a "big fan," our optimistic friend Brian Sakowski takes a scouting point of view that Mercedes is well on his way into blossoming into a late-innings pitcher. I may not be from Missouri, but I take a "show-me" attitude when it comes to prospects, especially ones whose peripherals look like Mercedes. I want to see meaningful results, not hear talk about tools.

If he continues to boast a low ERA and if the Tigers' depth chart in the bullpen, really grows thin, maybe he'll get a quick shot. However, it's best not to worry much about Mercedes in 2013.