How the 2021 Detroit Tigers defied the odds

Detroit Tigers manager A.J. Hinch congratulates catcher Eric Haase.
Detroit Tigers manager A.J. Hinch congratulates catcher Eric Haase. /
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The Detroit Tigers Had Great Coaching

Detroit Tigers
Detroit Tigers bench coach George Lombard pitching coach Chris Fetter and manager A.J. Hinch watch the game. /

This page doesn’t have any charts or graphs on it, and we won’t get too deep into numbers. Nope, this one is 100% about feels.

There’s not any one great way to measure the impact of a coaching staff on wins, but it was clear to anyone who watched the 2021 Detroit Tigers that A.J. Hinch and his coaches were a huge upgrade.

Hinch never appeared unprepared, or caught off guard by something another manager did. His willingness to go with his best relievers in the biggest spots of the game was a welcome change from defined bullpen roles.

And Hinch always seemed to put his players in the best position to succeed. Detroit finished the season with 66.8% of their plate appearances coming with a platoon advantage, the second highest percentage in the Majors.

We can’t forget about pitching coach Chris Fetter, who somehow pieced together a solid rotation from a group of rookies and retreads.

Before he went down with injury, Spencer Turnbull was showing the best command and control of his pro career. Michael Fulmer and Kyle Funkhouser took big steps forward in the bullpen. And Tyler Alexander, Alex Lange, and Wily Peralta all made huge leaps thanks to new pitches or increased pitch usage.

Detroit Tigers fans can’t expect this level of over-performance in 2022. But as long as this coaching staff remains in place, they know their team won’t be out-prepared, and their coaches won’t stop looking for ways to get better.

dark. Next. The 2021 Detroit Tigers were good, but not great