After a strange 2020 season, the 2021 MLB season will be starting on time. Currently, teams are slated to play all 162 games which means pitchers’ workloads will return to normal. More innings and more batters on more teams mean pitchers will actually have time to ramp up, unlike in 2020. During spring training, teams will need to start getting a feel for what their rotations might be. Here is an early look at the Detroit Tigers projected 2021 pitching rotation.
1. Matt Boyd
Matthew Boyd will start out as the ace of the Tigers rotation. Boyd did not have a great season in 2020, throwing a 1.475 WHIP and a 6.71 ERA. One of the contributers to his poor season was his tendency to give up the long ball. He gave up over two home runs per nine innings pitched.
In 2021, Boyd will need to turn it around to remain the ace of the Tigers. While the team is rebuilding, Boyd needs to get back to how he was in the beginning of 2019. In the first two months of 2019, Boyd had WHIPs under 1.1. But since then, he has been a different pitcher. The Tigers believe that he can get back to his 2019 self as they trust him to be the ace of a bad rotation, but he needs to do so to keep the role.
Spencer Turnbull had a pretty good year in 2020. He had a 1.341 WHIP with a 3.49 FIP. Another big positive about Turnbull in 2020 was his improvement from the year prior. In 2019, Turnbull had three wins and a league leading 17 losses. In 2020, his record improved greatly to 4-4. Turnbull said that one of the main reasons for his improvement was his ability to keep control of his mind and stay in the zone throughout the season.
Turnbull is looking to ride the momentum from 2020 into 2021. He has a chance to be the ace of the Tigers rotation and if he is able to keep improving his stuff, he should be able to snag that spot. The biggest thing he needs to improve on from 2020 is his control. He averaged a whopping 4.6 BB/9 last season. If he is able to bring that down to a normal rate and keep his other numbers where they were at last season, he’ll have a great year.
Michael Fulmer will be returning to the Tigers in 2021 with hopes to do anything that he did not do in 2020. He was absolutely atrocious last year. He had a 2.060 WHIP and an 8.78 ERA. With so much excitment at the start of his career, Fulmer is hoping that he can return to a similar status but the hope is running out. Fulmer began his career winning rookie of the year in 2016 as a result of his 1.119 WHIP and 3.06 ERA. After he needed Tommy John after the 2018 season, he has not been the same pitcher.
In 2021, Fulmer needs to forget 2020. His biggest issue was his hits per nine. He gave up an astounding 14.6 H/9 last season. That is a number that needs to come way down for him to find any success next season. One thing Fulmer has said is that he is gaining weight back that he lost prior to last season. He says he is starting to feel better and stronger coming into 2021.
The Tigers signed veteran pitcher Julio Teheran this offseason to have in the back of their rotation. Teheran has been a very solid pitcher throughout his career with the Braves however, last season with the Angels was not one to remember for Teheran. He gave up 3.4 home runs per nine innings which was the second highest in all of baseball last season. That number contributed greatly to his 10 ERA. The Tigers believe that a spike in numbers like that was a fluke and that they are getting good value out of him to help develop their young pitchers of the future like Casey Mize.
5. Jose Urena
The Tigers picked up former Marlins pitcher Jose Urena this offseason to start out in the back end of their rotation. Urena was not very good last year putting up a 1.5 WHIP with a 5.4 ERA. The Tigers signed Urena in hopes of having another veteran pitcher in the back end of their rotation to help breed the young pitchers that they have coming up.
Featured Image courtesy of Paul Abell/UPI
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