RHP Joe Jimenez
With the year he’s had, Jimenez was probably a lock to make the roster next year anyway. But I’m going to make the argument he could return next season as the team’s new closer.
Jimenez has had a career year, sporting a 3.49 ERA and 77 strikeouts in 56.2 innings pitched this season. The key for him is that he’s finally kept the walks down. Last year, his walk rate was a whopping 16.7%. This year, he’s got it all the way down to 5.6%. His strikeout to walk ratio is an astounding 5.92. Jimenez has finally turned into what the Detroit Tigers thought he would be.
Now, he’s still not without his flaws. He still gets hit around a bit, giving up 49 hits this season. His hard hit rate allowed is actually much higher than it was last year at almost 40%. We can probably attribute that to what I like to call “Michael Fulmer disease.” He’s around the zone so much, and hitters know that, so they’re up there ready to swing at a mistake pitch.
But nevertheless, I think he’s got a pretty good chance at returning to the closer’s role in 2023. He’s got the stuff and the mentality on the mound to be able to do it.
Now you may be asking yourself, what about Gregory Soto? He’s still got three years of team control left. Don’t worry, we’ll get to him.