Wednesday, September 13, 2023

The Tigers' Pen Shouldn't Be This Good

 Three of the best relievers in baseball came from the Detroit Tigers, in all their mediocre, middle-of-the-pack, 'we'll get there as soon as Torkelson starts having consistent production'-ass glory. 

2023 has been a pretty strong year for relievers in general. Even more than in the past, you've seen more storylines involving relievers, and not just closers but straight relievers, completely owning things. Obviously the saga of Yennier Cano's inability to give up runs was a big story in May, but you've seen people like Hector Neris, Matt Strahm, Tanner Scott, Brusdar Graterol and Alexis Diaz have incredible seasons in relief. Several relievers have ascended to being some of the most important players on their teams, even on great teams.

And then you have the Tigers, who have improved somewhat from last year and seem to have more things going well [Kerry Carpenter, Sawyer Gipson-Long, the return of Eduardo Rodriguez's want to be on a baseball team], even if they're still in third place in the worst division in baseball. The Tigers' bullpen was intriguing last year, but even since then they've gotten rid of Gregory Soto and Joe Jimenez, and Tyler Alexander's been hurt half the year. So having the Tigers' bullpen be led by three guys who are practically rookies or second years who are all killing it right now is a very good sign. Even if they're not hitting all too well, or if the rotation isn't fully healthy left, they have this.

Tyler Holton has had the fullest season of everybody. In 75 innings, he's got a 2.15 ERA and 67 strikeouts. His whip is 0.863. He's been one of those guys who just isn't giving up runs, and while the last week or so has shown some of the few rocky innings Holton's been capable of, his full season of restraint and strong work has not gone unnoticed. I don't know if it's something that can be replicated in multiple seasons, especially if the team only gets better over the next few years.

And then in addition to him, you've got Jason Foley, who's had an incredible year as a relief piece and even notched 7 saves in addition to his 2.45 ERA, and you've got Alex Lange, who's had 23 saves and 71 Ks in 59 innings. This is a very strong relief battery. You also have to factor in Will Vest and Beau Briske moving forward, so that's a pretty strong group. And you never know if the Tigers will splurge on somebody heading into 2024, maybe they bring Chafin back, who knows.

In a period of their history where the Tigers have routinely not had a lot of takeaways, the Tigers are leaving this season with a strong bullpen and some pieces they can build a better pitching staff off of. And that's better than just remembering a year where nobody hit and Cabrera left.

Coming Tomorrow- An outfielder trying to keep his fun team in the wild card race.

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