AJ Hinch and Chris Fetter were added to the Tigers coaching staff in 2020 and fans were hopeful. Hinch captured a World Series in 2017 for the Houston Astros. He was then later suspended for his role in the sign stealing scandal. He did not have a home for the 2020 season due to the suspension by the MLB. Al Avila then hired Hinch to be the Manager of the Detroit Tigers and fans were ecstatic.
Chris Fetter was also a big signing to the coaching staff this past offseason. Fetter played baseball in college at the University of Michigan along with being their pitching coach from 2017 to 2020. In that stretch Michigan was a finalist in the College World Series. Fetter has been touted as a straight forward and analytic genius. He has the ability to reach untapped potential in a pitcher and make them become great. Fetter has been employed by both college and pro teams that allow him to mix up his coaching style.
The Detroit Tigers got off to a horrendous start in April, going 8-19. The first month of the Tigers season all hope was lost, the consensus was that the Tigers would not win many games and not show any life. This team lost 24 of its first 33 games and was closing in on the worst record in baseball.
This team needed a change, what they had going was not working. The rest of the league mocked Detroit for the abysmal first month. Luckily the Tigers have competent coaching and they need to be credited for that.
A Fresh Start
When all hope was lost, the Tigers started winning. They came in to May and looked like a completely different team that had been retooled. Hitters started hitting, pitchers started heating up and the defense was back to par. The team as a whole were driving their hitting averages up and the starting rotation seemed to be going deeper into games.
The Tigers have looked like a playoff team in the last 2 months. This is not a “hot take” but a fact. Since May 7th they are 29-22 in their last 51 games. This coaching staff, with the help of some young promising stars have helped this roster win games in the past 2 months. Casey Mize has been better than good, paired with Fetter and Hinch he may be on his way to rookie of the year. Tarik Skubal has also showed flashes of a promising future, just needs to tone down the amount of runs he gives up.
The Tigers offense has come around since May. Cabrera at one point was hitting below .100, which is flat out terrible. Miggy has now pulled his average up to .241 along with 7 homeruns and 31 RBIs. This is not the same Miguel Cabrera put he is contributing to the team success, reinventing his power and contact ability. Jonathan Schoop, best hitter on the roster, has been outstanding. Posting a .278 average with 16 homeruns and 49 RBIs.
To put all this success in perspective, the Tigers are top 15 in all hitting categories. The Tigers pitching staff is also top 14 in strikeouts with 682. They are also top 11 in ERA, which can be attributed to Mize, Skubal, Boyd, Cisnero and Soto.
The haters are prevalent, discrediting what the Tigers are trying to do. This is a long process but the future is becoming clearer. Star pitching accompanied by young hitting stars is the right direction. Along with the great coaching abilities by AJ Hinch and Chris Fetter, this team will be great again. Al Avila has some thinking to do in the offseason on the future of this team. Hinch and Fetter should without a doubt be here for the long-term.