The Detroit Tigers soaring fly balls


Whether it’s warm weather or something else, the recent surge by the Detroit Tigers may have other factors behind it. 

The Detroit Tigers are 12-9 in their last 21 games. They have been playing better baseball as of late (minus last night) but with all the injuries to the starting rotation and outfield, Detroit is getting some good news that Riley Greene and Austin Meadows should arrive hopefully within the next week. 

But based on data, it looks like something other than the weather changed with the Tigers. In their first 31 games, (April 1-May 11), Detroit hit 12 home runs and averaged 297 feet per fly ball. Since then, it has gone up to 305 feet per fly ball. I took the same dates and applied to 2021 and 2019. 

April 1-May 11 2021: 311ft

May 12-June 3 2021: 312ft

April 1-May 11 2019: 316ft

May 12-June 3 2019: 321ft

If you look at the data from Ballpark Pal, they sorted out the weather consistent cities in this graph. 

While I am no expert on what is different about the ball, 297 feet fly ball average to start the season seems rather unusual. Weather aside, MLB  used two different balls during the season last year so we should not factor that out as that could be the case again. 

Detroit is getting carried by their pitching

Detroit’s bullpen and starting rotation has been a big factor in Detroit’s good stretch of baseball. Jonathan Schoop is starting to hit, with a slash line of .280/.321/.507 for an OPS of .828. Harold Castro and Miguel Cabrera have been hitting over .300 since May 13th, and Spencer Torkelson has been hitting around .280. 

Beyond that, there have been inconsistent performances from the rest of the lineup. Javier Baez has frustrated fans with the lack of power and too many strikeouts in key situations. The outfield production is among the worst in the league. 

So whatever is different with the ball, it seems to work lately for the Tigers, but Detroit still needs to do more in the month of June to steady the ship.