The Four Newest Detroit Tigers
Joey Wentz – LHP – 6’5, 225 lbs. – Age 23 – Drafted 1st Round 2016 (40th overall)
Joey Wentz isn’t quite the athlete that his fellow 2016 draftee Matt Manning is, but he’s no slouch in that department, and he was also a legitimate draft prospect as a power-hitting first baseman. The Atlanta Braves preferred his left arm on the mound, though, and he quickly made them look good. After a brief taste of pro ball in his draft year, Wentz dominated Low-A ball in 2017, earning South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Year honors.
Wentz picked up where he left off in 2018, posting dominant stretches in the Florida State League and showing a fastball that would touch 95 mph, but a pair of injuries cost him about 10 starts. The Braves nevertheless bumped him up to Double-A in 2019, and he experienced his first real struggles as a pro, giving up a few too many home runs on the way to a 4.72 ERA in 20 outings with the Mississippi Braves.
But a late-season trade to Detroit seemed to reinvigorate Wentz, who was stellar with the Erie SeaWolves, posting a 2.10 ERA with 37 strikeouts and just 4 walks over 25.2 innings. Unfortunately, he underwent Tommy John surgery last March, so he probably won’t be ready for game action until June or July of 2021. Assuming he returns to full health, Wentz has a great shot to be a back of the rotation starter thanks to three solid pitches and a workhorse frame. And who knows, perhaps the rehabilitation process will have him throwing harder an he can develop into a mid-rotation arm.