It’s been a bit of a streaky season for Stewart down in Toledo, but at the end of the day the skills that he needed to improve upon in order to get his big league call-up are skills he has improved.
He is currently sporting a 12.8% walk rate and a 20.8% strikeout rate, which are better ratios than he posted in either of the last two years at Double-A. It’s clear Stewart has made it a priority to draw more walks and cut down on his strikeouts, and he has done so without sacrificing any of his power. He has hit 25 home runs this season, after blasting 28 and 30 in the last two seasons.
Of course, Stewart’s defense is still a question mark. He has played 96 games in left field this year, with 12 starts in right field as well. The Tigers are hurting in left field, with five different players combining for a .208/.264/.345 slash line and a 61 OPS+. They haven’t fared much better at DH, with a .246/.291/.368 line.
Stewart may still be a little raw, but it’s clear the Tigers are ready for his improved approach at the plate and the tantalizing raw power. He should get every opportunity to start in left field going forward this season, with a good chance to win the job outright next season.