Detroit Tigers: Blaine Hardy deserves another chance
The Detroit Tigers should give Blaine Hardy, who is doing outstanding at Triple-A Toledo, another chance in the big leagues.
Detroit Tigers fans, coaches, and media have all been confused about the significant drop in velocity that Daniel Norris has shown so far this season. An answer has finally surfaced, as Norris admitted he’s been dealing with a groin issue this season. The groin bothered him last year as well, and appears to have resurfaced.
The team just announced that Norris will hit the disabled list, and Chad Bell has been recalled to take his place. Bell has looked considerably better this season than he did last year. However, former Tigers left-hander Blaine Hardy has been cooking at Triple-A Toledo this year, and deserves a spot in the big league bullpen.
Hardy just started for Toledo on Sunday, so it’s not too surprising he didn’t get the call this time. But with an open spot on the 40-man, Hardy should get a chance sooner rather than later.
It may be hard to remember after his disappointing 2017 campaign, but Hardy was a solid bullpen arm from 2014-2016. In that window, Hardy threw 126 innings of 3.00 ERA ball. He had a 7.6 K/0 and a 134 ERA+. He looked like a solid, if unspectacular, middle reliever/set-up man for the Tigers.
Then, in 2017, Hardy’s fortunes changed. He had a disastrous 5.94 ERA and 1.77 WHIP across 33.1 innings. While his strikeout (7.6) and walk (3.5) numbers were right in line with his career averages, he gave up a ridiculous seven home runs. He only gave up five in his first 126 big league innings.
Heading into 2018, Hardy was expected to compete with Daniel Stumpf and a few others to nab a middle relief role on Opening day. Just two days before his 2018 contract ($792,000) was set to lock in, the Tigers DFA’d Hardy. He cleared waivers and was sent to Toledo, where his pay was slashed by over half a million dollars.
The Hardy Boy is Back
Hardy could have whined and moaned, or let his sudden demotion impact his ability on the mound. Instead, he did the opposite: In 24.1 innings at Toledo, Hardy has an outstanding 0.74 ERA and 0.61 WHIP. He’s posted an elite 30/4 K/BB ratio as well, and has not given up any home runs.
Hardy was solid at Triple-A last season, posting a 3.10 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP with a 10 K/9 in 40.2 innings. But his performance this season has been excellent, and is absolutely worthy of another call up with the Tigers.
Next: Week Three Minor League Report
The Detroit Tigers should give Hardy another chance. He’s thrown over 100 innings of very solid work with the Tigers, compared to one ugly season. His performance at Triple-A merits a spot on the 25-man roster. The timing isn’t right right now, but Hardy deserves a chance to make up for his ugly 2017 season and pitch his way back into the big league bullpen for good.