Gardenhire Still Hopeful This Season For Tigers' Big Three

The fans around here could certainly use the boost.

Jamie and Stoney
March 20, 2020 - 12:52 pm
Skubal

© Junfu Han, Detroit Free Press, Detroit Free Press via Imagn Content Services, LLC

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If all went according to plan, we were supposed to see Casey Mize, Matt Manning and Tarik Skubal in Detroit this season. Welp. 

With Opening Day pushed back to mid-May at the earliest due to the coronavirus, Detroit's pitching renaissance may have to wait another year.

Even if the season does get off the ground -- no guarantee itself -- Mize, Manning and Skubal might simply run out of time. Al Avila and the Tigers have been clear about their desire to get the trio a good deal of Triple-A experience before calling them up to the bigs. 

That said, manager Ron Gardenhire remains hopeful the Big Three will make it to Detroit before the season's over. 

"We know the right thing to do, Al knows the right thing to do with these guys," Gardenhire told the Jamie and Stoney Show. "Give them their time, let them face some (hitters) in Triple-A. They’re going to face a lot of ex-big leaguers or guys that are going to be in the big leagues.

"They’ll gain valuable experience there and sometime hopefully this summer they’re all going to step up and be in the big leagues with us, and it’s going to be a lot of fun to watch."

Tigers' Top-Five Farm System Only Getting Stronger

Mize, Manning and Skubal, three of the top pitching prospects in baseball, represent the Tigers' future. They headlined a dominant rotation in Double-A Erie last season, and they impressed Gardenhire this year in spring training. Skubal was the stand-out, allowing one run and racking up six strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings. 

"All I know is when I’m sitting in the dugout and those young men are pitching, I kept looking up at Al in the stands and he kept waving his finger, 'No.' That’s all I know," Gardenhire said. "They threw the ball really, really well, it’s very impressive. They’re good-looking young pitchers."

Pitching Prospects Put Tigers In Class Of Their Own

Per the original plan, assuming all went well, Mize, Manning and Skubal were due to arrive sometime around August. If MLB decides to play a full season if and when the season begins, the trio may well make it to the bigs.

But don't expect the Tigers to rush the Big Three to Detroit if the season is shortened, which is where this is likely headed. 

Still, we can hope.