Detroit Tigers rotation leaves Joey Wentz on the outside looking in

Joey Wentz may not see much time in the rotation in 2023.

Detroit Tigers pitcher Joey Wentz (43) delivers a pitch during a 2023 contest.
Detroit Tigers pitcher Joey Wentz (43) delivers a pitch during a 2023 contest. / D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports
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Detroit Tigers pitcher Joey Wentz needs a big year in 2024.

The Detroit Tigers rotation has been mostly ironed out. With some additions this off-season, they beefed up and added new faces. They also have some familiar faces returning and still kicking. One of those players with the Tigers' pitching staff is Joey Wentz.

The left-handed pitcher was a former acquisition of the Detroit Tigers when the team shipped Shane Greene to the Atlanta Braves back in 2019. This came just three years after Wentz was selected with the 40th overall pick in the 2016 draft out of Shawnee Mission East HS in Kansas.

The now 26-year-old has come a long way from his high school days. He's looking to try to hold down a spot in the Tigers' rotation, but there has to be some concern that he will be able to do that. The southpaw has shown some flashes but, for the most part, has more of a reliever look.

For me, Wentz is a left-handed long reliever the Tigers can turn to down the line. The vision for Wentz may be similar to what Tyler Alexander was during his time with Detroit. While Alexander's tenure in Detroit just ended, Wentz has a chance to step into this role on the Tigers pitching staff.

The hitch, in that regard, comes with Tyler Holton or Andrew Chafin being the go-to left-handed pitchers on the team's pitching staff. Those guys will get the high-leverage spots and be the players for A.J. Hinch to call upon when he needs outs from a left-handed arm from the bullpen.

However, Wentz may be the spot starter who provides another left-handed option. But, for the most part, he'll be the mop-up guy and someone for Hinch to call upon when the games get ugly. He grinded out 106.2 innings over 19 starts and six relief appearances during the 2023 season.

Wentz had an abysmal 3-13 record and pitched to a horrendous 6.90 ERA and 1.69 WHIP. Wentz had 47 walks with 98 punchouts on the year. They certainly are not the most exciting set of numbers out there, and far less promising looking ahead. But, if Wentz is able to show that he is a much better arm in 2024, there may be room for him on the staff.

However, something has to give with Wentz. He has to find a role with the club, preferably in the bullpen. Sure, the backend of the rotation is a question mark, but the Tigers are likely not giving up from Wentz quite yet. He'll have his chances during the 2024 season to show some improvements if that is in the cards.

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