Detroit Tigers Pitcher of the Month: Jose Cisnero

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Kicking off a new tradition as we name a player and pitcher each month voted by the staff. With a full month behind us, the first pitcher we chose was Jose Cisnero.

The Detroit Tigers have not had the best luck when it comes to picking up relief pitchers off the waiver wire that could provide an impact. Jose Cisnero looks to change that trend and his month of August definitely was a good step forward.

It’s easy to forget that Jose Cisnero is 31 years old because he is relatively new to Tigers fans since he was signed as a free agent back in November 2018.  But after a season in which he did strike out 40 in 35 innings pitched, but also had 19 walks, fans were not sure what to expect, outside of the fact he had a good slider.

What they got was an impressive month of work.  Cisnero allowed just one run and that came on August 10th against the White Sox. He also entered the mix of being the team’s closer along with Gregory Soto.

So, how good was Cisnero? Let’s look at some splits:

Against left-handed batters:  .120/.241/.120 with an OPS of .361 (3-for-29) with 8 K’s. The five walks he has given up this season, four of which came against lefties.

Against right-handed batters:  .189/.231/.297 with an OPS of .528 (7-for-37) with 10 K’s to just one walk.

Another interesting stat is how he did with runners in scoring position. He has held batters to just a batting average of .071. Another clutch stat per Baseball-Reference, with 2 outs and runners in scoring position, batters are 1-for-8, batting .125/.125/.125.  As far as high leverage situations go, he has not walked anyone, batters are hitting .077 (1-for-13)

While his K per 9 is down from last year so far (9.2 to 10.2 in 2019), Cisnero is getting more ground balls so far as his average is up from 39% in 2019 to 43.2% this season. The Tigers are playing better defense and are one of the league leaders in shifting around so this could be a reason behind him generating fewer strikeouts per 9.

His four-seam fastball also in terms of throwing 95MPH with a high frequency, is up from just over 15% in 2019 to over 20% this season. The biggest number drop to notice is his WOBA, which is weighted on-base average, which has gone from a .336 to a .209.  His whiff % puts him among the “great” category on Statcast.

So, with all the stats out of the way, Jose Cisnero simply put, has given the Tigers stability when they needed the most out of their bullpen. With all the short starts that happened in August, Cisnero was able to come in when Ron Gardenhire needed him the most and keep teams at bay.

13 innings pitched, one run, 13K’s 6 hits, and holding batters to a .196 batting average. That’s pretty damn good and why we chose him to be our pitcher of the month.

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