Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

2017 TigsTools: Detroit Tigers Best Command

Much of the talk when discussing pitching prospects centers on their stuff, but none of it matters if they can’t throw strikes. Professional hitters are awfully good, though, so unless a pitcher is working with truly elite stuff, it’s not enough to just hit the strike zone (Control), they also have to locate within the strike zone (Command). Good command helps pitchers keep hitters off balance, and it can make pedestrian stuff seem good, or good stuff seem great.

Best Command

1. Tyler Alexander (LHP)

2. Mark Ecker (RHP)

3. Austin Sodders (LHP)

4. Josh Turley (LHP)

5. Myles Jaye (RHP)


Tyler Alexander fits the profile of a classic command and control lefty. He doesn’t own any plus offerings, but he commands them all well, and he can add and subtract from his fastball while still locating it up and down and to either side of the plate.


Ecker’s plus fastball and changeup give him a chance to be a solid reliever, but it’s his above-average command that gives him a shot to work the late innings. He pounds the strike zone with both pitches, and he has limited walks early in his career.


Sodders is another lefty with fringe stuff that plays up due to his command. His secondary pitches are a bit lacking, but he has no issue working his fastball to either edge of the plate.


Turley owns plus control and solid-average command, peppering the strike zone with all five of his offerings.


A rare command and control righty, Jaye works both sides of the plate with his average fastball and fringy slider.

Honorable Mention

Chad Bell (LHP)

Matt Hall (LHP)

Bryan Garcia (RHP)

Artie Lewicki (RHP)


Chad Bell and Matt Hall are both currently starting in the minors, but they profile best as lefty specialists who use solid location of their fringy fastballs to set up more effective offspeed pitches.


Garcia is a strike thrower with above-average stuff out of the bullpen, and he has shown the nascent ability to move his fastball around the zone.


Lewicki’s stuff is more average, but he too has shown signs of average command, locating both his fastball and changeup well to the edges.

Projection Kings

Matt Manning (RHP)

Beau Burrows (RHP)

Anthony Castro (RHP)

Jack O’Loughlin (LHP)


Manning’s command is well below average right now, but his relatively simple mechanics and excellent athleticism should allow him to repeat his delivery and grow into at least average command.


Burrows isn’t the athlete Manning is, but he’s got much more pitching experience and he has already shown some signs of locating his pitches where he wants them.


Castro’s stuff is on par with Manning and Burrows, and he’s a strike thrower who should continue to refine his command the further away he gets from his Tommy John surgery.

O’Loughlin turned 17 last month and he hasn’t thrown a pro pitch in North America yet, but he impressed observers in the Australian Baseball League with his precocious control and command.

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