Detroit Tigers pitcher Tyler Holton deserves more credit.
While Spencer Torkelson took home the Detroit Tigers Player of the Year award, according to the writers, it's very hard not to give a nod to Tyler Holton. The Detroit Tigers took a flier on Holton last year before the season began, and it was a move that paid off beautifully in the long run.
It may not be the prettiest of moves or one that glorifies Scott Harris in the Hall of Fame, but adding in Tyler Holton proved to be one of the biggest moves of the off-season. I know this sounds like a crazy statement, but Holton was downright dominant for the Tigers organization in 2023. He went out and pitched exceptionally well, and he deserves more credit for the year he had.
The former Florida State Seminoles pitcher has turned himself into a trusted big-league reliever, being able to be effective working from the left side under today's rules where true specialists have started to fizzle out. Holton is able to get the job done whenever called upon, which is something that this team needs.
For the Tigers, it's about finding reliable bullpen arms to build their bullpen with, and Holton proved he is one of those pitchers, and he was rewarded for that this off-season. Looking at things right now, Holton is the only reliever in the bullpen who is left-handed outside of Joey Wentz, which implies that he will see an uptick in usage in 2024.
This comes after an uptick in usage in 2023 as he genuinely found himself a groove and carved himself out a role in the Tigers bullpen for the 2023 season, which has carried over to the 2034 season. Last summer, Holton pitched in 59 games where he logged 85.1 innings of work.
The left-handed pitcher pitched to a 2.11 ERA and a 0.87 WHIP, and he had 18 walks to 74 strikeouts on the season. It was truly a season where he was able to dominate. He found ways to attack hitters and had success in executing. It was great to see that having a reliable left-handed pitcher to call upon out of the bullpen only helped A.J. Hinch manage his pitching staff.
But with the lack of left-handed pitching going into 2024, Holton needs to come out and establish himself early on once again. If he can prove he can be similar to the pitcher he was in 2023, the Tigers will be in an excellent position to trust Holton often. There's a lot to like with Holton; he just needs to prove he is the real deal. After last year, he deserves some credit for his performance.