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While Oliver may not offer the upside of Jacob Turner, he should be a capable mid-rotation starter.
The Tigers have also quietly assembled a very talented group of pitchers in their minor leagues.
It begins with Jacob Turner, one of the top right-handed starters in the minors. Turner is a future stud who projects as the No. 2 guy behind Justin Verlander. He has excellent velocity (up to 97 mph), throws both a two- and a four-seamer, and complements them both with a curveball that made great strides last year.
Turner has amazing polish and could make his big league debut before the end of this year. He's already proven capable of carving up Double-A hitters, to the tune of a 2.58 ERA and 32 Ks in 38.2 innings.
After Turner, the Tigers have a capable starter in Andy Oliver. Oliver made a few starts with the big league club last season and got hit pretty hard, but he has rebounded nicely in 2011, posting a 3.19 ERA in six Triple-A starts. It's only a matter of time before he rejoins the rotation for good.
The Tigers also have Casey Crosby, one of the more talented lefties in the game. After a stellar 2009 season, Crosby was felled with pain leftover from his TJ surgery back in 2008. He made only three starts in 2010, but has bounced back to make six already in Double-A. He's performed OK but rarely flashed that same killer instinct that made him so un-hittable a few years ago.
The Tigers have one of the top relief prospects in 2010 supplemental first-rounder Chance Ruffin. The 22-year-old figured to be a quick fix for the big league bullpen and he's on the verge of a promotion to Triple-A after only 11 pro outings. He's got a 0.90 ERA and has nine Ks and three saves in 10 innings. Ruffin has the chance to be the Tigers' long-term answer at closer.
Drew Smyly was the team's second-round pick last June, and has been serviceable in his pro debut, giving up too many hits, but posting solid strikeout numbers.
Beyond their top 10, the Tigers have Jose Ortega, a talented Venezuelan who can crank up his fastball to 98 mph. Ortega has worked his way to Triple-A, but is currently on the DL. They also have Adam Wilk, a seasoned starter who has worked his way to Toledo in fewer than two full seasons. He's been great in six starts and may earn his way to Detroit come September.
They also have flamethrower Bruce Rondon, who was sensational in the closer's role for the Tigers' GCL squad last year. He made the jump directly to High-A and has been just as brilliant, getting 21 strikeouts in 13 innings, along with three saves.
Duane Below, Matt Hoffman and Lester Oliveros give the Tigers solid depth while Kyle Ryan and Cole Nelson, two 2010 late-round picks, provide a bit of upside.
Last but not least, the Tigers have gotten a huge boost from 2007 fourth-round pick Charlie Furbush. The lefty has regained some velocity since having TJ surgery back in 2008, and has flourished, reaching Triple-A and pacing the squad with 41 strikeouts in 33.1 innings. He already has two complete games to his name, one of which came with seven shutout innings of one-hit ball and nine strikeouts.