Detroit Tigers: Southpaw Tarik Skubal refining pitch mix does wonders

(Detroit Free Press)
(Detroit Free Press) /

The Detroit Tigers are looking to see southpaw Tarik Skubal make some strides on the mound, and some recent changes he’s made should help him accomplish this. In his latest Spring Training starts, there were some tweets about Skubal refining his pitch mix to be a complete pitcher.

If the Detroit Tigers can get more out of Skubal from his pitch mix, there will be four big-league quality offerings with the addition of this slider as a consistent pitch that he is aiming to tunnel with his fastball and curveball combination that he uses a lot.

While it’s just one outing, it seems like the Tigers’ southpaw is looking to make the slider a larger part of his pitch mix and try to have two reliable breaking balls to work with against hitters. Being able to mix in a higher-tilt curveball with a sweeping slider will be beneficial for him.

Moving forward, Skubal’s going to be pushing to be a reliable starter for the Tigers and cement his role in the three-spot of the rotation. The former ninth-round pick has risen quickly and made a name for himself in the Tigers rotation.

Detroit Tigers’ Tarik Skubal working on his slider will help refine his pitch mix.

He’s thrown 22.8% sliders, according to his Statcast data. He pairs that with another breaking ball, a curveball that he’s only thrown 6.8% of the time. While it’s not a pitch that he throws very often, his curveball has good depth to it.

But if he is able to lock down the slider, he has three quality big-league offerings and will be able to add more value with the curveball, mixing it in to offer a nice change of pace. Skubal is coming off of a season where he made 29 starts, logged 149.1 innings pitched, pitched to a 4.34 ERA, a 1.26 WHIP, and collected 164 strikeouts in the process.

There is still a lot of room for Skubal to end up settling into the rotation. Being able to rely on the slider for more swings and misses, use it for more success. Skubal’s slider is ranked a 60 on the 20-80 scale, according to FanGraphs reports.

Plus, working on a slider makes sense, given that Chris Fetter is the pitching coach. If there’s something that can be said about Fetter, it’s that he likes the guys who can spin the slider and command the fastball with velocity.

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While Skubal will not sit 97-99 mph, he averages 94.3, according to Statcast, and refining his pitch mix will give him options to tunnel better and work more efficiently. The Tigers should be happy with what Skubal can bring to the table for the team moving forward.