Beau Brieske: A Wildcard to Crack the Starting Rotation in Detroit

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This is a wildly unpopular opinion, and that is okay. I stand by this 100%, and I am going to explain to you why. Beau Brieske, for a portion of 2022, was a top-3 pitcher on this Tigers team. He was, at the time, the only pitcher not to give up a hit through five innings. He was unafraid to attack batters and had multiple outings that were beyond impressive. Including the 5-1 victory over the Dodgers, arguably his best outing of the 2022 season. Brieske said. “I showed that I can compete at this level. In that sense, I had a successful year. I’m going to come back ready, and I’m going to come back better and compete for a job and hopefully be a part of a rotation that’s going to win a lot more games next year. That’s what you want to be a part of. You don’t want to be a part of a losing team.” Hinch called it a successful year on his behalf.

He had a 4.19 ERA in the majors with 25 walks and 54 strikeouts across 15 starts. Not mind-blowing by any means. He pitched 99 total innings in 2022 before getting tendinitis in his right bicep. Beau must refine his full arsenal; he threw his fastball too much. Although effective, it will not be sufficient long-term, throwing it 40% of the time or more. He was better than the league average in batting average against, OBP, and OPS against as well. Way above league average in fly ball percentage and better than league average in walk percentage. All promising for a 24-year-old making his debut on a terrible team. 2023 projections have him under a 4.00 ERA with 80+strikeoutsto only 30 Walks—a slight increase from 2022. Most do have him improving some, if not a lot. Unfortunately, most projections only see him getting 50-60 innings. That is fine; the rotation is crowded this year. Injuries always happen, however, and with outliers like Joey Wentz, Alex Faedo, and Beau Brieske… you never know.

There is one lone projection that comes from ZIPS. It has him pitching over 90 innings for Detroit in 2023. It is possible, but I believe he has work to do. He is not a magician like George Kirby, who will be an ace by 26 years old. Beau is a guy who will be a firm rotation starter you can have confidence in. Last year, Brieske being on the mound was a sigh of relief. Along with Tarik Skubal, the two pitched some really promising innings. Beau was no stranger to getting rocked, but he had years of development ahead. He is fully healthy, and we are not quite sure what improvements he has made yet. 2023 will be a crucial year for Beau and his development. I do believe seeing 70-80 innings from Brieske is a reality that will happen for Detroit this year.

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