Disgruntled Tigers fans can rest easy knowing that 37-year-old Chris Fetter is leading Detroit’s young pitching staff.
Chris Fetter pitched for four years at the University of Michigan, leading the Wolverines pitching staff as a crafty, 6’8 right-handed pitcher. He was a three-time All-Big Ten honoree and led the team to three Big Ten titles and four NCAA Tournament appearances. A true student of the game, he was a “quiet leader” and an extraordinary mentor to his younger Wolverine teammates.
Fetter holds the school records for innings pitched (332.1) and ranks third in wins (28) and strikeouts (281). After graduating in 2009, he was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the ninth round and played professionally for four years, with a 3.56 ERA in 51 games.
Before returning to Michigan as their pitching coach, Fetter spent time in the Los Angeles Angeles organization before serving as the Los Angeles Dodgers’ minor-league pitching coordinator. He joined the Dodgers in 2016 after one season as the pitching coach at Ball State. His time coaching at BSU was a reunion for Fetter and Head Coach Rich Maloney. Maloney, previously Head Coach at Michigan, recruited Fetter and the two built a Big Ten powerhouse in the mid-2000’s.
By 2017, the 6’8 Fetter returned to Ann Arbor and spent two seasons as Michigan’s pitching coach alongside Erik Bakich. In his final season, Michigan’s pitching staff posted an impressive ERA of 3.46 in the college game, where aluminum bats are used. The team ranked 10th in the nation in ERA and ninth in hits per nine innings (7.44). Despite a record of 50-22, Michigan fell to Vanderbilt in the best-of-three championship series.
Fetter’s philosophy is to focus on enhancing the strengths of his pitchers rather than developing both strengths and weaknesses. In his second full season with the team, Fetter has helped turn former high-end prospects, cast-offs, and Rule 5 picks into quality major leaguers. He deserves praise for his player development and analytical skills.
As the big-league pitching coach, Fetter also has influence throughout the organization and has shaped the way the entire organization teaches pitching. He is doing so with the help of like-minded coaches such as Gabe Ribas and Stephanos Stroop.
Despite some challenges ahead for Scott Harris and the Tigers, the overall framework looks favorable with Fetter leading the pitching staff. Detroit fans should spend a few extra moments praying that the Tigers can retain Fetter for years to come.
Happy Birthday to you, Chris Fetter!
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