Detroit Tigers: Warwick Saupold recalled as Anibal Sanchez accepts minor league assignment
Detroit Tigers pitcher Warwick Saupold is back in the Major Leagues. The Tigers announced the move on the team’s official Twitter account in a tweet on Monday. Anibal Sanchez heads to the minors.
Detroit Tigers fans will see a slightly different bullpen for the time being.
The Tigers’ relief pitchers, who have generally pitched well as of late, will welcome Warwick Saupold back into the fold on Monday.
Saupold, a 27-year-old pitcher who can start and pitch in long relief, has spent much of the 2017 season with Triple-A Toledo.
He owns a 2.90 ERA, a 1.364 WHIP and 7.4 strikeouts per nine innings with the Mud Hens.
Detroit announced the move in a tweet on the team’s official Twitter account on Monday afternoon.
The Tigers tweeted the following:
"“#Tigers RHP Anibal Sanchez has accepted an optional assignment to Toledo (AAA) and RHP Warwick Saupold has been recalled from Toledo.”"
“#Tigers RHP Anibal Sanchez has accepted an optional assignment to Toledo (AAA) and RHP Warwick Saupold has been recalled from Toledo.”
Veteran players like Sanchez with the proper amount of service time can refuse assignments to the minors and become free agents.
However, this doesn’t appear to be the case as the pitcher will head to Toledo.
The Detroit Free Press’ Anthony Fenech would tweet on Monday afternoon:
"“The decision was Sanchez’s, Ausmus said: He wants to be a starting pitcher.”"
Sanchez will look to turn things around in the minors. He’s struggled mightily so far in 2017, posting a -0.5 WAR and some unsightly run-prevention numbers.
Anibal Sanchez’ 2017 numbers
Said run-prevention numbers include a 9.00 ERA, a 7.80 FIP and a 5.07 xFIP.
The former Marlins starter has also been tagged for 14.6 hits and 3.9 walks per nine innings. All told, that spits out to a 2.048 WHIP.
Sanchez has also continued to struggle with home runs.
After allowing a league-low 0.4 long balls per nine frames in 2013—not to mention a 0.3 number in 2014—the veteran has allowed 1.8 home runs per nine innings, including a 3.9 stat this season.
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If he can turn things around in Toledo and perform at a similar level to the 2014 season, when he logged a 3.43 ERA and 7.3 strikeouts per nine frames, it would give the Tigers a significant boost.
So far in 2017, Sanchez has struck out 9.4 batters per nine innings and logged a 4.15 SIERA. Thanks to these numbers, there is hope for a rebound.
Warwick Saupold’s potential impact
One of Detroit’s top depth options in terms of reserve starting pitchers, Saupold is likely to team with Chad Bell in giving the Detroit Tigers a pair of long relief hurlers.
He made his Major League debut last season, notching a 2.32 FIP in 9.2 innings of work.
Saupold made a pair of relief appearances earlier in the season. Both came in Detroit’s series in Tampa Bay.
All told, Saupold struck out five compared to just two walks in 4.1 innings. He allowed just three hits. Unfortunately, all three of those hits left the park.
Adding the Australia native to Detroit’s bullpen should improve the team’s depth significantly.
The Tigers have been heavily relying on Shane Greene, Alex Wilson and Blaine Hardy as setup options in building a bridge to Justin Wilson.
With this setup, the team has mainly been using the struggling duo of Francisco Rodriguez and Sanchez in blowouts.
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Now, with Saupold up, the team has another reliever to lean on in key games.