We have gone quite some time without writing about Michigan Wolverines baseball on this website, but Friday came with a major update about the state of the program. Pitching coach Chris Fetter, who is considered one of the rising stars in the baseball world, has been hired away by the Detroit Tigers. The news was first reported by Jon Morosi of MLB Network.
Fetter spent three years with the Wolverines on Erik Bakich’s coaching staff and helped develop some of the nation’s best pitching staffs over the last number of seasons. This was headlined by his role in developing the staff that led Michigan to the College World Series in 2019 with Tommy Henry and Karl Kauffmann being second round selections in the 2019 MLB Draft to the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies, respectively. The third starter of that group, Jeff Criswell, was a second round pick of the Oakland Athletics in 2020. Six other players have been inked to Major League deals after spending time with Fetter in the program.
Fetter is a 2009 U-M alum and was also an All-American pitcher in the program. The San Diego Padres selected him in the ninth round of the 2009 MLB Draft and he spent four years in the minors before moving on to the coaching profession. From there, he was a minor league staffer with the Los Angeles Dodgers for three years before becoming the pitching coach at Ball State.
As someone who follows Michigan and is a Tigers fan, it adds a different layer of perspective to this move. It hurts for Michigan, but this is not at all unexpected considering some of the overtures that Fetter heard from teams last offseason, which included the New York Mets and New York Yankees.
With the Tigers going in a more progressive direction in the hiring of AJ Hinch, this move makes total sense for both sides. Fetter, who theoretically might not even have to move out of his Ann Arbor home, makes the jump to a team without the weight of expectations that other organizations have and gets the chance to helm one of the most talented young pitching staffs in all of baseball. If he has even close to the amount of success he had at Michigan, there are going to be plenty more baseball fans in the state that get to enjoy the fruits of his labor.