TODAY: The Tigers officially announced the selection of Gipson-Long’s contract. Right-hander Brendan White was optioned to Triple-A in the corresponding move.
SEPTEMBER 8: The Tigers are planning to select the contract of Sawyer Gipson-Long in time for him to start Sunday’s game against the White Sox, manager A.J. Hinch announced to reporters, including Jason Beck of MLB.com. It will be his major league debut. Detroit has an empty spot on the 40-man, although the team will need to make room for the 25-year-old on the active roster.
This will be the second promotion of the season for Gipson-Long, who earned the call to Triple-A in late July. He has made six starts since then, pitching to a 4.35 ERA with an impressive 33.1% strikeout rate. However, he has struggled in two appearances out of the bullpen in September, giving up six runs on seven hits. The Tigers will count on him to get back on track in the majors.
Gipson-Long joined the Tigers organization at last year’s trade deadline, coming over in exchange for Michael Fulmer. As Beck pointed out on Twitter, he was the final trade acquisition of Al Avila’s tenure in Detroit. The young righty currently ranks as the no. 19 prospect in the Tigers system, per MLB Pipeline. Earlier this season, Eric Longenhagen of FanGraphs called attention to his above-average groundball rate and praised his ability to throw strikes. His groundball rate is down since his promotion to Triple-A, but his strikeout rate has never been higher.
The Tigers expect Gipson-Long to pitch out of the rotation for the rest of the season. He’ll be pitching in place of Matt Manning, who fractured his foot on Wednesday, ending his 2023 campaign. Detroit will have a couple of spots up for grabs in the rotation next season (presuming Eduardo Rodriguez exercises his opt-out clause), so these final three weeks will serve as an audition of sorts of Gipson-Long. A good showing could increase his chances of making the Opening Day roster in 2024.