Detroit Tigers: Tarik Skubal pitching himself to an All-Star nomination

The Detroit Tigers selected Casey Mize with the first overall pick of the 2018 MLB First-Year Amateur Player Draft, expecting him to be the future of this team’s starting rotation. On the other hand, they also selected left-hander Tarik Skubal in the ninth round of that same draft in 2018.

Many people get caught up in the Detroit Tigers selecting Casey Mize and the expectations he has had around him. In reality, it has been Tarik Skubal who has carried the weight of being the better prospect. They have battled it out, with each of them looking better than the other at times.

But now, with Mize getting shut down again after making just two starts for ten innings of work, Skubal looks like he might take the cake for the best of the two. This take could quickly bite me in a few months or a year, but Skubal is pitching insanely well right now. He’s more than deserving of the praise.

In fact, with the 2022 MLB All-Star game coming across the horizon and voting beginning soon, it’s easy to think that Tarik Skubal is pitching his way to the first All-Star Game appearance of his young career. He’s been the Tigers ace with Mize on the shelf and Eduardo Rodríguez not being all that the Tigers were hoping he could be.

Detroit Tigers pitcher Tarik Skubal is pitching himself to an All-Star nomination.

The Detroit Tigers are more than pleased with Tarik Skubal’s performance thus far. The ninth-rounder has risen to be an incredibly effective big-league pitcher. After making his debut during the COVID-19 shortened 2020 season, it’s his third season in the big leagues, but he’s gotten exponentially better since day one.

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Skubal’s off to a roaring start in 2022; Skubal has accrued 65.2 innings pitched over 11 starts, where he’s got a 2.33 ERA, a 0.94 WHIP, and has punched out 70 while only issuing ten free passes. He’s been on his game this year, but the Tigers have not always been there for him. His 5-2 record shows that the Tigers’ offense has struggled to provide enough run support.

If the Tigers southpaw does not earn an All-Star nomination, it’s a clear snub. Far and away. While having great stuff does not make you an All-Star, Skubal’s performance does, even though his stuff has also been more impressive than it has looked the past two seasons.

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Detroit Tigers southpaw Tarik Skubal looks like a different pitcher in 2022.

Skubal and Tigers pitching coach Chris Fetter have been in the lab, and it has shown.

Skubal’s been locating the fastball/slider mix much more effectively in 2022. The backdoor slider has been a real problem for opposing right-handed hitters. He’s still utilizing the changeup as well, but that slider is devastating when he hits the spot.

Nasty sliders aside, Skubal’s pitch mix has been refined and been far better in 2022. He’s also shown a curveball that keeps the opposition from being able to sit on or hunt the slider only. He’s had a plethora of success in 2022, with the work he has put in with Fetter is paying off.

As the All-Star Game creeps closer, Skubal will likely keep proving that he deserves to be the Tigers’ nominee for the midsummer classic. With voting not containing pitchers, it will be hard for the Tigers’ faithful to support the southpaw. However, if he continues to pitch with this type of success, it’s hard to see him not getting the nod.

The bottom line for Skubal is that he has become an ace. He’s the ace of this staff and will maintain that role until Mize can stay healthy and prove himself or Skubal falls off. In 2022, he’s shown he can be a real threat to the opposition; he’s striking hitters out at a historic rate and continuing to dominate.

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There’s no reason to believe that he cannot keep getting the job done. Getting some recognition for it at the All-Star break should only be a good thing for the Tigers southpaw.

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