Since last season, Detroit Tigers fans have discussed the Chris Fetter effect on the pitching staff so we give a nod to arms who may help out with assistance from the coaching staff.
A minor disclaimer to clarify this idea. All these types of articles are just pointing out the strength of a free agent pitcher and how it could be possibly be tweaked to benefit the Detroit Tigers. We used pitching coach Chris Fetter as the catalyst to this idea. Ask Hall of Famer Jack Morris about who helped him become a better pitcher with one pitch and he would probably say former pitching coach and manager Roger Craig, who taught him how to throw a split-finger fastball.
Despite the bullpen being locked in, Al Avila has spoken about possibly adding another arm, which makes the free-agent market interesting to look at.
Over the last two seasons, Reds reliever Michael Lorenzen has seen his strikeout rate dip and his walk rate increase but below the surface, there are some numbers that indicate if the Tigers decided to add another arm to the bullpen, he could be useful as a seventh-inning type.
This season, Lorenzen hit the 60 day IL with a right shoulder strain, the same injury he lost time in 2018. He has also missed time due to a right and hamstring strain in the past but his fastball average was at 96 mph. That pitch was in the 89% percentile of the league. The injuries in the past have been an issue but when he is healthy, the stats show what is possible.
Another pitch that stands out is his slider. The pitch has gotten better in time as teams until 2019 were hitting around .280 until 2020, where his slider started to miss more bats. In the shortened 2020 season, his slider generated a WHIFF rate of 52.1% and this season, 40%. Check out the movement against Paul Goldschmidt.
According to Baseball Savant, he does feature up to five pitches and it could be from his early days as a starter. One of the other pitches he doesn’t throw very often is his curve, which has some good spin and depth to it.
While his ERA is 5.59, his FIP was 4.17, and another number that stands out. His LOB% was in the 70-80% range until this season, where it dropped around to 60.2%. A possible reason for this is that his K per 9 that was around 9 the past several seasons, dropped around to 6.52. He wasn’t able to strike out batters to get out of innings.
Granted, the last part of the previous paragraph does not favor him however, if you look at the spin on his fastball and slider, a change of scenery and a fresh pair of eyes could be helpful to become effective again.