Scott Harris has all but confirmed an overhaul of the Detroit Tigers roster
The Detroit Tigers finally seem to have a smart person running the organization in new president of baseball operations Scott Harris. He laid out his vision for the club in yesterday’s press conference, and it all sounded great. But one thing’s for sure: there aren’t a lot of players on this roster right now that line up with that vision.
Riley Greene, Spencer Torkelson, and some of the starting pitchers like Tarik Skubal and Matt Manning follow the developing young players mantra that he preaches. The keeping young players part is still to be determined, as none of the players listed above are even eligible for arbitration yet.
But the third and last part is where Harris really has some work to do. He wants this team to dominate the strike zone, and the past few seasons, the Detroit Tigers have been letting the strike zone dominate them. The Tigers are tied for last in all of baseball in walk rate this season.
If you look at the league leaders in walk rate, many of them will likely be playoff teams. Even Harris’ old team, the Giants, are a top five team in baseball in terms of walk rate. Good teams draw walks—it’s that simple.
The player that led the Tigers in walks this season is Robbie Grossman, and he now plays for the Atlanta Braves—who, ironically enough, have a below-average team walk rate. The only other players on the Tigers roster that have an above average walk rate are Torkelson and Greene.
There are players like Jeimer Candeliario and Akil Baddoo that have shown good plate discipline in the past, but haven’t shown it this year, although Baddoo still maintains a 10.3% walk rate in limited at-bats this season. Those two players in partuclar will be tough deciision for Harris this offseason.
On the pitching side, it’s the exact same way. The teams who walk the least amount of batters and generate swings and misses are typically the ones that make the playoffs. The Tigers have a pitcher walk rate that is just above average, and they are in the bottom third of the league in strikeout rate and strikeout to walk ratio. Again, the Giants are fifth in the league in walk rate, and tied for 10th in the league in strikeout to walk ratio.
The point I’m trying to make here is that the Detroit Tigers will be undergoing a huge roster purge this offseason. The Castros, Victor Reyes, Daz Cameron, Zack Short, Drew Hutchison, even Gregory Soto—all guys that have trouble controlling the strike zone, one way or another—all could be on the chopping block this offseason.
As Scott Harris and company try to get this roster back in a competitive state, look for them to add players with good plate discipline on offense and pitchers who throw strikes.