3 Detroit Tigers who have been especially snakebitten to start the season

If they didn't have bad luck, they wouldn't have any luck at all to start the 2024 season.
Miami Marlins v Detroit Tigers
Miami Marlins v Detroit Tigers / Duane Burleson/GettyImages

Some players seem to have all the luck, and others seem to have none of it. Take Reese Olson for example: he's got a 2.09 ERA and ... an 0-4 record. Even Jack Flaherty has to feel a little bad for him.

Or in the lineup, you've got Javier Baez, who is in the bottom five for batting average on balls in play among qualified batters in the majors (.196). What about Colt Keith? Based on batted ball quality, his expected slugging average shows he should be having a pretty good start to his career. Instead he's been just barely getting by.

The bad times (probably) won't go forever, but these three Tigers really need to start throwing some salt over their shoulder before they take the field.

Reese Olson

Let's start with the most obvious one of them all. Reese Olson has made eight starts. He has allowed more than two earned runs in just one of them, and no runs at all in three appearances. Somehow the Tigers have lost seven of those games and he personally has been tagged with four losses.

The most recent came Tuesday, an eight-inning shutout that the Tigers lost 1-0 in 10 innings.

Olson carres an ERA of 2.09, a WHIP of 0.99, a fielding independent pitching stat of 2.54, and 41 strikeouts in 47 innings.

Olson must be wondering if the team will ever put a complete game together around one of his starts.

Jack Flaherty

Like Reese Olson, Jack Flaherty has not won a game yet this season -- he's 0-3. The team has at least won three of the eight games he started, though one of them came after a blown hold cost him the win.

We even wrote a story saying "Jack Flaherty deserved better" earlier this year, and sadly could just recycle it for him and Olson both.

His case isn't quite as strong as Olson's: he's allowed four runs or more twice, and no runs just once.

His ERA is a little higher, 3.88, as is his FIP, 2.97. But he has 63 strikeouts in just shy of 49 innings while allowing just six walks. He's in the top 6% of MLB in K%, top 3% in BB% per Baseball Savant and even struck out 14 in a game.

It's clear the Tigers are blowing great chances to win whenever he's on the mound.

Colt Keith

Colt Keith has not had a great start to his career. Through his first 35 games, he's hitting just .174 with .238 on-base percentage and .200 slugging for a .438 OPS. Under most circumstances, you look at those numbers and assume the 22-year-old rookie is over his head.

To be sure, the gulf between major league pitching and the minor league pitchers he'd been feasting on to get this opportunity is wide -- maybe wider than ever.

Keith has been rather unlucky as well. His batting average on balls in play of .211 (14th worst in MLB) alone shows that. Anyone who has watched more than a few games can tell you that number checks out, as he's been robbed on multiple occasions. Just one example of that from April:

More advanced stats show a differ story. His weighted on base average of .202 may be in the bottom 1% of the league but he has a higher expected wOBA of .303. The gap between his slugging average (.200) and expected slugging average based on batted balls (.395) of .195 is the second worst in MLB among players with more than 100 plate appearances per Baseball Savant.

Surely, some of those balls are going to have to land eventually. Right?