Detroit Tigers: Matt Vierling could be a welcome surprise in the outfield
By Tyler Kotila
Detroit Tigers may have something in Matt Vierling.
This off-season, the Detroit Tigers made a move to get rid of closer Gregory Soto, opting to bring in an outfielder, a utility infielder, and a catcher on the flipside. One of the players they received from old friend Dave Dombrowski was Matt Vierling.
The 26-year-old outfielder had worked his way through the Phillies organization and had been with the big league club for parts of the last two seasons coming into 2023. Given the state of the Detroit Tigers organization at this time, he earned an outfield starting spot to kick off 2023.
The intriguing aspect of Vierling's game was easily his defense. He's an athletic and quick-twitch guy. He operates from a 6-foot-3, 205-pound frame but has the athleticism to patrol a corner outfield position. Heck, he might even get a chance at centerfield if Riley Greene is moved around the outfield at times.
Vierling is going to help on the defensive side of things. He may not be a gold glove winner or play to that of a Kevin Pillar/Kevin Kiermaier level, but there's upside in the outfield. He takes good routes and should be able to help save the Tigers some runs. What he is not able to run down and catch, he's got the arm to pair.
Vierling can help control the opposition's run game when they aim to extend a double into a triple or maybe gun a few guys down on the basepaths trying to advance on hits. He's a defense-first guy, but the bat might be something that sneaks up here and there.
The Tigers' offense is a bit worrisome already in 2023. They struggled to produce runs against the Tampa Bay Rays, which will likely be an ongoing problem. However, Vierling had his bat working for him in Monday's win over the Astros.
The right-handed hitter was 4-for-5 with a home run against the Astros.. Of course, his home run was to deep center and ultimately was the deciding factor, but that's not the reason for writing this. He may be a defense-first guy, but he churned out some good at-bats, and the same cannot be said for the whole Tigers offense early on.
It's not to say he's the next in line to be a no.4 hitter and going to hit 30+ bombs in 2023, but he might show some sneaky upside as a hitter and be able to churn out some quality at-bats. For the Tigers, who will welcome any source of run production they can tap into, getting on base will be the game's name.
Given their current state, Vierling might be a solid addition to this team. It will be interesting to see how things work out for him with the Tigers in 2023.