I'm shocked, as well as I'm really not that shocked the Tigers decided to name prospect Drew Smyly as their fifth starting pitcher. The Tigers always seem to promote pitching prospects before their natural progression through the minors is complete. They've done it with Justin Verlander, Rick Porcello, Andrew Miller, Andrew Oliver and Jacob Turner to name a few, and now it's Smyly's turn.
I'm just not sold this is the right move for Smyly's career. I think he is either going to stick in the rotation but post moderate numbers at best or end up back in the minors like Miller, Oliver and Turner have all had to do following their MLB debuts.
Smyly was outstanding in his first minor-league season in 2011. He made it up to Double-A, while going 11-6 with a 2.07 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. He also struck out 9.3 batters per nine innings.
While I think Smyly can be a reliable Fantasy option down the road, I'm not ready to buy the farm after one good spring showing. He's a smart pitcher and has a good arsenal of pitches, but Smyly has durability issues and only pitched 126 innings last season. You really have to wonder how many innings the Tigers will be willing to give him in 2012?
The news of him making the rotation put Smyly on the Fantasy radar because he is a burgeoning pitching prospect starting for a contender. I would just rather have a plethora of other pitchers on my Fantasy team in mixed leagues, no matter his upside. AL-only owners have to take a flier on him just because of the thinner player pool, but I would rather use a roster spot on a more established back-of-the-rotation Fantasy arm over the upside that Smyly might provide.