The Tigers announced that they’ve recalled outfielder Mike Gerber from Triple-A Toledo and designated right-hander Drew VerHagen for assignment in order to clear a spot on the active roster. Gerber served as the 26th man in yesterday’s doubleheader but will now formally join the active roster.
VerHagen, 27, has struggled with the Tigers in each of the past few seasons, totaling 63 2/3 innings with a 6.25 ERA, 6.5 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9. The righty has a mid-90s heater that is averaging 96.1 mph this season, and he’s shown a knack for inducing grounders in his big league career as well (57.8 percent). But VerHagen was extremely homer-prone in 2017, surrendering 10 long balls in just 34 1/3 innings, and he’s out of minor league options, so the Tigers weren’t able to simply send him to the minors.
If he clears waivers, VerHagen will remain with the organization via an outright assignment, though that’s not a given. In addition to his velocity and penchant for ground-balls, he’s also notched a significant jump in his swinging-strike rate in 2017, spiking from a pedestrian 9.5 percent in 2017 to a considerably more impressive 15.4 percent in 2018. It’s a sample of merely 10 innings, of course, but VerHagen has punched out 11 hitters. The jump in strikeout rate and velocity have been complemented by VerHagen throwing his slider roughly twice as often as he did in 2017. Certainly, there are some elements to like about the 6’6″ righty, so perhaps he’ll generate interest elsewhere despite lackluster run-prevention numbers.
The 25-year-old Gerber, meanwhile, spent most of the 2017 season in Double-A, where he turned in a strong .291/.363/.477 slash with 13 homers, 22 doubles, two triples and 10 steals (in 16 attempts) before briefly reaching the Triple-A level. Detroit protected him from the Rule 5 Draft by placing him on the 40-man roster this past offseason on the heels of that quality effort. He’ll join an outfield mix that currently has JaCoby Jones in left, Leonys Martin in center, Nicholas Castellanos in right and Rule 5 pick Victor Reyes as a reserve option on the bench.
Given the team’s desire to hang onto Reyes, it’s likely that Gerber’s recall will be short-term in nature for now. But the rebuilding Tigers could potentially part ways with Martin and/or Castellanos this summer, and Jones is hardly an established fixture in left (though he is off to a very nice start in 2018). Gerber could eventually find himself with a opportunity to take on a greater role at any of the three outfield slots, as he does come with plenty of experience in center field.
I don’t think I have ever seen a Major League Baseball player whose official position was listed as “pinch runner” before.
“Some white guy that can’t hit” wasn’t an option.
But really, Gerber’s lone appearance in the Majors was as a pinch-runner yesterday, so that’s how B-Ref listed him. Still amusing though, yes.
Herb Washington. Never had a single plate appearance, but stole 31 bases in his 105 game career for The Oakland A’s back in the 70’s.
Washington’s official position was “designated runner”. He was the first and only DR.
Oh that’s right! I was confusing Herb Washington with the light hitting SS of the Royals in the 70’s. My bad! But I do remember that Washington for the A’s.
I remember one
and I think it was U.L. Washington for the Oakland A’s. I do believe it even listed pinch runner as his position on his baseball card. At least one year anyway. Might’ve been around 1972. Not sure of the date.
That would’ve been Claudell Washington who was a teammate of Herb. U.L. played with the Royals and used to bat and field with a toothpick in his mouth and played in the late 70s-mid 80s also with Pittsburgh and Montreal. Herb indeed had pinch runner on his card but Charlie Finley deemed him a designated runner.
VerHagen is a career minor leaguer. Feel bad for him but he just can’t cut the Bigs.
Every young player is a “career minor leaguer” until they reach the majors. He is not a top 100 prospect. Its normal for players to reach the majors at 25-26. Its the player who reaches 20-23 that is the exception. He is a prospect. But I do wish he would put it together.