As the season winds down, several Detroit Tigers are making their case for a roster spot in 2023. Lefty Joey Wentz is building a good one.
The Detroit Tigers starting rotation has had its share of injury issues this season. This has given the opportunity for pitchers like Matt Manning and Joey Wentz to display what they could bring to the rotation in 2023.
When Wentz was called up in May, his first two starts in the majors were lukewarm. Since coming back from the IL on September 9, he is 2-1 with an ERA of 1.10. The talk has been his cutter, which is a good pitch that was highlighted by Jake Boes of Motor City Bengals recently. Batters are hitting just .143 against the pitch.
But a pitch Wentz throws 57% of the time is his four-seam fastball, which he throws on average at 92.7 MPH. While he has just a whiff rate of 16%, the pitch sets up his cutter and change-up when he can get four-seamer around 93-95. A reason behind this is that Wentz gets 12 inches of horizontal movement on the pitch on right-handers. The league average is seven. He currently has the seventh best % break vs average as far as horizontal movement goes. Which is pretty damn good.
Mike Petriello of MLB.com understands how Baseball Savant pretty well. Whenever you see the color blue on a chart, it usually means the player is not doing too well. I asked Mike for clarification, since the numbers told a different story.
Petriello said I stumbled across a little-known bug on Baseball Savant where if you set the minimum qualifier to be lower than it is when you arrive at the page, then the new arrivals break the color coding.
After all that data diving, it proves that Wentz is sequencing his pitches better. Here’s an example of that in his start in Baltimore. He was using primary his four-seamer, cutter and change up during this at-bat.
If Wentz can stay healthy is another question all together, but if he can, there is enough there to add him to the backend of the rotation in 2023. These numbers show that is totally possible.
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