Detroit Tigers: The first 40 games of 2021 has shown little growth

Through May 16, 2021, AJ Hinch and Miguel Cabrera have combined for 3,092 hits in the majors. One of them MIGHT have contributed more to that total than the other.
Through May 16, 2021, AJ Hinch and Miguel Cabrera have combined for 3,092 hits in the majors. One of them MIGHT have contributed more to that total than the other. /
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Detroit Tigers
. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

As Chris said on the podcast, the Bad during our segments is usually reserved for players who have some redeeming qualities but perhaps have been struggling during a stretch of time or they are creeping towards the “ugly” and may not ever dig themselves out.

The Bad in the first 40 Detroit Tigers games:

Miguel Cabrera Hot Takes

The sports talk narrative that the contract of Miguel Cabrera is the reason why this team does not spend is laughable. Cabrera just turned 38 back in April. After a rough month in which he spent time on the IL, and was considered to be “finished,”  so far in May he is batting .229/.315/.229.

Now, you look at the statline and know that is a rough stretch of road there. He will never be the same MVP player he once was, and he’s not playing well. But enough trying to bury the guy, and stop hating on the man for getting paid. The narrative is old and weak.

Akil Baddoo

I disagree with our friends over at Detroit Jock City that Baddoo has not performed better than people expected. There were no expectations for a player who has not seen regular playing time since 2018. With his 30 games in Detroit this season, he has already played more than his injury-shortened 2019 season. He goes deep into counts and has shown speed on the base paths compared to another Rule 5 draft pick we will get to later.

One other factor to consider about Baddoo. He is walking at a 9.3% clip in 97 plate appearances and has a wRC+ of 110.

Obviously he has struggled with a 38.1% strikeout rate, and his average exit velocity of 85.6 MPH is in the bottom 7% of baseball. With the Tigers really not having any other options available in the outfield fans will just have to see how he continues to adjust.

Tarik Skubal

As Jon recently pointed out in his latest article, Skubal is still under construction. He has an xFIP of 6.21 and has given up 17 walks in 33 innings pitched so far.  Could he benefit by going down to Toledo to get some work? Well, then the question becomes who would you call up from the farm system? Matt Manning? Wily Peralta? When you think about it, there aren’t many other options.

Skubal has been bad but there is room for improvement to “good”

Spencer Torkelson’s start in West Michigan.

A lot of fans are look at the nightly box score for Spencer Torkelson and see he is off to a rough start, which is bad, no doubt. But after reading J.J. Cooper’s article in Baseball America ($), the minor leagues, stat-wise, are off to a rough start in general, with bad defense, too many walks given up, and batters striking out too much.

The hope is we get to see Torkelson start to drive the ball soon, but it is way too early to assume the worst, based on the data that is out there.

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