Detroit Tigers: Designing the perfect arsenal based on the 2023 pitching staff

Building an arsenal using individual pitches from the Detroit Tigers pitching staff.
Jun 26, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA;  Baseball sits on the mound prior to the game between the
Jun 26, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Baseball sits on the mound prior to the game between the / Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
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Snapping off Detroit Tigers RHP Reese Olson's sliders.

As we dive into our first of two breaking balls, it was an easy choice when looking at the Detroit Tigers pitching staff for both of these. First up is Reese Olson and his filthy slider. The pitch has exceptional shape and will be an out-pitch in this arsenal that can be used for swings and misses, especially given how well the pitch performs at the big-league level.

Heck, Olson throws his slider as his primary pitch for the Tigers, using the pitch 30.6% of the time in 2023, per his Baseball Savant data. The pitch averages the mid-80s and is a really productive pitch for Olson to rely on. It held opposing hitters to a .217 batting average with 41 strikeouts recorded via the slider. He also managed a 41.6% whiff rate and a 22.8% PutAway% during the 2023 season, using the slider for tons of success.

But the stats are not the only exciting part about this pitch. While he averages the mid-80s on the slider, throwing it for strikes, the pitch has absurd spin numbers. He has been up above 3,000 RPMs a ton, and per Baseball Savant, the slider averaged 2,989 RPMs during the 2023 season. The breaker has 40.8 inches of vertical and 7.8 inches of horizontal, with a pretty shape.

It takes a quick search on X/Twitter to look up "Reese Olson Sliders" to fall in love with the pitch. He spins it well, spins it often, and spins it for success. With that in mind, it was an easy decision to include Olson's slider as part of this arsenal. His slider is pitch no.3 on the list, being the first of two breakers.