Profile: 6'5" - 215lbs - TH:L - BT:L - 2011 Age: 25
• FB 90-91: Good fade, gets ground balls in the minors, probably wont be quite as successful at the MLB level. (60-60)
• SL 80-82: More vertical bite than horizontal run, should be strong vs lend effective against the split. (55-60)
• CV 75-76: A bit too loopy for my taste, but should be effective vs lefties. (60-60)
• CH 82-83: Gets decent depth. I believe this will end up being his best off-speed offering. (60-65)
Furbush was the Tigers 4th round pick in 2007 out of D-III St. Joseph's College. After splitting his first season between the Gulf Coast League (RK) and the Midwest League (A), he missed the entire 2008 season recovering from Tommy John surgery. He had an impressive recovery - a testament to his work ethic - and put together a solid season for Tigers Advanced A ball affiliate Lakeland the next season.
A tall-and-fall pitcher, with underwhelming raw stuff, Furbush has a low-effort, but easily repeatable delivery which give him plus command. He delivers the ball from a true 3/4 slot and he hides the ball well, making his fastball appear a touch quicker than it actually is. His stride is compact and he does a good job letting his lower body do the work for him.
Furbush commands all three of his pitches well and does a very good job locating his running fastball on both halves of the plate and isn't afraid to work inside to righties. The pitch could improve with a bit more vertical movement, but it has good arm-side run, especially when thrown away to righties (or inside to lefties). His curveball is big and slow, a nice change of pace pitch, but perhaps not tight enough to get consistent swing-and-miss strikes at the MLB level. His changeup is also a solid offering and he commands it well. None of his offerings look like they have the potential to be plus put-away pitches in the Majors.
|Year ||Age ||Level ||IP ||K/9 ||BB/9 ||HBP ||WP ||ERA ||FIP |
Furbush has posted strong peripherals throughout his Minor League tenure. That he did so during his debut season is not enormously surprising. Furbush was a polished college pitcher coming out, so dominating hitters who are mostly fresh from high school or recent amateur foreign free agent signings is nothing special.
He's also impressed me in his recovery from Tommy John. While the surgery is hardly the death-knell it used to be, it's still difficult to come back from in a calendar year, let alone be effective the following season. But following his missed 2008 season, Furbush still moved up a level a posted a solid 3/1 K/BB ratio with 111 innings pitched in 2009.
2010 of course was Furbush's big coming-out party as he blasted through High A and AA on his way to his AAA debut. While Furbush's peripherals - especially the strikeout rate - declined along the way, he showed enough to suggest he has a Major League future either as a long-reliever or back-end starter.
Furbush will likely open 2010 in AAA but should be either the first or second call up should a spot in the rotation open up. He reminds me a bit of Glen Perkins of the Twins, but he should be more effective against left-handers.
Corey Ettinger is a proud contributor to both 612Sports.net and 312Sports.com. He also provides extensive analysis of the American League Central Division at his own blog, AL Central In Focus.