Kyle Funkhouser, Beau Burrows, and Rony Garcia have all made the Detroit Tigers’ Opening Day roster and will make their MLB debut when they first toe the rubber this season.
Garcia is the least touted arm of the three as he was a Rule 5 selection from the New York Yankees this past winter. He has been a starter in all but three of his appearances in the minors, but he will likely work out of the bullpen for the Tigers. He mixes in a fastball that runs up to 96 with an above-average curve and cutter. To find his way into a big-league rotation his command and change both need to improve significantly, otherwise he will settle in as a reliever who can eat a couple innings when needed.
Funkhouser was once very highly thought of, being selected 35th overall by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2015 but went unsigned. He returned to Louisville but suffered from injuries and wound up falling to the fourth round. He has been inconsistent and had an injury-plagued minor league career, but the Tigers have decided to give him a go at the big-league level to start the season. He has been used exclusively as a starter since signing with the Tigers, and he could very well slide into the rotation this season for a team with no expectations of competing for a playoff spot despite the expanded playoff picture. His best secondary offering is his slider, although he has a solid change. He has shown glimpses of a curve, but it is not big league ready.
Burrows has the brightest future of the three for me but is another I am unsure of his future role. In the rotation, he has four pitches with a slider being the weak link of the four. His command isn’t fantastic as he has walked nearly three and a half per nine in his minor league career. If he is moved to the bullpen, his fastball could likely sit in the 95-96 range with more regularity, and his curve-change combo of secondary offerings would play quite well. I could see him becoming a high-leverage reliever and thriving in the role, but all indications are the Tigers want to give him a shot to stick as a starter.