The Detroit Tigers are home to one of the best stories in baseball for the 2021 season. Akil Baddoo’s historic first week has already been covered in detail, but he added another chapter to his book tonight.
In the top of the 3rd inning Akil Baddoo took an 87.8 MPH four-seam fastball from Houston Astros pitcher Zack Greinke and turned it around at 109.3 MPH. Statcast says it landed 450 feet away, deep into the center field stands.
Take a look at Baddoo’s blast for yourself:
That made Akil Baddoo the 15th player in the young 2021 season to hit a home run at least 450 feet, but he’s the first Detroit Tigers hitter to do it this year.
In fact, according to Statcast, Akil Baddoo is just the sixth Detroit Tigers batter to hit a home run at least 450 feet since MLB began tracking them in 2008. He joins Miguel Cabrera (8 times), Justin Upton (5 times), J.D. Martinez (2 times), Jeimer Candelario, and Ronny Rodriguez.
It’s hard to believe the things Baddoo is doing so far in his pro career. A home run on the first pitch he sees in the Majors. A grand slam. A walk-off hit. An RBI triple and an outfield assist. And now a titanic blast against a probable Hall-of-Fame pitcher.
Baseball isn’t supposed to look this easy for anyone.
We still expect Akil Baddoo to struggle this year. The league’s pitchers will learn his weaknesses and exploit them. But he has already proven he can capitalize when pitchers make mistakes, and that’s a huge part of success at the major-league level.
And how about one more fun fact about Akil Baddoo’s 2021 season?
Baseball Savant has now updated its sprint speed statistics. It’s still early, but Baddoo currently ranks 21st among all MLB hitters this year with a sprint speed of 28.5 feet-per-second. That ranks in the 92nd percentile in baseball.
There are only four other players this season with a sprint speed of 28.5 feet-per-second and a home run of 450+ feet: Ronald Acuna Jr., Byron Buxton, Michael A. Taylor, and Mike Trout.
The Detroit Tigers haven’t have a power/speed threat like Akil Baddoo since at least Curtis Granderson, and possibly not since Kirk Gibson. This might not be a fun season overall, but Akil Baddoo’s at-bats are becoming must-watch affairs.