Feb 21, 2016; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers pitcher Mark Lowe (21) and starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) high five fans on their way to practice at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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Detroit Tigers players will report to Spring Training this month. With a roster featuring a significant number of carryovers, here is a look at the club’s 22 non-roster invitees heading into Major League camp.
Detroit Tigers fans will likely see a very similar starting lineup next season.
Feb 23, 2016; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Joe Jimenez (77) warms up during the Detroit Tigers spring training camp at Joker Merchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Notable Pitching Prospects
Joe Jimenez Age: 22 Throws: Right-Handed Role: Relief Pitcher
One of Detroit’s most promising pitching prospects, Joe Jimenez could finally make his Major League debut this season.
The flame-throwing reliever made the jump from Lakeland to Toledo last season, notching a 1.51 ERA and 13.1 punch outs per nine innings along the way.
He’ll have competition from Bruce Rondon and others, but Jimenez may just be the Tigers’ closer of the future.
Sep 2, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Edward Mujica (49) pitches the ball against the Los Angeles Angels during the sixth inning at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Perhaps the most intriguing veteran signed by Detroit in the offseason, Edward Mujica was an All-Star as recently as 2013.
During the campaign, he turned in a 2.78 ERA and 37 saves for the St. Louis Cardinals. Overall, the reliever owns a 3.85 ERA and a 3.88 FIP in 546.2 lifetime innings.
The veteran won’t post gaudy strikeout numbers, as evidenced by his career strikeout rate of 7.0 per nine innings. However, he doesn’t walk many batters (1.5 career free passes per nine innings) either.
Apr 9, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Logan Kensing (67) pitches in the eighth inning against the New York Yankees at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
The Detroit Tigers have done a solid job of producing catchers in recent memory, with Alex Avila and James McCann both making an impact at the Major League level.
Grayson Greiner could be the next backstop to come out of Detroit’s farm system.
The 24-year-old hit .293 with 25 extra-base hits over three minor league stops last season. After ending the season with Toledo, there’s a real chance Greiner could make his Major League debut in the coming years.
He’d probably be a candidate to back up McCann in 2017 if it weren’t for the presence of Avila and James Hicks.
Long term, the 6’6” Greiner could end up being a fixture on Detroit’s bench.
May 10, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Kansas City Royals second baseman Omar Infante (14) hits a sacrifice fly to score left fielder Alex Gordon (not pictured) in the tenth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Kansas City won 2-1 in ten innings. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Dominic Ficociello Age: 24 Positions: First Base, Second Base, Third Base, Left Field Hits: Switch
Utility player prospects aren’t too common, but the Detroit Tigers have one in Dominic Ficociello.
A former 12th-round pick, the 24-year-old can play in both the infield and the outfield. He recently saw action in 123 games for Double-A Erie during the 2016 campaign.
Over the course of those contests, the utility player collected 105 hits, 53 runs scored, 38 RBI, 21 doubles, five home runs, five RBI, three triples and a 90 wRC+.
Omar Infante Age: 35 Positions: Second Base and Third Base Hits: Right-Handed Career WAR: 14.3
Perhaps the most notable of the non-roster invitees due to his familiarity, Omar Infante could be a bench candidate for the Tigers.
The 15-year veteran enjoyed some of his finest Major League seasons in a Detroit uniform. In fact, each of Detroit’s World Series rosters this century have featured Infante.
Since leaving the Tigers as a free agent following the 2013 season, Infante hit just .238 with a .269 on-base percentage in 298 games with Kansas City.
That same span failed to yield a wRC+ north of 75 for the longtime second baseman.
Detroit will likely be hoping for a return to the form that Infante showed in his previous stint in the Motor City.
The 35-year-old turned in a 3.1 WAR to go along with a 118 wRC+ in 2013. The 2013 campaign also included a .318 batting average, a .795 OPS, 51 RBI, 37 extra-base hits and five stolen bases for Infante.
