Detroit Tigers: Learning from the Tampa Bay Rays 2020 bullpen make-up

(Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)
(Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Detroit Tigers
(Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Detroit Tigers were far from a World Series appearance, but there is something to take away from the Tampa Bay Rays and their pitching staff.

The Detroit Tigers did not even sniff the postseason, but something can be learned from the current 2020 World Series match-up. The Tampa Bay Rays Moneyball’d their way into the World Series, led by analytics, statistics, and data reliance.

Not to say they do not belong there, because they do, but the Rays are an excellently managed club who has played match-ups well and managed to be dominant in the American League (AL) East division. The Rays are one of the most versatile and flexible teams across Major League Baseball, especially in their bullpen.

While the Los Angeles Dodgers have exposed some flaws and tallied runs off their arms, there is something to learn from this. It has been known how terrible the Tigers bullpen has been in recent years, but performances from Buck Farmer and breakout seasons from Bryan Garcia made it seem like there’s hope.

The Tigers are not in an era of competition; they are still undergoing their rebuild and trying to figure out which of their talents will slot in as starters and who might end up in the bullpen. Given how the Rays have pieced together an impressive bullpen, even without a few of their better arms who were out to injury, they have found ways to make it work.

The Rays use analytics and plenty of data to influence some of the decisions they make, and I know that to some, that might mean you will stop reading because I said the word analytics, but bear with me.

As the Tigers march on through the rebuild, the odds of them shelling out money left, and right may not be as high under the influence of Christopher Ilitch. While the former Mike Ilitch would start cutting checks trying to ensure the Tigers had the money they needed to sign a stable full of bullpen arms, his sone Christopher does not do the same.

This concept is forward-thinking, assuming the Tigers return to contention in a few years as the prospects start filtering through. They will have to start assembling a bullpen, not that this can be done totally from within, but look at what the Rays have done.

It is not the perfect plan and might not work for the way the Tigers go about things in their organization. Still, the Rays have found dominance in an unlikely way, and the Tigers could save money to allocate somewhere else by developing a versatile bullpen.