The Detroit Tigers organization is not known for its minor league depth. In fact, its system ranks as one of the worst in all of Major League Baseball. Regardless, a number of interesting minor league pitchers were added to the Tigers’ 40-man roster recently, in order to protect those players from the Rule 5 Draft on Dec. 11.
Zach Simons, who was originally drafted by the Rockies in the second round of the 2005 draft and traded to Detroit this past season for veteran reliever Jason Grilli, had an intriguing season. In High-A ball for Detroit, Simons allowed just 29 hits (.166 average) in 53.1 innings of work. Oddly though, he allowed more walks than hits, with 30. Simons also fanned 61 batters. He has a low-90s sinking fastball that tops out around 94 mph, along with a slider and change-up. Coming out of community college, Simons was a starter who was converted to the bullpen after a disastrous 2006 season, when he allowed 134 hits in 111.2 innings and posted an ERA of 6.29. After the 2008 regular season, Simons was assigned to the Arizona Fall League where he allowed 12 hits and seven walks in 13 innings. He struck out just six batters but impressed Detroit enough to earn a spot on the 40-man roster.
Guillermo Moscoso was another name that came out of left field for a lot of Tigers fans, when he was added to the 40-man roster. His name was not even mentioned in the winter of 2007 or spring of 2008 as one of Detroit’s top prospects. Moscoso’s 2008 season changed that, though. The 25-year-old right-hander allowed just 36 hits in 52 High-A innings, as well as rates of 2.25 BB/9 and 12.46 K/9. Upon a promotion to Double-A, Moscoso allowed 24 hits in 34.2 innings, with rates of 2.08 BB/9 and 12.98 K/9. The talent was always obvious, as he pitched a perfect game in Short Season ball in 2007. He throws an 88-92 mph fastball, along with an average curveball and change-up.
The third pitcher added to the 40-man roster was Alfredo Figaro, a right-hander who posted a 12-2 record in A-ball before struggling upon a promotion to High-A. At the lower level, he allowed 99 hits in 123 innings of work. He also posted rates of 2.20 BB/9 and 7.02 K/9. In High-A, Figaro allowed 37 hits in 29.1 innings and his walk rate jumped significantly to 3.68 BB/9. He is still raw but Detroit likes his fastball (which touches 94 mph) and curveball. He also has as developing change-up.
All three pitchers remain raw but they offer some much-needed talent to the weak system.
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