Detroit Tigers: Where there is a Will, there is a way (to win)

(Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports)
(Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports) /

It is no secret that the Detroit Tigers‘ 2022 season has yet to meet any sort of expectations up to this point. Much of that can be attributed to the extremely unfortunate slate of injuries plaguing the pitching staff. Casey Mize, Matt Manning, Tyler Alexander, Michael Pineda, and more have seen Injured List (IL) time and been unavailable to pitch.

That has meant many arms have been pushed into high-pressure situations. Will Vest and Wily Peralta, two of those arms, have shown off the staff’s willpower and resilience despite challenging circumstances.

Although neither was anticipated to be a key piece to this staff entering the season, both have proven their major league talent and have helped to keep the Tigers afloat in what has felt very much like a dour start to what was initially an extremely promising season.

Now, they are most definitely not the only key pieces stepping up in big ways. For instance, Jacob Barnes, Alex Lange, and Rony Garcia have all been excellent despite the low expectations for their performance, and they are even adding pieces to try and help. However, both of the Wils have something to prove, and both show reasons to believe their performance might finally be sustainable.

Now, without further ado…

The Detroit Tigers have incredible “Will” power in their pitching staff

Wily Peralta was a Tiger in 2021, and a surprise at that. His 3.07 ERA in 18 starts were both far better than any person could have predicted for the free-agent signing. His numbers were good enough to justify a second season in Detroit, but he was coming back to a far more stacked staff, to which he kicked his performance up another gear.

Peralta has been excellent this season. While he has only come out of the bullpen this season (save for a single start against the Astros), Peralta has been stellar, posting a 1.10 ERA in 16.1 IP, with 15 strikeouts. He has been worth 0.5 bWAR and despite his 6.1 BB/9 mark, he has been extremely effective this season.

The other component of the pitching Will power is one Will Vest, a former relief prospect that got picked up by the Mariners in the 2021 Rule 5 Draft, where he then posted a 6.17 ERA in 35 innings pitched. He was returned last June and joined Detroit this season to try and help the medically ailing bullpen.

Vest has been excellent. 2.12 ERA in 17 innings pitched with 22 strikeouts (good for a 13.5 K/9) as well as a 0.65 WHIP. His numbers indicate the turnaround that the Tigers clearly knew was possible. It should not be too surprising, given his 2021 4.17 FIP and 0.5 HR/9, but it has most certainly been a welcome surprise to the Tigers bullpen.

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Although this season has not been what anyone necessarily hoped for or expected, it has had its bright spots. The team clearly still has potential and once key pieces recover from injury, the sky is the limit for the Tigers. We as fans can sleep soundly with the knowledge that in the dark times, there is “Will” power in the Detroit staff.