Detroit Tigers: 2021 first half grades. There is progress

Tigers manager AJ Hinch takes out pitcher Casey Mize during the Tigers' 6-2 loss to the Royals on Friday, April 23, 2021, at Comerica Park.Tigers Kc1
Tigers manager AJ Hinch takes out pitcher Casey Mize during the Tigers' 6-2 loss to the Royals on Friday, April 23, 2021, at Comerica Park.Tigers Kc1 /
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Detroit Tigers
Jun 15, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Casey Mize (12) delivers a pitch in the fifth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports /

Detroit Tigers Starting Rotation: B-

Considering the number of injuries across the starting rotation, it was hard to grade each player and the rotation is the sum of its parts so I went with grading the rotation as a whole and highlight individual performances.

Casey Mize has stepped up to be the team leader in bWAR with a 2.7, followed by Matthew Boyd, who is second at 1.6. I admittedly thought the rotation would be a struggle based on what we saw last season but the lesson will always be that the shortened season in 2020 was just one we will never understand as a collective.

As a group, the Tigers are ranked 18th in fWAR at 5.1 and have a FIP of 4.57. Before Spencer Turnbull got hurt, he was the best pitcher on the staff in terms of consistency and provided one of the best highlights in the last five years of Detroit Tigers baseball.

Tarik Skubal has the best K per 9 in the rotation with 10.66 and in some ways, has turned the corner but you would like to see a better average the third time through the order as his ERA is 6.75 and teams are hitting .273 against him. The home runs are still an issue but the defense behind him also has hurt Skubal and the rest of the staff.

Getting back to Boyd for a moment, the numbers from his start against Cubs back on May 16 until he left early against Kansas City on June 14, he started to struggle a bit, allowing 36 hits over 29 innings. Could it be him pitching hurt? Outside of the team, no one knows but still, Boyd looks better now than he did last season.

Jose Urena, who at this point is in the rotation out of necessity, started off the season well and did see some time on the IL but has struggled since late May. He has not gone over six or more innings since May 21st against the Royals and given up 10 home runs over his last eight starts (34.1 innings of work)

Wily Peralta has stepped up from Toledo and has given the Tigers in his last three starts, 17 innings, and allowed just two runs over nine hits and an ERA of 0.53.

Chris Fetter has done an amazing job with the rotation given to him. Would have been nice to sign a pitcher like Taijuan Walker? Sure but for what was expected with three rookies in the rotation at one point in the rotation, the Tigers have been able to have two months of over .500 baseball.

Matt Manning stepped in when by all accounts by his work in Toledo was showing based on lack of third pitch command “not ready” was able to find a slider, thanks to Fetter, and be serviceable.