There a still a few reasons to watch the Detroit Tigers
The trade deadline has passed, and the Detroit Tigers are once again out of contention. Many fans have checked out, and it’s hard to blame them. Why would they want to waste their time and energy with team that’s 23 games under .500 with a GM who’s likely (hopefully) on his way out and an owner who doesn’t care?
But for those looking for any kind of hope or silver lining, there are still a few players to watch and look out for the rest of the season. Some of these players are vying for future roster spots, and others are looking to continue their development.
Most of these players are young and largely unproven, so these last two months will be of the utmost importance for them. Since the Detroit Tigers are out of the playoff race, they need to spend these last couple of months figuring out who will be a part of their future. For those that the team believes will be a part of their future for sure, this is crucial development time for them.
So without further ado, here are five players to watch for the rest of the 2022 season.
SP Matt Manning
Manning just recently returned from injury after hitting the injured list on April 16. He was suffering from shoulder soreness, but then strained his right bicep during his first rehab assignment. He, of course, is just one of many Tigers starting pitchers to have injury trouble this season.
Manning pitched five innings, gave up three runs, walked four and struck out one in his first start back last Tuesday. He struggled with his fastball command, which has been his achilles heel ever since he got called up last June. However, his slider looked good, which is encouraging.
His stuff hasn’t looked the same since he was in Double-A in 2019. Missing the 2020 season obviously didn’t help. He also caught COVID-19, which caused him to lose some weight, which in turn caused him to lose some fastball velocity. It’s been a rough go of it for Manning the past couple years health-wise.
There’s still a lot to like about him. His athletic ability and his 6-foot-6 frame only helps him on the mound. He still features a nice low-80s curveball on occasion, but it would be nice to see him throw it more often. He still has a tendency to lean too heavily on his fastball, which would be fine if he had better command of it. He still needs to learn to mix his pitches more effectively.
Sadly, because of all of these things, there are growing concerns that Manning could be become a reliever. The thought is that his stuff could play up in the bullpen. But the Tigers need him to be a starter. They can’t have all of their prized pitching prospects end up being bullpen arms.
Hopefully Chris Fetter can work him over these last two months and figure something out, because the Detroit Tigers need his arm in the rotation.