Yesterday the Detroit Tigers promoted right-handed pitcher Dustin Molleken to the major league roster, reinforcing a depleted bullpen. You won't find Molleken on prospect lists: he's a 31-year-old minor league veteran, but that doesn't mean he can't contribute something positive. Let's take a look.
Molleken was originally drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 15th round in 2003, from Lethbridge Community College in Alberta, Canada. He pitched in the Bucs system through 2010, emerging as a competent Double-A reliever but never pushing his way out of the pack. He signed with the Rockies as a free agent in 2012, but at mid-season signed with the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan. He returned to the United States in July 2013 in the Brewers system, pitched in the Indians system in 2015, and then signed with the Tigers this year.
For Triple-A Toledo this year, Molleken has a 3.76 ERA in 38 innings with a 34/25 K/BB and 30 hits allowed.
Molleken is listed at 6-4, 230, born August 21, 1984. He works with a standard middle relief arsenal: four-seam fastball in the 93-95 range and a slider in the 80s. His walk rates are higher than ideal and his command can be inconsistent, but when he's going well he's rather tough on right-handed hitters, holding them to a .177 average this year for example.
If he throws enough strikes, Molleken could be a useful 11th man on a staff.