Prospect of the Day: Charlie Furbush
The Tigers promoted left-hander Charlie Furbush from Triple-A Toledo over the weekend. He was dominating the International League this spring as a starter, then pitched well in his relief debut against the Rays yesterday. What is his future in Detroit?
Furbush was drafted in the fourth round in 2007 out of Louisiana State University. He pitched well in his pro debut that summer, but hurt his elbow and missed all of '08 recovering from Tommy John surgery. He pitched with moderate effectiveness in High-A in '09, then took a big step forward last year, pitching well in High-A and Double-A before struggling in nine Triple-A starts. He did rank second in the minors with 183 strikeouts. He returned to Triple-A this year and was much more effective in his second look at that level, with a 2.91 ERA and a 55/14 K/BB in 46 innings for Toledo, allowing just 29 hits.
Furbush worked at 88-91 MPH last year, but this season with Tommy John receding further in the mirror, he's been more consistently in the 90s, obviously helping his effectiveness. He has a good curveball and changeup, giving him three necessary pitches to start. Scouts projected him as a possible number four or five starter before the recent velocity bump, but it is possible he could be a number three guy in the end. The Tigers currently plan to use him in the bullpen, but with his history as a starter, a turn in the rotation should/could come eventually.