Detroit Tigers: Minor league pitchers to watch in 2022

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Detroit Tigers
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Detroit Tigers prospect Garrett Hil is another one to keep an eye on.

Hill is another late-round draftee that has performed at every level so far, yet he only has about 20 Double-A innings. Over two levels in 2019 and two levels in 2021, he put up a 2.25 ERA and 2.74 ERA, respectively. His 10.4 minor league K/9 is impressive, as is his 0.3 HR/9. The only question marks are in his control (3.2 career BB/9) and his ability to go late into games (only six of his 46 starts have gone for seven innings, his career-high).

However, his performance is not to be understated, and his audition in the Arizona Fall League shows that he can play with the best competition. Over five Fall League appearances (three starts), he had a 1.98 ERA and 21 strikeouts in only 13.2 innings. That earned him an appearance in the Fall Stars game, where he threw an inning and struck out two, allowing only one hit.

His fastball is a strong low-mid 90s offering with a good deal of cut. He locates it well, and he can even consistently elevate it. He has a four-pitch mix, with the most effective being a plus changeup with a lot of arm-side run and a slider that plays well off of the other three pitches. His mechanics are clean and repeatable, and he throws out of a high 3/4 arm slot that doesn’t require much effort.

Hill attacks the strike zone (65% strike rate, 58.6% first-pitch strike rate) and keeps the ball on the ground (around a 50% ground ball rate). With all of these tools, he has a decently high ceiling and relatively high floor. He does not seem like a high injury risk player. With some improvements to his breaking balls (sliders being Chris Fetter’s specialty), Hill could be a strong five (or) spot-starter in a good scenario or a mid-innings reliever that will keep the ball out of the air in a bad scenario.

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Overall, there is far more minor league depth in starting pitchers than many fans expect. If we see the improvement from Brieske and Hill that we hope, both could be quality back-end pieces that might help the team win games. Further, with Chris Fetter being the guru he is with young pitchers, both have a chance to thrive in the Tigers’ system.