Detroit Tigers: Garrett Hill’s new role and changed delivery are excellent

Detroit Tigers pitching prospect Garrett Hill throws during practice at the spring training minor league minicamp Thursday, Feb.17, 2022 at Tiger Town in Lakeland, Florida.(Detroit Free Press)
Detroit Tigers pitching prospect Garrett Hill throws during practice at the spring training minor league minicamp Thursday, Feb.17, 2022 at Tiger Town in Lakeland, Florida.(Detroit Free Press) /

Detroit Tigers pitcher Garrett Hill is adjusting well to his new role.

The Detroit Tigers have gotten solid performances out of several unlikely places in 2022. Injuries have been a real problem for this team’s pitching staff, causing them to end up nearly 20 pitchers deep down their depth chart in terms of starters.

The Detroit Tigers saw Garrett Hill rise to the occasion this summer, stepping up and being a solid piece of the team’s rotation. They have seen him step up on the mound and provide solid outings, time and time again.

Hill had done everything that was asked of him. While he was giving up runs and was more of a two-times through-the-order type of guy, given what was asked, he did a great job. The Tigers needed pitchers who could step up, and Hill was precisely that.

After making eight starts for the Tigers, Hill had pitched to a 4.22 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP over 42.2 innings pitched. He often was going five to six innings, giving up a run or up to three, for the most part.

All told, for a guy making his debut to the big leagues as a 26th-round draft pick, the Tigers will take it. He’s one of those guys who really helped round out the rotation. However, the Tigers felt it might be more optimal to use him out of the bullpen.

The team has since used Hill out of the bullpen in middle relief and long-relief situations. He has allowed just two runs over nine innings, punching out nine and allowing just six hits during that span. He has walked five and left some to desire on avoiding baserunners, but he has been solid.

His new role has treated him well, and the Tigers have to be happy with his performance as a reliever, getting the job done just as well out of the bullpen. But that’s not all that he has changed.

Detroit Tigers pitcher Garrett Hill’s new delivery is helping him too.

A shoutout is due to Woodward Sports Chris Brown and Rogelio Castillo for noticing that Hill had a change in his delivery in his recent outing against the Astros. Detroit Tigers pitching coach Chris Fetter got together with Gabe Ribas, the Director of Minor League pitching, and Hill himself to see if they could maximize his movements and see if it made him more efficient on the mound, and it worked.

Here’s Castillo’s tweet with a video showing his new delivery.

As Castillo mentions, the fastball velocity from Hill was up to 96 mph and averaging 94 mph. This is well above the season average and was not the norm for him. But, if you dive deeper into it, cleaning up his mechanics is likely to be the case here.

Some may argue that he was throwing harder coming out of the bullpen, but in prior bullpen outings, he had not been going over the head but instead gathering at the belt and moving upward as he got into the leg lift. This new delivery is a way for him to get his movements in sync.

As AJ Hinch commented in a recent Detroit Free Press article, the move to change his delivery allows Hill to create good habits. Taking this a step further, the over-the-head delivery can help players get into good positions with fluid actions.

Every pitcher is unique and throws with their own delivery; the pitching coach has to work with each guy to ensure they are moving well and efficiently to get the most out of their body. Joe Jiménez is another example of a guy who made some minor changes mechanically and has reaped benefits.

Hill’s change is more noticeable, but it has worked. He appears to be getting his hands to a better position as his center of mass begins to move down the mound and breaks into the throwing motion.

Going from the belt up could keep his hands too low or keep them moving for too long during the delivery; as seen in the video above, his hands are noticeably higher than where they were before in his delivery. Here’s a link to a tweet with the “old” mechanics that Hill employed.

The bottom line is that the changes have helped Hill get the most out of his performance. He’s adjusted to his changes and the new role, which is something to be excited about as he wraps up the 2022 season.

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Hill has made significant strides this summer and is proving he belongs in the big leagues as a part of this pitching staff; making these changes and adjusting well is only helping his case.