Examining Mason Englert's first year with the Detroit Tigers.
Last year, around this time, the Detroit Tigers were preparing for the Rule 5 Draft that takes place in the winter as part of the off-season cycle. For Detroit, they selected a right-handed pitcher from the Texas Rangers organization, Mason Englert.
Detroit Tigers right-handed pitcher Mason Englert joined the big league club after being selected last winter, and was thrust into the big show. He jumped from High-A/Double-A to the big leagues after being plucked from Texas's organization.
He went through his first full season, and Englert got his feet under him or tried to, at least. As is the case with Rule 5 Draftees, he has to stay with the big league club. Englert is a soon-to-be 24-year-old who has been looking to carve out a role with the Tigers pitching staff.
He was tested across various roles in 2023. He made 31 games in 2023, including one start and seven games finished. He totaled 56.0 innings pitched, where he managed to pitch to a 5.46 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP while pitching to 17 walks and 41 punchouts.
Englert has a four-pitch mix, with his slider being the primary offering. It's primarily slider-fastball-changeup, though he has a curveball that is seldom used as part of the arsenal. Looking at things, neither the fastball nor slider were all too different against opposing hitters, though they did do a bit more damage on the fastball.
Both the fastball and slider managed an opposing .284 batting average. However, the fastball saw opponents slug to a .672 rate, including five doubles and seven homers, with an average exit velocity of 91.1 mph, as per Baseball Savant data.
Nearly 10% of all batted balls allowed by Englert in 2023 were considered barrels, which pairs with a 44.3% HardHit%, which is not ideal. Englert was getting hit and getting hit hard. He struggled to get the swing-and-miss from opposing hitters, which led to some struggles.
The stats are not super pretty, even for a player making significant leaps through the organization. The thing that is on Englert's side is that the bullpen has space and needs an arm to eat up some innings. Englert has a chance to try and work the kinks out and prove he can carve out a role in the Tigers bullpen.
After year one, there's a lot of room to improve, a lot of areas to make changes, and plenty of things for him to work on as he prepares for 2024. No one was expecting a Rookie of the Year performance from Englert after being a Rule 5 Draftee, but his performance was not the prettiest.