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A little over a week ago, the Tigers announced that Duane Below would earn his first crack at starting this season. The southpaw had certainly earned the opportunity in his second season with the Tigers. Below had yet to issue a walk and the opposition was hitting just .167 against him in 12 scoreless innings. Alas, the opportunity never came as rain pushed the game back and Tigers manager Jim Leyland was not about to alter his rotation just to get Below a spot start.
Since then Below has continued throwing darts. He has added an additional two innings of work to his season total and the opposition has offered just a hit and walk against him without cracking the scoreboard in his last three appearances. Through 14 innings, Below now boasts a 0.00 ERA, 0.64 WHIP, and .174 average against. Simply put, he has been one of the best hurlers in baseball this season.
The big question is whether the Tigers have lucked out with this year’s version of Doug Fister? To answer that we look at Below’s stats in the minor leagues. Though he was a tad too hittable early in his professional career, the numbers have drastically improved in recent years. In fact, in 2011, Below was 9-4 in 18 starts with a 3.13 ERA in Triple-A. He does not get many strikeouts, but he has great command of the strike zone.
Despite some big prospects in the Tigers system, Below has earned the next spot start needed in Detroit. It’s about time for his fantasy managers to hope for an opportunity in Detroit.