The Detroit Tigers appear to have their 2016 Opening Day roster set when they head not north, but south to start the season down in Miami.
One of the biggest keynotes during spring training for all 30 Major League Baseball clubs is the competition at various positions on the roster, most notably with up-and-coming minor leaguers ready to break through and make it in the show. For the Tigers as their 2016 campaign begins, the only two real surprises to make the Opening Day roster are Buck Farmer and Logan Kensing, who are filling out the final two bullpen spots with Alex Wilson and Blaine Hardy starting the season on the disabled list.
Farmer, 25, is still a pitcher the Tigers have high hopes for. He was rushed to the big leagues in 2014 and has yet to find any sort of groove. In 18 big league games and seven starts, Farmer has compiled an 8.15 ERA. Kensing, 33, was a non-roster invitee and performed well enough to make the big league club for the time being. The Tigers will be the fifth team for the journeyman Kensing’s ninth big league season, who posted a 2.61 ERA in 10.1 IP this spring.
Also filling up bullpen spots are Drew VerHagen and Kyle Ryan, two more young pitchers who have shown multiple glimpses of high promise in their brief periods at the big league level.
Another thing to keep an eye on as the season gets underway is the fifth starter spot. For now, Shane Greene is at the back of that rotation after putting together an impressive 1.86 ERA in nearly 20 innings of work this spring coupled with the injury and slowed development of prospect Daniel Norris, who will also start the season on the DL.
So what about the rest of the players in the Tigers’ organization down on the farm? Some came up just short of making the show and will start down in the minors with the opportunity to prove themselves and potentially make an impact with Detroit during the season.