Detroit Tigers claim left-handed reliever from Marlins off waivers

Aug 27, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Miami Marlins starting Sean Guenther (66) pitches against the Cincinnati Reds during the sixth inning at loanDepot Park. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 27, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Miami Marlins starting Sean Guenther (66) pitches against the Cincinnati Reds during the sixth inning at loanDepot Park. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Detroit Tigers have claimed left-handed reliever Sean Guenther off waivers.

The Detroit Tigers have claimed left-handed reliever Sean Guenther off waivers from the Marlins. Guenther is currently rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.

Guenther, who is just 26 years old, has only played one season in the major leagues, the 2021 season. He was a seventh-round draft pick in 2017 out of the University of Notre Dame.

The lefty underwent Tommy John surgery in April 2022. Before surgery, because sometimes these things change post-surgery, his four-seam fastball works around 93 mph with a slider that sits 82-83 mph. Guenther does have a changeup, but he doesn’t throw it that often, mostly only to right-handed hitters.

Sean Guenther was never considered a top prospect for the Marlins, but during the 2021 season, he found himself at the Double-A and Triple-A levels of the minor leagues. In his games in the minor leagues, he had a strikeout rate of around 30 percent with a walk rate below five percent.

When the Miami Marlins called him up late in the 2021 season, Guenther struggled. He walked ten batters in 20.1 innings but did strike out 15 batters. At the end of the day, Guenther needs to simply get outs, the goal of every pitcher.

How does he get outs best? Ground balls. With a four-seam fastball sitting low to mid-90s and a sweeping slider, pairing those up to get ground balls will make him most effective at the major league level.

There is nothing about Guenther that makes me super excited. This isn’t a Scott Harris move that will make the front page, but this is a move that is about building a team. A young left-handed reliever that has some work to do, but could be a valuable piece when this team is getting ready to compete.

This move also comes in contrast with left-handed reliever Andrew Chafin opting out of his contract and entering free agency.

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