03 March 2012
The standard spring training caveat obviously applies here, plus the additional fact that this exhibition game was played against an NCAA Division II team. You really can't try to look too deeply into any stats in particular, and we certainly can't form any conclusions yet, but starting pitcher Andy Oliver showed exactly what the team wanted to see. Here was his line:
Oliver's career as one of the top prospects in the Tigers' farm system has been plagued by control issues. His career walk rate in the minor leagues has been 4.2 BB/9. Oliver is a high strikeout guy, so he can get by with a walk rate that's a little bit elevated, but he probably won't see sustained success until he can get that rate into the low threes.
Again, it's way too early to declare Andy Oliver the frontrunner for the fifth starter spot or anything like that, but let's take this first outing for what it is. It was a small positive sign that, perhaps, Oliver will start putting it all together.
Obviously we will reserve full and final judgement until much later in the spring once we've seen him face actual MLB caliber hitters.
Matt Snyder is the editor of The Tigers Den. He can be reached on Twitter @snyder_matthew.