I know this is old news in the relative sense, but Justin Verlander was chosen as the Tigers fifth starter. I originally wanted to draw parallels between Verlander and Jeremy Bonderman in 2003, but the two don’t really match. Jeremy Bonderman had never played in college and the top level he had played was Single A. Verlander had a chunk of time at AA Erie and even two so-so starts at the big league level AND played college ball.
What I’m hoping doesn’t happen is something similar to 2005 and Wil Ledezma. Ledezma was hit hard and early and got sent down, where he continued to struggle (and developed, from what I understand, a little bit of an attitude). I’m not sure of Verlanders makeup, but in just looking at his numbers last year, he doesn’t have a ton to prove in the minors.
Joel Zumaya also appears to have made the cut and he’ll be coming out of the pen. Earl Weaver always liked to develop his pitchers by giving them a season out of the bullpen and he’s one of the masters so I like this decision. It gives Zumaya a chance to face some big league pitching and hopefully it will get him ready for a spot in the rotation in 2007. Regardless, a Zumaya, Franklyn German, Fernando Rodney, Jamie Walker, and Todd Jones bullpen doesn’t sound “that” bad to me.
Of course it’s only a little over a week until the season starts. You can wipe the slate clean beginning April 3.