Detroit Tigers Will Reportedly Call Up Buck Farmer and John Hicks When Rosters Expand

Detroit Tigers fans have seen the team rebound as of late. JaCoby Jones provided a spark as Detroit swept Chicago. With the stretch run coming, the team will start to call up players when rosters expand.

Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila has done an excellent job building depth in his first season in charge of the club.

The team’s depth, one of the main reasons the Tigers struggled mightily last season, has been key. Jones, Michael Fulmer, Matt Boyd, Bruce Rondon and Daniel Norris all started the season in the minors, but are now contributing in a pennant chase.

It hasn’t just been the youngsters either. Avila has brought in veteran options like Casey McGehee, Erick Aybar and Dustin Molleken to augment the current roster.

Now, with rosters set to expand in September, the Tigers can bring some of that depth to the Major League level.

According to a tweet from MLB.com’s Jason Beck, the club will make pitcher Buck Farmer and catcher John Hicks.

The reporter tweeted, “Tigers will call up Buck Farmer and John Hicks Friday, first round of September roster expansion. Next round after minor-league season ends.”

Not a Shock Move on Either Account

Neither move would be particularly surprising.

Farmer would provide Detroit with useful pitching depth. The former top prospect has pitched out of the bullpen with the Tigers this season, but has started in Toledo.

Detroit Tigers

Mar 28, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Buck Farmer (45) pitches during the first inning of a spring training baseball game against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Because of this, he would be able to eat multiple innings, or even make a spot start or two if called upon.

With Fulmer, Boyd and Norris’ respective pitch and inning counts coming into play, Farmer could be extremely valuable. So far in the Majors, he’s pitched to a 3.94 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 16 innings pitched. Those 16 innings have so far spanned 10 appearances.

Hicks’ potential call up isn’t surprising for a number of reasons. One, is that every team likely needs a third catcher for added depth down the stretch.

The former fourth-round draft pick provides that depth. In 70 games with the Mud Hens, Hick is hitting .303 with 42 RBI, 20 doubles, eight home runs and only 59 strikeouts.

Avila could have found another hidden gem in the 27-year-old, who could eventually replace Jarrod Saltalamacchia as James McCann’s long-term backup. 

Hicks’ addition also allows manager Brad Ausmus more positional flexibility. With Hicks on the bench, Saltalamacchia can play first base more, or be available to pinch-hit earlier in games.

Obviously, Miguel Cabrera will receive the lion’s share of the playing time at first, but if Ausmus wants to give him a day off, the man commonly referred to as “Salty” could step in. In this scenario, the bench wouldn’t be without a catcher thanks to Hicks.

Potential further call ups

Considering how often Detroit has had to call for reinforcements, it wouldn’t be a shock to see a number of players who’ve already suited up for the Tigers rejoin the team. Dixon Machado, Steven Moya, Molleken, Alex Presley and Anthony Gose could all return to Detroit.

What’s more, Boyd and McGehee will likely return as well. The duo were optioned to the minors recently to make room for JaCoby Jones and Blaine Hardy. Both Boyd and McGehee could play important roles down the stretch.

Donn Roach is another name to watch. The pitcher was claimed off waivers from Seattle earlier in the season and is already on the 40-man roster. So far, in four starts with Toledo, the right-hander is 2-1 with a 3.09 ERA in 23.1 innings pitched.

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