With the Detroit Tigers offense beginning to show improvement over the past few games, one player continues to consistently impress as of late.
Detroit Tigers third baseman Jeimer Candelario extended his recent hot stretch at the plate with a home run against the Cleveland Indians in a losing effort on Monday night. Despite the defeat, the Tigers have to like the improvements they’re seeing from the 25-year-old, an important cog in the rebuilding effort.
Candelario burst onto the scene after being acquired from the Cubs in 2017, hitting .330 in 94 at-bats as a September call-up. He would struggle to get on base and hit for average in his second season but still managed to collect 19 home runs in a starting role. All signs pointed to further improvement and development heading into 2019, however, the Tigers got the exact opposite over the vast majority of the first half.
In April and May, Candelario hit .198 and .109 with his frustrating regression leading to a demotion to Triple-A Toledo. His replacement, Dawel Lugo, showed little prowess at the dish. After over a month of tinkering with the Mud Hens, Candelario was recalled with a different swing and a new mindset.
The switch hitter now holds his hands lower to get his bat through the hitting zone swifter, and the demotion seemed to humble and inspire the once-prized prospect. Based on the early returns, we can confirm it certainly did.
Candelario is hitting a robust .321 in his last 15 games with five home runs and 12 RBI, bringing his season totals up to a .217 batting average with seven home runs and 21 RBI. His on-base percentage and slugging percentage have also increased dramatically since his return to the major leagues.
His defense at third base wasn’t really a concern when he was demoted, but Candelario has since improved that as well, showing off increased range and appearing above average over the past couple weeks.
After struggling during appearances in the first two spots in the batting order, Ron Gardenhire has moved Candelario to the middle of the order. This could be another possible reason for his recent bump in production.
Only time will tell if Candelario’s improvements have entirely fixed his issues at the plate. Regardless, the Detroit Tigers should be pleased about how their young infielder handled the demotion and greatly improved upon his recall.