Manager A.J. Hinch wasted no time in seeing what type of arms he has in the Detroit Tigers bullpen in today’s 5-4 loss to the Yankees down in Tampa. Let’s take a look at how they did.
RHP Kyle Funkhouser
Funkhouser started the game for the Detroit Tigers and pitched just one inning, allowing a pair of walks and registering a strikeout. He did escape the inning without allowing a run. According to Statcast, his fastball sat averaged 93.4 MPH, and he touched 95 four times. But Funkhouser was only able to generate two swinging strikes, and he labored through the inning, throwing 28 pitches.
RHP Ethan DeCaster
DeCaster wasn’t scheduled to pitch, but he stepped in to handle the 2nd inning after Funkhouser’s struggles. He moved quickly through the system in 2019, starting in Lakeland before landing in Toledo. He walked a pair of batters, and of his 16 pitches, 11 were balls. A double play got DeCaster out of the inning without allowing a run. DeCaster relies on location and deception rather than velocity, as his fastball averaged 87.3 MPH.
LHP Gregory Soto
Soto came out firing, hitting 99 MPH eight times. Unfortunately, one of those pitches was crushed by Gary Sanchez in the third. The exit velocity on Sanchez’s home run was 108 MPH and the ball traveled around 429 feet. Soto, who has been working on throwing his slider more effectively during the off-season, only threw two in his appearance and neither were called for strikes.
RHP Beau Burrows
Burrows threw a perfect 1.1 innings of work, with one strikeout. He needed only 12 pitches to get his four outs, but his fastball topped out at 91.6 MPH, which is down from his average of 93 MPH. Still, it’s encouraging to see his performance as he tries to win a spot in the bullpen.
RHP Zack Hess
Hess would like to forget this appearance. He recorded just one out while giving up two hits, a walk, and four runs. The one out he did get was was a strikeout of Max McDowell, who took over for Sanchez. The grand slam he gave up to Chris Gittens was the exit velocity leader of the day (114.3 MPH) and distance leader (440FT). And Hess has a long way to go if he wants to win his bet with his agent, as his fastball topped out at just 93 MPH.
RHP Andrew Moore
Moore came in for Hess and limited the Yankees’ damage, only allowing one hit and retiring the other two batters he faced. Moore is 26 and signed a minor league deal with the Detroit Tigers after spending most of his career with Seattle, with short stops with San Francisco and Tampa. Moore did hit the radar gun at 95 MPH and showed a solid slider.
RHP Jason Foley
The story of the day was Jason Foley, who hit 99 MPH on the gun today and threw a scoreless frame. Foley has one of the best fastballs in the system, and he’s looking to make an impression in spring training. He missed the entire 2018 season due to Tommy John surgery. If you recall, Foley was spotted by an area scout on the East Coast and signed as an undrafted free agent. He went to the same university as infielder Zack Short, Sacred Heart in New York.