You can't help but notice if you visit the Fangraphs' leadboard that some of the top starting pitchers by FIP (fielding independent pitching) were Detroit Tigers: from Anibal Sanchez at the top to Max Scherzer to yes, even Justin Verlander. Doug Fister is never too far down the list either.
That got me thinking: We all know Dave Dombrowski and company have a "type" when it comes to pitchers. They tend to like big bodies and hard-throwing strikeout guys. Of course, anyone in baseball would like that sort of pitcher, too, right? It just appears the Tigers are more willing to go out and grab them, and are willing to allow for a few additional walks here or there to get 'em.
Remarkably, all three of those pitchers acquired via trade could have been seen as a turnoff by folks who only look at the "traditional" stats like wins and ERA. I remember how many were disappointed about the trade for Fister because he had so many losses in Seattle. Scherzer didn't look so great in Arizona either. Sanchez was in a similar situation with the Marlins, and a number of fans seemed perplexed about the trade.
That shocked me right from the start. A pitcher like Sanchez seemed to have success written all over him. Maybe not 100 percent of similar pitchers will turn out, but enough will that you take the bet.
The Tigers' gambles have paid off swimmingly for all three -- and as I wrote a few days ago, the move to keep Sanchez in Detroit for a few additional years looks pretty smart, too.