#23 - Mike Bumatay

Last season the Tigers held onto three Rule-V draft picks, RHP's Chris Spurling and Matt Roney and LHP Wil Ledezma. However, unlike Roney and Ledezma (who are more than likely headed back to the minors to return to their starting role), Bumatay is a reliever through and through and will be that for the extent of his career.

BIO:
Mike Bumatay was drafted in the 21st round way back in 1998 by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bumatay has taken his time moving up the ladder, and split time last year between high-A and double-A, and will now get his first shot at the majors as a Rule-5 selection from Colorado.

2003 IN REVIEW:
Last year while splitting time, Bumatay compiled a 4-1 record with a 2.25 ERA. Bumatay is mainly used as a left-handed specialist out of the bullpen, so he'll rarely see more than an inning of work. He started the season with high-A Visalia, and after proving to be almost unhittable against that competition, he was bumped up to AA-Tulsa for the remainder of the year where he continued to provide consistency out of the ‘pen.

PROJECTION:
Bumatay is a middle reliever, more likely than not, a situational player that will be used mostly to face one or two batters. Doesn't sound like much, but it's amazing how valuable players like Bumatay can be for contenders down the stretch and in the playoffs.

REPERTOIRE:
Bumatay is a 2-pitch player, and for someone with his role, that is really all that is necessary. He uses a fastball that is fairly straight and stays in the high-80's, and a curveball that is especially tough on lefties (and displayed by his impressive .138 average when facing lefties).

PROGNOSIS:
The Tigers already have Jamie Walker to be their lefty out of the bullpen, so keeping Bumatay isn't a necessity. However, Manager Alan Trammel may decide he wants to lefties out of the bullpen, in which case Bumatay and fellow prospect Eric Eckenstahler will battle it out for the other position – unless someone like Ledezma sticks with the Tigers as a long reliever as opposed to returning to the minors.

BOTTOM LINE:
At most, the Tigers will be able to keep one rule-5 selection this year. The Tigers like Chris Shelton's bat, but there's no telling whether or not he'll be kept because at this point the Tigers feel he'll need to be able to contribute something, and Shelton definitely is not a defensive wiz. Bumatay's got a chance of heading North with the club when camp breaks, but don't be surprised if he gets offered back to the Rockies.


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