DETROIT TIGERS ANNOUNCE ADDITIONS TO MAJOR LEAGUE COACHING STAFF
The Detroit Tigers have announced Chris Fetter has been named the club’s Major League Pitching Coach. In addition, Juan Nieves has been promoted to Assistant Pitching Coach, Josh Paul returns as Quality Control Coach, and Ramon Santiago returns as First/Third Base Coach.
“As we began filling out the Major League staff, we placed a priority on identifying coaches that will guide and develop our young core of players at a high level, and having these four men lead our clubhouse alongside A.J. is a perfect step in that direction. We’re particularly excited for Chris’s transition to professional baseball. Through his time in the game, Chris has established excellent communication skills with players, and will work with them using traditional mechanics, analytics and biomechanics, each of which are key parts of our player development process at both the Major and Minor League levels.” – Al Avila, Detroit Tigers Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager
Fetter, 34, joins the Tigers after establishing himself as one of the premier pitching coaches in collegiate baseball, serving as the pitching coach at the University of Michigan for three seasons (2018-20). His ability to identify and develop elite pitchers helped the Wolverines reach the NCAA College World Series Finals in 2019, and resulted in a trio of the team’s pitchers being drafted in the top three rounds of both the 2019 and 2020 MLB Drafts. During that 2019 run, Fetter’s staff finished 10th in the country and led the Big Ten with an ERA of 3.46 (635.0IP/344ER), while finishing seventh in the nation with just 7.44 hits allowed per game.
“I’m very excited to join this Tigers coaching staff and work with some truly exceptional players,” said Fetter. “Everyone in baseball has noticed the number of young and talented pitchers that this organization has built up over the last few years, and after talking with Al and A.J. it was clear what a tremendous opportunity this is. Playing and coaching at the University of Michigan has been one of the greatest honors of my life, and I want to thank all our coaches, players and fans for their support while I’ve worn the maize and blue. I know how passionate Tigers fans are for their team, and I’m looking forward to help build something special for all of them in Detroit.”
Prior to his time as the pitching coach at Michigan, Fetter was the Minor League Pitching Coordinator for the Los Angeles Dodgers (2016-17), Pitching Coach at Ball State University (2016-17), professional scout for the Los Angeles Angels (2013-15) and Assistant Pitching Coach for Double A San Antonio (2013). Fetter was a named to the All-Big Ten team three times as a player with the Wolverines, guiding the team to three Big Ten championships and four NCAA Tournament appearances. Drafted in the ninth round by San Diego, Fetter ranks first in Michigan history with 332.1 career innings pitched, third with 28 career wins and third with 281 career strikeouts.
Fetter and Tigers manager A.J. Hinch crossed paths with San Diego, where Fetter was a Minor League pitcher from 2009-12 and Hinch was the Vice President of Scouting and Assistant General Manager from 2011-14. During his playing career, Fetter posted a combined 6-11 record and 3.56 ERA (179.2IP/71ER) over four seasons at the Single A level, striking out 162 and walking just 49.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Chris, his wife, Jessica and son, Cole into our Tigers family,” said Hinch. “His reputation as a top-level developer of pitching talent is known across baseball, and I couldn’t be happier to have him join our Major League staff here in Detroit. Dating back to his playing days, I’ve always known Chris to be a very bright baseball mind, progressive thinker, and great communicator, all of which are essential traits of a successful coach.”
Nieves, 55, joins the staff as Assistant Pitching Coach, after spending two seasons as the Pitching Coach with Triple A Toledo. With significant experience coaching at both the Major and Minor League levels, Nieves has aided in the development of many Tigers top pitching prospects in recent years. Prior to joining the Tigers, he served as the Pitching Coach with Miami (2016-18) and Boston (2013-15), while spending the early portion of his coaching career in the Chicago (AL) and New York (AL) systems. Nieves pitched for three seasons in the big leagues with Milwaukee, and became the second-youngest player in Major League history to throw a no-hitter (April 15, 1987 vs. Baltimore).
Paul, 45, and Santiago, 41, return after originally joining the Tigers Major League staff in 2019 and 2017, respectively.
“We felt that adding Juan and bringing back Josh and Ramon to our staff was important for many reasons,” said Hinch. “They know these Tigers players better than almost anyone, and I’m excited to have them on board to help us win ballgames. Their experience and commitment to innovation are exactly what we are looking for in coaches for this staff, and we’re looking forward to completing the remainder of the staff soon.”