Detroit Tigers: Home runs continue to haunt Drew VerHagen
By Andy Patton
With the 2018 season coming to a close, we are providing year-end grades to each Detroit Tigers player who donned the Olde English D in 2018.
The Detroit Tigers completed the first year of what looks to be a multi-year rebuilding process. While the team was hard to watch at times, there is still plenty to evaluate from this season as we look ahead to the next few years.
As with any team, there were a lot of excellent performances, surprise performances, and of course disappointing performances. Here at Motor City Bengals, we are going to be evaluating each player who suited up for the Detroit Tigers this season. We will analyze how they performed, what their future holds in the Motor City, and we will provide them a grade.
Note: the grade will be relative to what was expected of them. So a player who performed well above expectations may earn a B or an A, even if their actual season numbers are not that elite. If you disagree, feel free to drop us a comment. We would love to have discussions about these!
We’ve given grades to most of the bullpen from last season, including Shane Green (here) Joe Jimenez (here) Buck Farmer (here) Artie Lewicki (here) and Warwick Saupold (here). Now, we take a look at another converted starter who threw quite a bit for the Tigers in 2018.
The Tigers made VerHagen a fourth round pick back in 2012 after his successful run at baseball powerhouse Vanderbilt. VerHagen was expected to be a stalwart in Detroit’s future big league rotation. After making 19 AAA starts with a 3.67 ERA in 2014, it looked like he was well on his way.
Unfortunately, injuries decimated VerHagen over the next two years as he only managed to throw 80 innings. He made another 19 starts at AAA in 2017, but was unable to recapture the same level of success. That prompted the Tigers to try him in a bullpen role, where he found some success.
VerHagen threw 56.1 innings out of Detroit’s bullpen last season, posting an 8.47 K/9 and a 3.04 BB/9. His 4.63 ERA wasn’t great, but his 3.84 FIP and 3.78 SIERA indicated he didn’t pitch quite as badly as his numbers indicate.
VerHagen is your typical failed starter turned reliever, thanks mostly to injuries and a lack of strikeout stuff. His move to the bullpen did pay off, although it doesn’t appear he has the stuff to be anything more than a middle of the road middle reliever. However, on a team with severe bullpen issues, VerHagen will be welcome in that role.
Check back here daily for more player grades! And if you’d like to discuss any grades, please leave us a comment on our Facebook or Twitter page.