Detroit Tigers: Tarik Skubal needs to show progression in 2022

(Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports)
(Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Detroit Tigers have started to see the youth movement in their rotation. Southpaw Tarik Skubal was one of the players who was has settled in nicely and been a top prospect who is becoming one of the team’s steadfast arms.

For the Detroit Tigers, Skubal is a former ninth-round draft pick who has gone against the grain and fought for his chances in the big leagues. He’s surpassed expectations and has wound up being much better than most expected.

While I may have been a little too high on him in the past, I still think there is room for him to improve and be a steady middle-of-the-rotation left-hander for this Tigers team. He’s been with the big league squad in each of the last two seasons, where he has been mediocre…

What I mean is that he has had some positives AND negatives to him that keep him from being great and allow him not to fall off completely. Looking at the 2022 season and what Skubal may have in the tank, he’s got to remain a crucial piece of this rotation.

Detroit Tigers pitcher Tarik Skubal has to keep progressing.

No one knows the next time the Detroit Tigers will take the field at Comerica Park due to the current climate of the work stoppage. However, with no end in sight, let’s take the optimist route. There will be Tigers baseball at some point this Spring/Summer, and Skubal is going to pitch.

After making his debut during the COVID-19 pandemic shortened summer season of 2020, he bounced back in 2021 to make 29 starts with two bullpen appearances after a rough start. Skubal pitched to an 8-12 record where he had a 4.34 ERA and 1.26 WHIP over 149.1 innings pitched.

The real exciting part about Skubal’s first full summer with the Tigers was his 164 strikeouts on the season. While he’s not in the Cy Young or Rookie of the Year category, no one was really expecting him to be.

Okay… maybe I was a little high on him and may have suggested that he would be better than Casey Mize at one point, not my best valuation. But looking at what Skubal has shown with the big league club, there’s a real belief that he can lock down a middle-of-the-rotation spot for the Tigers.

To do this, he’s got to see an increase in his performance. There should be an expectation of progression for Skubal in 2022. Hoping he can improve upon his ERA and keep opposing hitters at bay.

With the longball being an issue, he’s going to have to improve this and be better about limiting the opposition. Providing quality starts for the Tigers every five days is key; regression in 2022 is going to be detrimental to his future with the Tigers.

I’m not asking him to go out and start 32 games, throwing seven to eight innings, striking out 12, and allowing no runs. But quality starts each time out there is going to make him even more valuable for this team as a middle-of-the-rotation guy.

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Skubal can keep improving, and progression is what he needs to strive for this year.