Detroit Tigers: 3 players playing better than their numbers suggest

Boston Red Sox v Detroit Tigers
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RHP Trey Wingenter

The Tigers' bullpen has been a tire fire to start the year. Nobody can be relied upon to come in and get a clutch out. But there is one reliever that is off to a solid start, and that's Trey Wingenter.

Wingenter hasn't pitched in over three years due to various injuries. He was solid for the Padres back in 2019 with his high 90s fastball and wicked slider, but he could get wild at times. That last part hasn't changed, but he can still be effectively wild.

In four appearances so far in 2023, Wingenter has a 5.40 ERA and four strikeouts in 3.1 IP. Those numbers are okay, but a deeper dive suggests he's been more effective than it looks.

He's been missing a lot of bats, but perhaps most importantly, he's been missing barrels. He's in the 79th percentile in barrel rate and 80th percentile in whiff rate, respectively per Baseball Savant. He's also in the 82nd percentile in chase rate. The only problem is that when he does get hit, he gets hit hard. But again, he's missing barrels.

His most recent appearance last Sunday against the Red Sox showed just how dominant he could be. He was hitting 98 mph on his fastball, and most importantly, he was throwing it for strikes. He had that along with that devastating slider. For a bullpen that's had virtually nobody step up this year, that was a welcome sight.

If Wingenter can build off that last appearance, it should give him some confidence, and should also give A.J. Hinch some confidence in him. Right now, I'm not sure he has confidence in anyone in that bullpen, so he'll take what he can get.

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