I thought I could grade out the field position players really quickly after the season, but when it came to the pitchers I thought I needed time to gain a better perspective of what I thought of each players' performance. In many ways I'm considering potential as much as performance. I hope that will be clearer as I go through each grading.
Casey Mize - Got to give him an A. He was still learning how to pitch in the big leagues at times but he is really adjusting and learning quickly and should be an ace as early as next year.
Tarik Skubal - Got to give him an A too. He is adjusting and learning almost as rapidly as Mize. He has had ups and downs but he just keeps coming back with more to like.
Matt Manning - Got to give him a B. He's learning rapidly too, but I have to say I expected more and still do. He hopefully can become dominant but I think he's probably two years away from being the pitcher we're really hoping for.
Spencer Turnbull - Got to give him an A. The guy's injured and out for a year, but he was really pretty awesome - a no hitter no less to make his case.
Matt Boyd - Got to give him a C. I just wished he had performed so much better. 2020 was really disappointing, and 2021 seemed to start off really well, but ended with a thud. Now he's also injured and may not re-sign with the Tigers for 2022.
Jose Urena - Got to give him a D. I was hoping for much better results. His relief pitching performance lifted him up from earning an E. As a relief pitcher I'd maybe give him a C. As s starter he was bad and deserved an E.
Julio Teheran - Got to give him E. He pitched one game. I don't give incompletes to a pitcher that made the team out of spring training but could contribute more than one game.
Tyler Alexander - Got to give him a B+. He did extremely well when called upon and earned it too. Good mix, good adjustments, and aggressive. I like him a lot.
Wily Peralta - Got to give him an A. He did far more than anyone expected. He kept the team in the fight down the stretch. He may have been lucky but really stepped up and performed so well.
Drew Hutchison - Got to give him a C. He seems like a resource to keep around as a bullpen contributor. I just don't think he is a dominator as a starter.
We will need to sign probably two or three starting pitchers. Peralta would get my vote to be re-signed. There's talk of bringing in a big free agent star starting pitcher, but I am inclined to doubt that will be the case. We need to keep building with the formula that we've been using. I look for Joey Wentz to fight for a spot at some time in 2022. I think there are perhaps as many as three other prospects that will knock on the door too. Thus, another veteran placeholder is likely to be signed for one year.
Signing Justin Verlander would be a nice story, but it would also seem distracting from the central theme of a re-build. It's also not certain whether he can be all that he's been after surgery. I think he and Miguel Cabrera were part of the Tigers' past, but not their future. Despite really being a big fan, I have to say I like the team building with youth that will build unity over the next three or four years to be a true contender.