Detroit Tigers: Expect Gregory Soto to continue his upward trend in 2021

(Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports)
(Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Detroit Tigers should expect Gregory Soto to continue his upward trend in 2021.

For the Detroit Tigers, reliever Gregory Soto came out of the gates looking like he was the next best lock-down bullpen arm. However, he would undergo some rough outings that shifted his stats a bit by the end of the 2021 season.

The Tigers have Soto slated to be one of the late-game arms that manager A.J. Hinch will deploy during the 2021 season. Soto, a left-handed reliever, is heading into his third season with the Tigers organization, looking to show further development into a true asset to the bullpen.

Soto is 25 years old and will look to be that seventh or eighth inning reliever for the Tigers after he was given that role during the 2020 season. In 2021, Soto might even find himself getting some chances to close out ballgames, but that hinges on the Tigers’ offseason signings.

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In 2020’s 60-game shortened season, Soto played in 27 games where he totaled 23 innings pitched. Soto managed a 4.30 ERA, a 1.26 WHIP, and struck out 29 hitters.

Two back-to-back outings in August led to six of his 11 earned runs being produced by opposing teams.

Without those six earned runs, Soto’s ERA would have been 1.96 over the course of the 2020 season. Pretty impressive how much two bad outings drastically changed his ERA.

The Tigers currently have Bryan Garcia slated for the closer role, with Soto also projected to get some chances.

This does not factor in any of the possible offseason signings, which hopefully will bring in a closer for the Tigers.

Soto is still looking to settle in and produce that 1.95 ERA without those bad outings. However, the 2021 season is a great chance for him to hone in on this and ensure he avoids bad outings that screwed his ERA in 2020.

Not to mention, Soto has a new pitching coach at his disposal with A.J. Hinch hiring Chris Fetter away from the University of Michigan Baseball program. Fetter brings a whole new understanding of analytics and the statistical side of the game that the younger generation has brought in.

Expect Fetter to positively impact almost all of the arms on this pitching staff, not just Soto. But, Fetter is going to be able to work with Soto as well, hopefully making him even better. It just seems like Soto is a step or two away from being that lock-down arm and avoiding those bad outings.

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It also seems like the 2021 season is a good a time as ever for Gregory Soto to emerge as a star of the Detroit Tigers bullpen.