Detroit Tigers: Eric Haase is on fire

May 16, 2021 - Eric Haase hits a double. Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
May 16, 2021 - Eric Haase hits a double. Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

Detroit Tigers catcher Eric Haase hit two home runs today, giving him seven on the season in just 70 plate appearances.

Every season is full of surprises, and Eric Haase being one of the hottest hitters in baseball certainly qualifies. It’s far too soon to declare Haase the next J.D. Martinez, but that doesn’t mean this performance isn’t noteworthy.

In his last four games Eric Haase is 6-for-12 with five home runs, three walks, and seven RBIs. That’s a remarkable stretch of performance that hasn’t happened very often:

Haase also managed his third multi-homer game of the season. According to Jason Beck that ties Matt Nokes for the most multi-homer games by a Detroit Tigers rookie.

Eric Haase isn’t Babe Ruth, and this sort of production can’t continue. But it’s still worth celebrating, especially when we remember what it took for Haase to get here.

Who is Eric Haase?

Detroit Tigers fans tuning into recent games may have heard about Eric Haase being a local kid from Dearborn. That’s certainly a cool story on it’s own, but there’s more to it.

The Cleveland Indians selected Haase out of Divine Child High School in the 7th round of the 2011 draft. Baseball America’s scouting report ($) at the time identified him as the best prep player in the state of Michigan, but it also mentioned how most scouts thought he should go to college, because he was a bit undersized and didn’t have much catching experience.

But Eric Haase chose to sign for $580K, and he began his pro career in the rookie-level Arizona League. We don’t need to go through his whole minor-league career, but it was a grind for Haase. He didn’t even reach Triple-A until the end of 2017, and he never hit above .270 at any level.

Haase eventually found his way onto prospects lists thanks to his plus power and ability to stick behind the plate, and he made his MLB debut in 2018.

But it was clear Haase wasn’t a priority prospect for Cleveland, as he saw only 16 big-league at-bats in both 2018 and 2019. He did manage his first career homer, though:

But that was essentially it for Haase in Cleveland. He went just 3-for-32 with 1 walk and 14 strikeouts before they designated him for assignment. That’s when the Tigers stepped in:

Early January moves generally don’t garner much attention, particularly when cash considerations are involved. Eric Haase was added to the 40-man roster, but few people thought he would be a significant part of the future.

In fact, when rumors surfaced last year that the Tigers were impressed with Haase at the alternate training site, the general response was to complain about Jake Rogers and Grayson Greiner.

Haase did get called up…only to do just about what he did in Cleveland. Then the Tigers designated him for assignment on December 23rd. Merry Christmas!

He cleared waivers and reported to Toledo to begin the 2021 season, but he was right back up with Detroit when Greiner hit the IL. Few people noticed, however, because the Tigers chose to release former top prospect Franklin Perez to make room for Haase.

But here we are, less than a month later, and Haase is one of the best hitters on the Tigers. In under a month’s time he has caught a no-hitter and hit seven home runs. He’s been adequate behind the plate, and surprisingly sound in left field. He’s the 3rd fastest catcher in the majors.

So no, we don’t expect this level of performance to last. But Eric Haase has flashed more potential in the last few weeks than Grayson Greiner has in his past four years, and it’s hard to picture him returning to Toledo any time soon.

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