Expect Big Things From Robbie Weinhardt

Blake VandeBunteContributor IJanuary 27, 2010

2010 will be a big year for Robbie Weinhardt. The young reliever has quietly dominated his way through the Detroit Tigers farm system. The soon-to-be 25-year-old, right handed, 6-foot-2 reliever, is ready to become a house hold name.

What’s not to love about a reliever that is able to miss bats and generate a solid amount of ground outs? His ability to pound the strike zone, induce ground balls and avoid the long ball makes him a serious option. Though Weinhardt relies mostly on his low-90s fastball, his repertoire also consists of a low-80s slider/curve and a mid-80s change-up. Fans will immediately appreciate the high-intensity, no nonsense approach that Weinhardt brings to the table.

Weinhardt began his professional career in Advanced-A Lakeland with a 20-plus-inning scoreless streak. Even after being promoted to AA Erie the solid numbers continued. After 63 innings of work Weinhardt finished 2009 with a combined 1.57 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP. He racked up 72 strikeouts and issued just 26 walks. After a rocky beginning, his dominance continued in the Arizona Fall League. Weinhardt finished
with an AFL high 29 strikeouts and a respectable 3.93 ERA in 18 1/3 innings of work.

Weinhardt now has a full season of professional ball under his belt. He has shown that he can get key outs in clutch situations. His ability to work fast and record several outs makes him an interesting option to bridge the gap between the starter and set-up role.

Although he is currently not on the 40 man roster, Weinhardt is a serious candidate to join the Tigers bullpen this season. While I don’t anticipate Weinhardt breaking camp on the 25 man roster, I do believe that he will be one of the first call-ups this season. It will likely take an injury or demotion to punch Weinhardts ticket to the show.

One thing is certain, this spring Tigers brass will be eyeing Robbie Weinhardt. Once called upon, Weinhardt will prove that he belongs in the show.


Side note:
For a more in depth look at Weinhardt, follow the handy link to see an
excellent pitch f/x piece on Weinhardt last November by Mike Rogers.