Detroit Tigers are hoping for Tarik Skubal to flourish in his role as the ace.
The Detroit Tigers are starting out on the 2024 season with Tarik Skubal leading the charge. If things change, the rotation may shift around. However, this year will be Skubal's first chance to get through a full season as the team's ace. He returned in 2023 from flexor tendon surgery, which was big for him to get back on the mound.
But with the 2024 season starting to stare the Detroit Tigers in the face, it's time to come to grips with the fact that he will be the ace of this team going into Spring Training. From a ninth-round pick to an ace, Skubal has come a long way. I've been the high guy on Skubal since he started to tap into some of his success in the minors, but I never expected him to be an ace during his road through the minors.
Some folks were displeased with Skubal, expecting him to be nothing more than a relief arm. At times, his stuff was not always bat-missing, and the fastball shape needed some work, but he's been able to be a serviceable big-league starter and finds himself as the ace of this staff.
Even with former first overall pick Casey Mize returning from Tommy John, Skubal will get the nod as the no.1, deservedly so. Skubal's carved out a significant role with Detroit and will come out in 2024 looking to continue to develop his stuff and be a top talent in the league.
Skubal may not be viewed as a true ace since he would likely be nothing more than a #2 or #3 on most teams, but he's a great arm, and the Tigers are lucky to have him making a start every sixth day. The 27-year-old southpaw still has a lot to prove, and a full year under his belt will only do him good; he needs to get through it.
In 2023, after getting healthy and finding his way on the mound again, Skubal made 15 starts for Detroit. He accumulated 80.1 innings pitched, managing a 2.80 ERA and a 0.90 WHIP. He walked just 14 hitters while striking out 102 of them on the campaign. He came back with some authority in his return to the mound, tapping into success immediately.
Even if Skubal does not have the most electrifying "stuff" around, he's got an arsenal to compete and can pitch. He's able to win at-bats, put away hitters, and execute on the mound, which allows him to tap into this success. He's shown he can be a big-league starter, but 2024 will be his chance to step up and be 'the guy" for this Tigers pitching staff.
A big 2024 season from Skubal would be tremendous for him as the left-hander really starts to come into his own for the Tigers' pitching staff.