Tigers Already Have a Potential Superstar on the Roster Flying Under the Radar

Tigers avoid arbitration with lefty

Pitching has been the priority for the Detroit Tigers this off-season. They have already acquired veteran Kenta Maeda to add to their rotation. Detroit could be only one piece away from having a rotation that takes a massive step forward this season. The loss of Eduardo Rodriguez is cushioned by the return of Casey Mize and a healthy Tarik Skubal. Matt Manning, Sawyer Gipson-Long, and Wilmer Flores will compete for a spot on the backend of the rotation. However, the Tigers have a secret weapon in their rotation that could complement Maeda, Skubal, and Mize perfectly. I even think he can develop into a superstar. His ceiling is high, and he could be a big reason why the Tigers finally return to the playoffs in 2024.

So, who is this “mystery” pitcher I’m referring to?

Reese Olson Could Reach Superstar Status in 2023

Reese Olson highlights as well as stats from August 28th, to September 21st. Via: @mcmbaseballpod

There is one vital piece to the Tigers rotation I haven’t mentioned, and his name is Reese Olson. Former President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Al Avila took major heat following his unsuccessful tenure with the Tigers, and understandably so. Still, the move to acquire Olson at the deadline a couple of years ago was an absolute grand slam. The Milwaukee Brewers clearly weren’t very high on Olson because they were willing to deal him for veteran relief pitcher Daniel Norris. The Tigers fleeced the Brewers during the deadline as Norris is fighting for a spot on a major league club, and Olson is thriving as a star in the Tigers’ starting rotation.

Olson didn’t start the season on the Tigers roster. He earned the spot through the Tigers’ farm system. He made his debut in June against the Chicago White Sox, and in that game, he had a no-hit bid going. The rest of his 2023 season was solid. He struggled a little bit in August before a phenomenal finish to his rookie campaign.

The Tigers 24-year-old starter has an arsenal that features a 4-seam fastball that reaches 95 MPH on average, 85 MPH on an average slider, 88 MPH on an average change-up, and 79 MPH on an average curveball.

Chris Fetter is arguably the best pitching coach in baseball, and it’s scary to think how good Olson can be if he takes another big step forward this season.

Where Reese Olson fits in on the Tigers’ Starting Rotation on Opening day

If everything goes according to plan, Casey Mize will be back. Early on, though, they might need to pair him with somebody to take over after a couple of innings. Reese Olson in that role might make sense, but I think Tyler Holton will get that spot. Tarik Skubal or Kenta Maeda will likely be the candidates to start on opening day, assuming the Tigers don’t make any more splashes to improve their rotation. They have been linked to Yoshinobu Yamamoto, but Tigers fans already know that the owner is far too cheap to acquire the Japanese star. We are currently looking at Skubal and Maeda at the top of the rotation. The question is, who takes the third spot? I think that’s where Reese Olson should be in the rotation. Mize is coming off of not one but two significant surgeries and hasn’t pitched since 2021. After Olson, Mize should be in the fourth spot of the rotation with someone ready to take over after a couple of innings. That way, Mize is eased back into it. The fifth spot will be a battle we see in camp between players like Matt Manning, Sawyer Gipson-Long, and Wilmer Flores.

Although he will start in the third spot in the rotation, I think Olson might be the most talented pitcher on the roster. After the all-star break, Olson could catapult himself to the top spot.

Gage O'Leary

I'm one of the writers for ITD Baseball, I cover the Detroit Tigers and I hope to have a career in sports some day.

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