Saturday, February 25, 2012

Drew Smyly Is the Right Candidate for the No. 5 Spot

After acquiring Prince Fielder, the Tigers still had questions heading into the season, but they were questions that the other 29 teams would love to have. The main question was who would take the mound every fifth day - when your team is concerned about their fifth starter, there are good things happening.

Many names have been bandied about from Jacob Turner to Duane Below, but the name that has started to gain some traction, and for good reason, is Drew Smyly. Smyly, 22, was a second round pick of the Tigers in the 2010 Draft and has spent his time in Lakeland and Erie.

Smyly stands 6'3" and weighs in at 190 lbs., but one of the most important features that Smyly has is that he is a southpaw. Detroit has solid pitching in the rotation already, but it is all right-handed, meaning that the ideal candidate for the No. 5 spot is a lefty.

Not only is Smyly a lefty, but he is a very good lefty. While in Lakeland, Smyly posted numbers that are quite impressive - a 7-3 record with a 2.58 ERA and a 1.145 WHIP which is bolstered by a 8.6 K/9. While those numbers are impressive, any MLB general manager will tell you that Double-A ball is the toughest stop in the minors and Smyly has proved that he can dominate the competition in Erie.

In the final seven starts of his season, Smyly suited up for the Erie SeaWolves and posted a 4-3 record and an outstanding 1.18 ERA and a 1.029 WHIP, he even increased his K/9 to 10.4. Frequently pitchers struggle when they move from high Single-A ball to Double-A, but Smyly did just the opposite, he got better.

Tigers stud prospect Turner proved his worth in Double-A and received several spot starts with the big league team in 2011, proving that General Manager Dave Dombrowski has no problem bringing Double-A pitchers to the majors. And with the potential that Smyly is showing in the minors and in Spring Training, there is no question that he needs to be wearing the Olde English "D."

While his numbers are impressive and he very well could be the No. 5 starter this season, many Tigers fans don't know who Smyly is, and as such he is very accessible at Spring Training. And like any good athlete he makes time for the loyal Tigers fans who have done their homework and know who he is.

Check out Smyly at Spring Training in this video provided by Steve St. Germain.

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