Detroit Tigers: Examining the depth addition of Tyler Holton
A look at Detroit Tigers waiver claim Tyler Holton.
The Detroit Tigers recently placed right-handed pitcher Casey Mize on the long-term Injured List (IL) as he continues to recover from Tommy John Surgery and back surgery, he disclosed recently to the media.
In a corresponding move to the Mize IL transfer, the Detroit Tigers went out and claimed left-handed pitcher Tyler Holton from Arizona. Holton is the second player the Tigers have claimed from the Diamondbacks this off-season after they grabbed Edwin Uceta earlier this winter.
Nonetheless, the Tigers will see Holton join the team as a depth addition to the team's pitching staff and be another left-handed arm to call upon as needed. He's likely to start the season in Triple-A with Lakeland after making his debut in 2022 with Arizona.
However, Holton's an uber-competitive player who will keep grinding, and the Tigers might benefit from that if he can create some competition in the bullpen. Likely that will happen at the Triple-A level, but his competitiveness is an asset.
Holton is a 6-foot-2, 200-pound right-hander with a bit of physicality to his build. He's got a bigger lower half and uses that to his advantage in his delivery. He works from the wind-up with a side-step into a leg lift up around the letters. He takes his eyes away from the plate, getting into the leg lift before focusing in as he rides the slope downward.
Holton has a slight "down and out" motion to the leg kick. He gets into that aforementioned leg lift but works downward before he lets the linear move carry out moving down the mound. He's slightly coiled as he gets into the leg lift and uncoils, driving down the mound.
He tends to work directly to the plate and does a good job clearing the hip as he rotates through release. He has a full arm swing through release from a higher arm slot. He gets out over the front foot as well.
Now, Holton's not going to bring some crazy stats to the table or anything, but he has a chance to try and be a competitive left-handed option as needed. Holton pitched in 10 games with the Diamondbacks in 2022, with 9.0 innings pitched in his debut. He allowed eight hits, surrendering three earned runs while striking out six opposing hitters.
Besides his big league debut, Holton made 24 appearances for Reno at the Triple-A level. He pitched to a 4.43 ERA and 1.25 WHIP over 44.2 innings of work. He had 43 punchouts while walking, just 17 opposing hitters.
His fastball can work into the low-90s with spin up above 2,100 RPMs, and he pairs that with a bigger-breaking curveball that he gets good depth on, spinning it up to 2,588 RPMs. Holton also has low-to-mid-80s changeup that he kills spin on down into the 1,600 RPM range. He also has a cutter that he mixed in to try and tunnel off the fastball; it will be interesting to see how he refines his pitch mix and plan of attack with the Tigers in 2023.
The former product of Florida State University has been with the Diamondbacks since 2019 and continues to work towards becoming a big leaguer. The Tigers will stash him in the minors and hope he pans out as a left-handed relief option to call up as needed.