Detroit Tigers: Gregory Soto finding a groove in the bullpen in 2021

(Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports)
(Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Detroit Tigers have tried out countless players as closers. When the team hired new manager A.J. Hinch, it was noted that they would likely roll with a revolving door scenario. Since then, the team has tried out plenty of arms in the closer role, and Gregory Soto is one of them.

He notched a save in his latest outing and looks like he is going to be the team’s answer for the time being. This is not his first rodeo as the closer; he has been there before and struggled. But, regardless of his role, Soto has found success when called upon by the Detroit Tigers in 2021.

Last season, Soto posted a 4.30 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP over 23 innings of work with 29 strikeouts for the Tigers. He was a flamethrowing lefty who needed to hone in on some control and ability to throw his pitches for strikes.

This year, Soto has looked good and made some good adjustments, though he has still thrown a league-leading eight wild pitches in 2021. But, after a not-so-pleasant start, Soto has consistently worked his ERA lower and lower.

Detroit Tigers flamethrowing southpaw Gregory Soto has gotten into a groove lately.

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In 2021, Soto has pitched in a total of 31 games, totaling 27.2 innings pitched for the Tigers. He currently boasts a 2.60 ERA, a 1.45 WHIP, and has punched out 31 opposing hitters.

The WHIP is definitely still an area of work for him, but he has been able to get outs which is key for the lefty.

Soto has been able to iron things out and is not giving up as many runs as he did early on in the season.

In the month of May, Soto gave up five runs over the course of all of his outings; this month, he surrendered one in his outing on June 1st and has not done it again since.

These last two weeks are where Soto has really turned it on. Over 6.2 innings of work, Soto has allowed two hits and one run, where he has eight punchouts and is holding the opposition to a .095 batting average.

While he only has six saves on the year, he does lead the team in that category. It may be time to start delegating the ninth inning to Soto and making him the closer. He has not always been the best in that role, but he is pitching well, so why not trot him out there.

In 2020 the Tigers were horrible, and in 2019 they were even worse, so Soto was not always able to get reps in a closer role. When the team is getting beaten consistently, there was not always a save situation to throw him in.

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Soto’s groove lately should be seen as a time to give him the ninth-inning role once again.