Detroit Tigers hire Michigan baseball's Chris Fetter as pitching coach
Detroit Tigers manager AJ Hinch has made his first coaching staff hire since taking over the team Oct. 30, making Chris Fetter his pitching coach, the team announced Friday.
Juan Nieves will be the Tigers' assistant pitching coach. He has served as the pitching coach for Triple-A Toledo for the last two seasons.
"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 (general manager) Al (Avila) and A.J. it was clear what a tremendous opportunity this is," Fetter said in a press release Friday.
Fetter, 34, has spent the last three seasons as Michigan baseball's pitching coach, guiding the Wolverines to the 2019 College World Series championship series.
He replaces Rick Anderson, who was the most recent pitching coach under former manager Ron Gardenhire.
"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," Fetter said. "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."
Before being hired at Michigan in July 2017, Fetter was the Los Angeles Dodgers minor-league pitching coordinator. He joined the Dodgers in 2016 after working as Ball State's pitching coach for one season.
Fetter graduated from U-M in 2009 and was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the ninth round of the MLB draft. He pitched four seasons in the minors — posting a 3.56 ERA — before joining Double-A San Antonio as an assistant pitching coach in 2013. When Fetter was coaching in Double-A for the Padres, Hinch was the organization's vice president of professional scouting.
"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," Hinch said. "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."
He worked for the Los Angeles Angels for three seasons (2013-15) as a minor league scout before shifting gears to Ball State.
Fetter quickly built a track record for developing MLB-ready talent with the Wolverines. In 2020, starting pitcher Jeff Criswell was selected No. 58 overall (second round) by the Oakland Athletics. He was U-M's highest draft pick since 2000.
In 2019, Tommy Henry went in the second round to the Arizona Diamondbacks, as did Karl Kauffmann to the Colorado Rockies. Meanwhile, Jack Weisenburger was picked in the 20th round by the Athletics.
In his first season as pitching coach at Michigan, Fetter helped four pitchers reach professional baseball — William Tribucher (14th round, Rockies), Jayce Vancena (31st round, Tigers), Alec Rennard (free agent, Pittsburgh Pirates) and Troy Miller (free agent, Toronto Blue Jays).
Along with its College World Series run, Michigan's pitching staff finished 10th in the nation and led the Big Ten with a 3.46 ERA. During the 2018 season, Fetter's pitchers also had a 3.46 ERA, placing them No. 23 in the country and third-lowest in the Big Ten.