Detroit Tigers: A look back at the bullpen’s performance in 2021
When the 2021 season began, the Detroit Tigers‘ bullpen had many questions and was considered a weakness. Now that the season is over, it is now a source of strength heading into 2022.
During this week’s end of the season press conference, General Manager Al Avila said that one avenue that the Detroit Tigers will not be pursuing this off-season is bullpen help. Granted, the Tigers could strengthen their bullpen from within with any minor league arms that could step up next year. One name to look out for is right-hander Chavez Fernander.
Fernander is heading to the Arizona Fall League among some of the biggest names in the Tigers farm system. If he could hold his own and improve from a solid season between West Michigan and Erie in 2021, he could be in the mix for a mid-season call-up. Not too shabby for being a 35th round draft pick in 2018.
Detroit Tigers bullpen by the numbers:
Early in the season, the bullpen got off to a rocky start. In April, they put up an fWAR of -0.5 and held the worst ERA in the league at 6.70. But starting in May, the numbers started to perk up towards a steady improvement.
They posted an ERA of 3.77 and K per 9 of 9.92. The reason why I mentioned the K per 9 is that in 2019, they averaged one of 8.61 for the season and in May of 2019, it was 6.83 which was at the time dead last in the league. The shortened season of 2020 does put a damper on the data from the past three seasons so that is why I wanted to use 2019 as a barometer.
Let’s take a look at the arms who made up the 2021 Detroit Tigers bullpen and how under pitching coach Chris Fetter, a few arms that got lost in the shuffle in the last two seasons, came up clutch at times this season.