Detroit Tigers Mason Englert might bring hidden value.
The Detroit Tigers' pitching staff is much different than it was last year. The team's bullpen is vastly different, and not in a good way. But one of the players who might have some hidden value is Mason Englert, a Rule 5 Draft pick from last winter. For some reason or another, things have gone well to this point. I think there's more to the story.
While the Detroit Tigers pitching staff seems to be big positive energy folks this year, Alex Lange is leading the charge with his Pedro Cerrano-like lion & orb shrine that the Bally Sports continue to do little segments on.
Now, I'm not knocking it. Whatever works for you, do it. Everyone sets routines, and if it's really focusing on positive vibes and good energy, let's carry that into this article. Being a Rule 5 draftee, Mason Englert makes it seem like he could get rocked, especially making the jump from Double-A to the big leagues.
It's a sizable jump and quite the transition, but for the Tigers, they may be able to find ways for him to be a serviceable part of this team's pitching staff, especially in a year where they're going to need all the help they can get.
Englert was an unsung hero in the Tigers' first win against the Houston Astros. He pitched three innings where he allowed just two hits but was able to hold the Astros off the scoreboard. The Tigers have called upon Englert on three occasions, and he has been money so far.
Over three outings, Englert has 5.1 innings pitched, where he has allowed four hits, one earned run, walked one, and struck out another. Maybe it's because of his funky start to the delivery and pitching motion, but there's something about Englert that's allowing him to find success early.
The 6-foot-4, 206-pound right-handed pitcher has a bit of a quirky motion. He goes with a sort of down-up bounce before stepping and getting his leg lift started. Before he rides down the slope, the leg lift gets up and even around the logo on the chest.
He's never pitched above Double-A but is being thrown into the fire with the Tigers as he is a Rule 5 Draftee. He's been able to induce weak contact and sequence extremely well. It's helped him avoid giving up hard contact and be successful on the mound.
The good sequencing is seen most with his fastball and changeup. His slider is shown more often, according to Baseball Savant and his limited 2023 data, but he sequences the fastball and changeup extremely well.
The slider is harder in the upper-80s with spin up above the 2,300 RPM range and has a tighter shape with good lateral break. He uses it almost like a cutter, but it's only in the upper-80s. However, the fastball works into the low-80s with spin up above the 2,200 RPM range. It also has a ton of arm-side run.
He has a changeup with a really good fade to it. He is able to turn it over and pronate, causing some serious arm-side depth to it. The pitch works the low-80s. The changeup has 38.1 inches of drop, which is better than the league average, a good bit. It also has 16.9 inches of horizontal break, which, again, is above average.
The stuff is there, with a pitch mix profile to be a benefit. The pitches all look similar out of hand, allowing him to tunnel and sequence well because of that. The fastball up sets him up to throw a changeup that looks like it will be on the same plane as the fastball before disappearing with that depth to it.
Is he the next ace? No. Is he the next-best relief arm? No. But he might end up being the best relief option out of the Tigers' pen as the 2023 season gets underway and the Tigers try to navigate an extremely shaky and unreliable bullpen.