All it took was one moment in the World Baseball Classic for Duque Hebbert to make a name for himself. That moment certainly impressed the Detroit Tigers.
On Monday, Hebbert had the unenviable task of facing Juan Soto, Julio Rodriguez, and Rafael Devers for the the Nicaraguan team in the World Baseball Classic. His professional career consisted of just 20 innings in the Nicaraguan Winter League this past offseason; yet he was summoned to face that trio of All Stars.
Duque Hebbert uses biggest stage of career to get chance with Detroit Tigers
Hebbert was more than up to the task. He struck out all three of those stars, using his 83 to 85 MPH changeup and upper 70s slider to great effect. That outing was more than enough for the Tigers, who signed the 21 year old righty to a minor league deal after the game.
His performance in the NICW can be considered a mixed bag. Although his 5.40 ERA and 1.300 WHiP over those 20 innings may not impress, but he issued just seven walks while striking out 18 batters. Hebbert’s changeup and slider impressed in his outing on Wednesday, more than making up for his lack of velocity. That was more than enough for the Tigers to take a chance.
It remains to be seen where he will begin his time in affiliated ball. Hebbert may be heading to one of the Tigers’ short season teams, getting more time in camp due to his inexperience. However, if his showing in the WBC is any indication, he could be a surprise. Now he has to prove that he is more than a one outing wonder as he enters the Tigers’ organization.
Duque Hebbert had a strong showing in the World Baseball Classic. His outing on Monday led to a deal with the Detroit Tigers.