In 2016, the Detroit Tigers were anything but predictable. The only thing predictable about the team was their overwhelming unpredictability.
The Detroit Tigers unpredictability showed up in blown saves, surprising wins, and underwhelming baserunning.
So, when ESPN.com featured the most unpredictable players on each team, I had to take a look. And, I was surprised by the choice.
According to ESPN Senior Writer David Schoenfield, the most unpredictable Detroit Tigers player is Jordan Zimmermann. Schoenfield, in his blog, reported that he was not a big fan of the Tigers signing him in the first place, due to his average pitching in 2015. Yes, Zimm was the best pitcher in the AL in April of 2016, but everything went south after that month. The 0.55 ERA turned into a 4.87 ERA and a WHIP of 1.367 by the time the season was over.
The Dreadful 2016 Season
Zimmermann was signed by the Tigers to be one of the leaders in the rotation. In 2015, he led the NL in games played: he started 33 of them. In 2016, he only played in 19. He did not pitch at all in July, he threw 1.2 innings in August (allowing six runs, and he threw in three games in September. In fact, if you take April out of the equation, his ERA was an abysmal 6.84.
His trouble was due to a neck injury that continued to plague him throughout the season. The current news from the Tigers camp is that he is throwing without pain. He began the off-season working with a neck specialist who has given him injections to relieve a pinched nerve. Hopefully, the $110 million pitcher will be able to start consistently. He is expected to be the third pitcher in the rotation after Justin Verlander and Michael Fulmer.
Shouldn’t it be Justin Upton?
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When I read the article title, my first thought was Justin Upton. His day-by-day performance was rather unpredictable in 2016. Like Zimmermann, his April and September was quite different. He finished April with a .221 batting average with 2 home runs and 38 strike outs. Needless-to-say, Upton was unexpectedly bad in April. But, in September, an entirely different Upton showed up to play.
September Upton was on fire. He finished the month with a .307 batting average, 12 home runs, and 24 strikeouts. The big question is what Upton will show up in April 2017? There are two distinct J-Ups and both come with the expensive price of $22 million (with his ability to opt out at the end of the season). Fans, like me, are hoping the September Upton shows up in April and sticks around all season.
What about the Unpredictable Bullpen?
There is one other unpredictable player on the team: “The Bullpen.” This part of the team had months where it dominated and others where it seriously contributed to the team’s demise. The most unpredictable players were Justin Wilson, Blaine Hardy, and Shane Greene. I could not add Mark Lowe to the list because he was consistently disappointing. But, Wilson, Hardy, and Greene all had moments of excellence, then they would blow a few games. What will the bullpen look like in 2017? Hopefully, more predictable – in a positive way.
Who is on your list of unpredictable Detroit Tigers?