Tigers general manager Al Avila was busy Thursday afternoon when he signed two players to minor league deals: right-handed reliever Kevin Comer and utility player Niko Goodrum.
Comer was drafted out of high school in the first round (57th overall) by the Blue Jays in the 2011 amateur draft. Since then he has posted an ERA of 4.28, WHIP of 1.40, and strikeouts per nine of 8.5 across six minor league seasons. In 2017 he was in the Astros farm system and split time between Double-A and Triple-A, though most of his season was spent at the latter. In 45 games he pitched 66 2⁄3 innings, compiling a 3.51 ERA and 1.49 WHIP. The highlight stat? He had 10.7 strikeouts per nine innings in 2017. Paul Braverman of the Fresno Grizzlies (Houston’s Triple-A team) said he wouldn’t be surprised to see Comer get a call-up in 2018.
Goodrum was drafted by the Minnesota Twins out of high school in the second round of the 2010 amateur draft. In eight minor league seasons he has a .250 average and .333 on-base percentage. In 2017 he played in Triple-A and a bit with the Twins at the major league level. His MLB stats aren’t impressive — one hit and 10 strikeouts in 18 plate appearance. With the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings he hit .265 with 13 home runs and five triples in 127 games. He also played every position except catcher, and his infield and outfield playing time are almost equal.