Detroit Tigers: Predicting the 2018 bullpen
The only Tigers reliever to throw more innings that Warwick Saupold last season was Shane Greene.
Saupold served primarily as a long man out of the bullpen, often being asked to throw multiple innings at a time when a starter struggled.
Long relievers are typically used when the team needs someone to chew up innings, and Saupold was able to do just that.
The results weren’t pretty, but pitchers who can come in and bridge the gap to the rest of the bullpen are valuable.
Saupold threw 62.2 innings last season. He finished with a 4.88 ERA, a 1.51 WHIP, 44 strikeouts and 31 walks.
His 6.32% strikeout-rate and 4.45% walk-rate will need to improve for him to ever have success in the show.
Saupold, like Hardy, also struggled with the long ball in 2017. Saupold gave up nine home runs last year, good for a 1.3 HR/9. He will need to do a better job of forcing hitters to hit the ball on the ground next season.
The Australian’s 43.1% ground-ball rate is below the league average, and his 36.1% fly ball rate is too high.
Despite his struggles, there is likely a place in the Detroit bullpen for the 27-year-old next year.
However, he is unlikely to hold down a high-leverage role, and should the Tigers make any more moves or choose to recall someone who is doing well at Triple-A, Saupold is likely the first to go.