How the Mud Hens can save their season

Zane Miller and Zane Miller

The Toledo Mud Hens are going through their eighth straight season without making the playoffs.

Fortunately, their parent team, Detroit Tigers, seem determined to turn things around. The team has stated they want to put more money into their minor league affiliates.

However, determination alone isn’t enough. To put the Mud Hens back on top, they’ll need to make all the right decisions about what players to put on the field, and what manager to put in the dugout.

Although we as fans don’t have the inside information to see what specific players the Tigers will place on the Mud Hens roster, we can use statistics to deduce what type of player they should bring in to win more games.

The main aspect of the Mud Hens that needs real improvement is the pitching. The team does a nice job of producing runs (in fact, they are actually in the top five in the International League in RBI’s), but their pitching certainly offsets the numbers there.

The Mud Hens are highest in runs allowed by 80 runs (640), earned runs by 84 (585), walks by 25 (474) and second-highest in hits allowed with 1,115.

Obviously, the most frightening statistic is the vast amount of earned runs allowed compared to the other teams in the league. Where the Tigers should start looking is to their starting pitchers in their Class AA affiliate Erie Sea Wolves. It wouldn’t hurt to look at the free agent market either.

They should take a look at the number of quality starts they have first, which means the number of games that a starter has pitched at least six innings allowing only three earned runs or less.

With the relatively solid run support provided by the Mud Hens batters, these pitchers should flourish if they were to be brought into Toledo. If this issue is resolved, they should have a much more competitive season in 2016.

The other serious concern regarding Mud Hen pitching is the number of walks given to opposing batters.

This is where a good scouting department comes in handy. They have the ability to scope out pitchers who have good control of their pitches, as well as those who don’t get flustered under pressure and nibble around the strike zone.

This quality is especially important for relief pitchers, where walks are even more haunting in late game situations. It may not seem like much, but it could be the difference between winning and losing a few games.

These problems are the ones that the Tigers should be allocating the most money to fix their struggling Triple-A farm team. Resolving these issues should bring the Toledo Mud Hens one step closer to a playoff run.