The Detroit Tigers weekend series with Cleveland did not much provide a lot of highlights nor wins. The team’s run differential is -25, which is the second-worst in the league, and manager A.J. Hinch expressed his frustration with the team in one quote to the media yesterday.
“We just got our ass kicked by the Indians for the third time in a row”
In addition to the losses, the Tigers lost Julio Teheran for possibly the rest of the year and Miguel Cabrera took a trip to the IL. So, overall the weekend for the Tigers to say the obvious was pretty grim.
But, the one consistent player that continues to play solid, even with a slash line that does not exactly jump out at you is Jeimer Candelario.
I know what you are thinking, “Rogelio, he went 2-for-11 in the series against Cleveland! He had a home run on Friday night, big deal, who cares.” and that is a fair point but without Candelario, the Detroit Tigers would have one less win, possibly two.
Let’s go back to April 6, where you see in the highlight reel, Candelario makes a perfect throw to get Polanco, which allowed the Tigers to win that game in extra innings. Earlier in the same game, his RBI double put the Tigers back in the game. Before the Cleveland series, he had a slash line of .261/.346/.348 and granted, a very small sample size on Statcast, but he has one barrel for 25 batted balls put into play and he’s walking at a 10.5% clip.
The hard-hitting % and exit velocity continue to trend upwards like they were last year so that is a positive to take away in a season that seemly will be lacking the offensive firepower.
Look, it is very easy to point out the negatives of this team and make no bones about it, there is a lot to nitpick and discuss but Jeimer Candelario continues to build his resume and doing what the Tigers need him to do, which is be a solid starter.
As the narrative of A.J Hinch going back home to Houston kicks off tonight which is something we will all be tuned in to watch, Candelario is another reason to keep watching, however, this season unfolds. The fundamentals of getting on base and playing good defense will never bore me.