Detroit Tigers: Eric Haase is not the answer behind the dish
Eric Haase is not the future of Detroit Tigers catchers.
The Detroit Tigers will need to find a catcher for the future. With Tucker Barnhart struggling throughout the 2022 season and not living up to expectations, something has to give. There are some options out there, but Eric Haase should not be considered one of them.
The Detroit Tigers are going to have their work cut out for them. Finding a catcher for the future could get interesting. Dillon Dingler is the internal option with hopes he can crack the big league roster in 2023 in some capacity, even if he does not open the season with the team.
Eric Haase has been a go-between for the team, being able to put him behind the dish and get his bat in the lineup. But Haase is not an everyday catcher for the long term. I have a hard time seeing a Tigers team where Haase is the team’s number-one backstop.
He came out swinging in 2022 and pieced together another strong performance after his contract was purchased from the Cleveland Guardians in 2020. He has since proven to be a good bat for the Tigers organization, whether as a starter or even off the bench on occasion.
In 2022, Haase was behind the dish in 84 games, 68 of those being starts. He had four starts in the outfield, 11 total appearances, and was the team’s designated hitter in 13 games, with eight being starts.
With over 110 games played in total, Haase managed to accumulate 351 total plate appearances. He slashed .254/.305/.443 with 17 doubles, a triple, and 14 home runs for 44 RBI with the Tigers. Taking out anyone who did not have over 300 plate appearances, Haase was second on the team in both Barrel % and Hard Hit %, which speaks to his tools in the batters’ box.
While there was not a huge difference year over year, the Tigers saw Haase decrease his strikeout percentage from being in the bottom 5% of the league at 31.2% down to a 27.6% rate in 2022. It’s an improvement that is a step in the right direction.
Even though Haase has been a comfortable bat and a solid backstop for the Tigers, there has to be some concern for the long term. Haase will not be able to hold up as the team’s everyday catcher.
On the flipside, in 2023, he will have a chance to work alongside Jake Rogers and possibly Dillon Dingler as the season progresses. Rogers should be hoping to get off to a good start as he returns from Tommy John surgery, needing to get off on the right foot with the new front office.
It will be interesting to see how the new regime handles Haase being around if they choose to pursue other options.