Detroit Tigers: Eric Haase deserves a starting role next season

Eric Haase’s bat is too good for the Detroit Tigers to pass up

There have been very few positive developments when it comes to Detroit Tigers hitters this season. Virtually everyone has either underperformed or just fell off the face of the earth. But one of the hitters who has proved himself over the course of the season is Westland native Eric Haase.

It’s actually pretty astonishing that I’m writing this considering where he was earlier this season. Just a couple of months ago I named him as a someone the Tigers should cut bait with before the All-Star break. At the time of that article’s publishing (June 18), he was slashing .191/.248/.309 with just two homers. Pretty much ever since then, he’s made me eat my words.

Since June 18, Haase is slashing .290/.335/.519 with 10 home runs and a 142 wRC+, which brings his season totals to .256/.306/.448 with 12 homers and a 114 wRC+. All of those numbers are better than last season except for the home runs. He had a higher ISO at .228 last year as well, but it’s still a very respectable .191 in 2022. He’s also dropped his strikeout rate by over 3%. He’s proven that last year wasn’t a fluke.

He hit .563 last week with three dingers, including a five-hit game last Wednesday against the Angels. The man has been on fire as of late.

Is it any coincidence that he also started getting more playing time right around June 18? There’s at least some correlation there. It’s hard to get into a groove when you only play once every two or three days.

It’s even more puzzling why he was sitting on the bench all this time when Tucker Barnhart was stinking it up at the plate and not offering much to justify his playing time with his defense. Barnhart is sixth-worst in the league in wRC+ for hitters who have at least 250 plate appearances.

Of course, Haase isn’t exactly Pudge Rodriguez behind the plate, but if he’s going to hit like he has been, I can live with his defensive shortcomings. He deserves to be the team’s starting catcher in 2023.

Now I know what you might be thinking: ‘what about Jake Rogers?’  That’s a fair question. Rogers showed off his ability to handle the pitching staff in 2021 before having to undergo Tommy John surgery. While Rogers obviously isn’t a pitcher, he still isn’t a sure thing coming off a major surgery like that.

Having Haase as your starting catcher and Rogers as the backup allows Haase to get starting ABs and allows Rogers to ease back into things at the same time. He could also DH every once in a while to give Miggy a breather.

Eric Haase has proven that he is a legit MLB hitter. It’s one of the rare player development wins for the Detroit Tigers. He can actually hit, and they don’t have a lot of players that can do that right now. He deserves the chance to be a starter for this team next season in some capacity.