Detroit, MI

Detroit Tigers: A Quarterly Review

Javier Baez signed with the Tigers as a free agent.Photo byNotorious4life (talk) (Uploads), Creative Commons Zero, Public Domain Dedication

By Joe Underhill

We have passed the quarter mark for the 2023 baseball season, and this seems a good time to take stock of the Detroit Tigers.

At the time of this writing, the Tigers are sitting with a record of 22-25 for a winning percentage of 46.8% and are on pace to win 75 games this season.

That is a vast improvement from where they started the season (2-9), when they looked like they might push the ’03 Tigers for the worst team in franchise history. 

At the beginning of the year, the Tigers alternated struggling either with the bat (only three runs scored against Tampa) or on the mound (giving up eight or more runs in four of their first ten games).

However, things seemed to turn around for the Tigers following the benching of Javier Baez during a game against Toronto when he forgot how many out there were in the inning. The Tigers not only won that game but went on a five-game winning streak and have been playing close to .500 since. 

After a cold start to the season, prized youngsters Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson have rounded into the form more closely resembling what the Tigers believed Greene and Torkelson could have.

In March/April, Greene slashed .234/.293/.327 with an sOPS* of 72. In May, Greene is slashing .373/.434/.587 with an sOPS of 179 and is now tied for the team lead in home runs. Torkelson started the year slashing .206/.266/.309 with an sOPS of 59.

In May, he is up to .269/.337/.436 for an sOPS of 112.

Both players are hitting the ball hard, 44% for Greene and 48.6% for Torkelson, and the expected results for putting the ball in play are starting to come though. 

Going into the 2022 season, the Tigers spent big on Eduardo Rodriguez and Javier Baez. Both had terrible 2022 seasons (albeit for different reasons).

This year, however, Rodriguez has been the pitcher the Tigers believed they were signing, spanning 10 starts and 61.2 innings. He has a 4-4 record with a 2.19 ERA, a WHIP of .957 and an ERA+ of 195.

Baez, like the rest of the Tigers offense, started the year slowly, but has rebounded and is now slashing .243/.294/.335 and leads the team in RBIs with 23. In addition, all 11 of his home runs have come in the month of May. 

The biggest surprise for the 2023 Tigers has been the play of their bullpen.

Coming into the year, the Tigers had a lot of young players vying for roles in the pen. It appeared the Tigers had weakened their relief corps with the trades of Gregory Soto and Jose Jimenez and the free-agent loss of Andrew Chafin.

Two of the biggest storylines have been the emergence of Alex Lange as a high- leverage and de facto closer and the growth Rule 5 pick Mason Englert.

Lange is pitching to a 1.27 ERA, .938 WHIP, and 9 saves. Englert has pitched in some big-leverage situations and there have been some bumps along the road including being a bit homer prone. 

Overall, the Tigers have shown they are a team that will compete from start to finish and while they still have their issues, they are rounding into a team that is fun to watch and will surprise some really good teams.

*OPS for a split relative to league’s Split OPS.

Joe Underhill is a high school administrator and diehard baseball fan and fan of the city of Detroit. Joe currently writes for You can follow Joe on Twitter@TransplantedDet or email

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