Detroit Tigers: 3 veteran players who may outlast the rebuild

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Detroit Tigers, Michael Fulmer
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Michael Fulmer – RHP

One of the players that stick out as one who may outlast the rebuild is Michael Fulmer. The right-handed pitcher and now “veteran” of the big leagues is someone who could very well become a mainstay in the team’s bullpen.

When Fulmer made his way to the big leagues with the Detroit Tigers, he was deemed as a starter and took home a Rookie of the Year award after his performance in the 2016 season. He would go on to struggle and falter from his role as a starter, but things have turned around in a new way.

Fulmer has dealt with adversity and injury, but after returning and taking a new role with the 2021 Tigers, he has proven to be quite worthy of being kept around. Fulmer is 28 years old and will not be a free agent until the 2023 season.

So far in 2021, Michael Fulmer has pitched in 38 games for the Tigers. His role has changed, but recently he seems to have settled into a niche spot for himself. He has pitched in 53.2 innings where he’s got a 3.69 ERA, a 1.34 WHIP, and has struck out 58 opposing hitters.

He’s made four starts and closed our fifteen games, quite a change from his early days in the big leagues. But pitching in the later innings of the game might just be Fulmer’s cup of tea. This tweet from Cody Stavenhagen during a recent Tigers game puts some perspective on things.

If Fulmer can become the team’s late-game arm, the Tigers may have found someone. Not to say he will be the closer, but he could become a reliable arm in the team’s backend of the bullpen. The plus with Fulmer being kept around would be working with the team’s young arms.

More of the team’s younger arms will start poking through in the coming seasons, and Fulmer can work with these guys and help facilitate a smoother transition into the big leagues. If Fulmer “outlasts” the rebuild, the expectation would be for him to be a late-game arm that is called upon often by manager A.J. Hinch.