Detroit Tigers: Who is Warwick Saupold?
In a surprising move, the Detroit Tigers sent Daniel Norris back to the Toledo Mud Hens. Then, they called up pitcher Warwick Saupold.
Saupold is a native of Perth, Australia and began his time playing in the US in 2012 with the West Michigan Whitecaps. The 26-year-old 6’1 right-handed pitcher has played with all of the Detroit Tigers minor league teams with the exception of the Connecticut Tigers.
In the off-season, he plays in the Australian Baseball League for the Perth Heat. The league plays from October through January. During the 2014-2015 season, the Heat won the league championship. Saupold pitched in 20 innings during that season, registering a 4.05 ERA.
Prior to his call-up to the major league, Saupold was pitching in his second season in Toledo. The pitcher has thrown in eight games, facing 115 batters and earning a respectable .237 ERA with a WHIP of .890. He has yet to allow a home run. He has given up 8 walks, 19 hits, and he has struck out 14. He has had four starts and he also pitches in relief.
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When asked about his pitching style, Saupold told Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press that he is a “pitch-to-contact” pitcher and that “I don’t have a 100-m.p.h. fastball, just try to keep guys off balance.” With the solid defense of the Detroit Tigers behind him, he should have success on the mound.
Despite the fact that baseball in Australia is not very popular, Saupold has wanted to play since he was four years old. He is such a respected pitcher Down Under that he will be pitching in the World Baseball Classic in March 2017 in his homeland. He is one of a few Australians to actually make it to the big leagues in the US; he shares the honor with Kansas City Royals Peter Moylan and Oakland Athletics Liam Hendriks as well as former Tiger Brad Thomas.
With the current losing streak, the Tigers are doing what they can to bring some new energy into the game. According to an article by Chris McCosky with The Detroit News, Brad Ausmus said, “We needed a fresh arm. Jim Leyland’s talked about him for a couple of years. He really likes him.”
One of the highlights of Saupold’s career with the Tigers minor league system was on April 23, 2016 against the Charlotte Knights. He was the starting pitcher and the winning pitcher in the team’s no-hitter that day. He shared the no-hitter with three other Mud Hen’s pitchers. He currently has a 3-1 win-loss record and batters are only hitting an average of .181 against him.
While he does not have a lights-out fastball, he does have outstanding command of his fastball, which averages in the upper-80s. He also has a strong cutter, change-up, and curveball. It’ll be nice to see what he brings to the Tigers.