Detroit Tigers News

Hometown pitcher, Sterling Sharp, could give Detroit’s bullpen a different look

MIAMI, FLORIDA - AUGUST 17: Sterling Sharp #56 of the Miami Marlins delivers a pitch against the New York Mets at Marlins Park on August 17, 2020 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - AUGUST 17: Sterling Sharp #56 of the Miami Marlins delivers a pitch against the New York Mets at Marlins Park on August 17, 2020 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /
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Sterling Sharp was designated for assignment by Miami after pitching just five and a third innings for the fish.

Sterling Sharp graduated from North Farmington High School and played a season of ball at Eastern Michigan University. And now the hometown kid is available on the waiver wire. When Detroit claimed Carson Fulmer off the waiver wire Detroit had the highest priority and was the first team that could make the claim. But, because Miami is in the National League, all of the National League teams will have a higher priority than Detroit when claiming Sharp. It remains to be seen if his 10.13 ERA will scare off NL suitors but if he is still available, Detroit will certainly consider making the claim.

Detroit selected Rony Garcia in this year’s Rule 5 Draft but Sharp was eligible for selection as well. After being passed by Detroit he was selected by the Marlins. I personally favored Sharp over Garcia, but now Detroit has a chance to walk away with both pitchers. And with the trade deadline next week, Sharp could offset a trade if they make José Cisnero or Buck Farmer available.

MLB Debut

So far in his limited innings, Sharp has thrown his <90mph sinker almost 74% of the time. So, as you can imagine, he is a groundball specialist. The velocity isn’t something to worry about though, the pitch is actually quite the weapon. It has nearly identical movement and speed to Zack Grienke’s sinker and this season Grienke has been making batters look foolish against his sinker.

Sharp pairs his nasty sinker with a cutter, plus changeup, and a seldomly thrown breaking ball. Here he is during his MLB debut. He kept his infield on their toes getting three groundouts and with the movement on the sinker, you can see why batters pound the pitch into the dirt.

If his sinker is that good, why was he designated?

When your best pitch rarely tops 90mph it’s paramount that you can control it and locate the corners. In the minors, Sharp never had a problem limiting free passes but he walked three batters during his last appearance in Miami. Five runs scored during the outing that he was only able to record a single out. Prior to that disasterous inning, he had only given up two walks to three strikeouts.

The walk rate should normalize and this groundball specialist will always have a small margin for error with his lack of elite velocity, but Sharp should be able to carve out a solid career as a long reliever coming out of the bullpen. If Detroit claims Sharp, Niko Goodrum and Jonathan Schoop will have their work cut out for them but he will give hitters a different look in a bullpen that is primarily composed of hard throwers.

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