Brendan Ryan Age: 34 Positions: Shortstop, Second Base and Third Base Hits: Right-Handed Career WAR: 8.3
Jun 24, 2015; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels left fielder Efren Navarro (19) makes the tag as Houston Astros right fielder George Springer (4) is picked off at first base in the eighth inning of the game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Angels won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
First Base/Corner Outfield Options
Efren Navarro Age: 30 Positions: First Base andLeft Field Hits: Left-Handed Career WAR: 0.5
A former 50th round selection in the 2007 draft by Anaheim, the first baseman went on to appear in 130 games with the Halos in parts of four seasons.
In a somewhat similar fashion to Ryan, Navarro brings value on defense.
He’s posted a 2.7 UZR and a 14.0 UZR/150 at first base. Additionally, his UZR and UZR/150 numbers in left field come in at 1.7 and 10.3 respectively.
Splitting time with Seattle and St. Louis’ respective Triple-A clubs last season, Navarro hit .275 with a .704 OPS. He also chipped in with 68 runs scored, 48 RBI and 26 extra-base hits.
Brett Pill Age: 30 Positions: First Base and Left Field Hits: Right-Handed Career WAR: 0.6
After appearing in parts of three seasons with the San Francisco Giants, Brett Pill signed in Korea with the Kia Tigers.
In three seasons, the first baseman hit over .300 with at least 19 home runs and 10 stolen bases. Pill’s best year came in 2015 when he appeared in 143 games for the Korean Baseball Organization club.
During the 2015 campaign, the former Giant hit .3255 with a .372 on-base percentage, a .517 slugging percentage and an .889 OPS.
The 30-year-old also added 101 RBI, 81 runs scored, 35 doubles, 22 home runs and 14 stolen bases.
Feb 27, 2016; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers player Mike Gerber during media photo day at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Gerber Age: 24 Positions: Right Field, Center Field and Left Field Hits: Left-Handed
Since joining the Detroit Tigers organization in 2014 as a 15th-round pick, Mike Gerber has done nothing but produce.
His debut season saw him make the jump all the way to West Michigan. During said campaign, the 24-year-old batted .298 with an .859 OPS.
The outfielder also chipped in with 44 runs scored, 42 RBI, 19 doubles, nine stolen bases, seven home runs and four triples.
Gerber would continue to stuff the stat sheet in his second season.
To go along with a .292 batting average and an .822 OPS, the Creighton product collected 76 RBI, 74 runs scored, 31 doubles, 16 stolen bases, 13 home runs and 10 triples in 135 games during the 2015 season.
Last season was, unsurprisingly, no different for Gerber in terms of production. The prospect turned in a .276 batting average and another OPS north of .800 at .811.
What’s more, the 24-year-old also contributed 80 RBI, 69 runs scored, eight stolen bases and six triples in just 132 games.
In another season with less outfield options, Gerber could be a dark horse to make the roster.
Mar 29, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Alex Presley (7) makes the running catch against the Cincinnati Reds in the fourth inning during a spring training game at Maryvale Baseball Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Alex Presley Age: 31 Positions: Left Field, Center Field and Right Field Hits: Left-Handed Career WAR: 0.7
A familiar face to Detroit Tigers fans from last season when he appeared in three games, Presley returns to the club as a non-roster invitee.
The 31-year-old only hit .198 in 50 contests split between Milwaukee and Detroit last season, he brings potential value as a bench outfielder.
If Presley can turn in numbers similar to those that he posted in 2011 and 2012 with Pittsburgh, the veteran could be a solid bench piece who can bring pop and speed.
In 156 games with the National League Central club from 2011 to 2012, the former Pirate hit .260 with a .428 slugging percentage. He also averaged 26 extra-base hits, 22 RBI and nine stolen bases a season.
Juan Perez Age: 30 Positions: Left Field, Center Field, Right Field, Second Base and Third base Hits: Right-Handed Career WAR: 1.3
Similar to Pill, Perez saw action in parts of three seasons with San Francisco. A former 13th-round pick of the Bay Area franchise in 2008, Perez can play all across the diamond.
Last season with the Cubs’ Triple-A club, the 30-year-old scored 52 runs while chipping in with 30 RBI, 22 extra-base hits and 12 stolen bases.