Detroit Tigers: Akil Baddoo and Eric Haase keep marching towards history
The Detroit Tigers have a pair of history-making rookies who keep making a lot of noise in the American League rookie race.
There were a few historical moments In the Detroit Tigers come from behind 6 to 5 victory over the Minnesota Twins. One was Miguel Cabrera passing Barry Bonds with hit number 2,936, which would help Detroit break a five-game losing streak.
One other moment was what Eric Haase did with this grand slam.
His grand slam put him and Twins catcher, Mitch Garvey, in rare air.
Eric Haase’s pace is historical.
The Westland, Michigan native is also rewriting the Detroit Tigers rookie records. Prior to yesterday’s grand slam according to Baseball Reference’s Stathead, Eric Haase’s 16 home runs in his first 60 games in a Tigers uniform is tied with former first baseman and catcher Rudy York, who would make his debut in 1934 before sticking around with the Tigers for good in 1937.
The grand slam has him now alone behind Cecil Fielder’s 24 home runs in his first sixty-one games in a Detroit Tigers uniform. With his performance, Haase has put himself among the top American League rookies in terms of fWAR among position players.
Akil Baddoo’s OPS is a topic of discussion.
So for Akil Baddoo, it was a stat that Dan Dickerson, the voice of the Detroit Tigers brought up last night that I looked into. To paraphrase Dickerson, Baddoo’s on-base numbers are significant among Tigers rookies in OPS plus. What is OPS plus? According to MLB.com, the definition is stated below:
"“OPS+ takes a player’s on-base plus slugging percentage and normalizes the number across the entire league. It accounts for external factors like ballparks. It then adjusts so a score of 100 is league average, and 150 is 50 percent better than the league average.”"
Baddoo’s 134 OPS+ puts him second behind Ira Flagstead’s 1919 season among Detroit Tigers rookies. As far as I know, no one has seen the historical season Flagstead put on during the Deadball area but if you look among the top 10, a few modern regulars you will recognize.
Granted, I have thrown the word “historical” a lot in this article but let’s consider this for a moment. With Akil Baddoo, Eric Haase, and Casey Mize among leaders in rookie categories, it is rather historic because how often does this happen in Tigers history?
The last positional player to win rookie of the year for the Tigers was Lou Whitaker in 1978. (Michael Fulmer was the last Tigers rookie of the year in 2016) so perhaps it is time to give Baddoo and Haase some more recognization for American League Rookie of the Year.