Detroit Tigers: A deep dive into Joey Wentz after his first start of 2023
By Tyler Kotila
A deeper dive into Detroit Tigers southpaw Joey Wentz's first outing.
It's been four games since the Detroit Tigers kicked off their 2023 campaign. Left-handed pitcher Joey Wentz has made his first start of the season, toeing the slab against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday in the series finale.
While Rays pitcher Jeffrey Springs was dealing, no-hitting the Detroit Tigers through six to help secure a victory for Tampa Bay, there was a ton to like about Wentz and his outing. Wentz provided one of the lone highlights from the opening weekend sweep that the Rays handed the Tigers.
There's something just different about Wentz. I was able to take in his start in person, and he looked exceptional, making some serious strides from where he was in the past, better defining his pitch mix. According to Statcast data on Baseball Savant, Wentz throws a fastball, cutter, changeup, and curveball as his four-pitch arsenal.
Wentz finished the day with a final line of: 5.1 innings pitched, four hits, three runs (all three earned), one walk, and three punchouts, and was on the hook for the loss. The Rays rallied in the bottom of the sixth to tag on a few, and it ultimately led to Wentz getting the hook from A.J. Hinch and the bullpen crumbling as Jason Foley was called upon.
But, beyond the box score, it was an excellent outing from Wentz. He was making a bunch of really good pitches, hitting his spots, and making good decisions on sequencing. He threw 72 pitches on the day, 47 for strikes, being good for a shade over 65% strikes on the day.
He induced ten total whiffs on the day and kept the ball from being hit hard with two line drives on the day. Randy Arozarena stepped on one and drove it deep to left field for a home run, but as was noted by most of the beat writer crew, he made the right pitch, but Arozarena got the best of him... and that happens.
Good sequencing and effectively mixing his pitches were the name of the game for Wentz. Some changes this off-season to better define his arsenal. He debuted the Cutter, which has really helped bridge the gap in his pitch mix.