Batting 6th for your Detroit Tigers: Miguel Cabrera – DH
The future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera is on the tail end (pun intended) of his Tigers and playing career.
He started last season off very slowly but went on a surge late, even garnering his 500th career home run towards the end of the season when it seemed we’d have to wait for the big milestone in 2022. That’s not the only milestone we fans have been waiting for Miggy to reach. Cabrera is 13 hits away from 3,000 in his career, a number he will no doubt reach early in 2022.
While he may not belong for the road on this roster (his contract is expiring after the 2023 season) one more season to shine and continue to pad his Cooperstown resume has more than been earned for number 24.
Batting 7th – Jeimer Candelario – 3B
Tigers fans spoke up a lot in 2021 about how much they like “Candy”, and clamored for an extension. I personally feel he needs to show a bit more consistency and power before he mans the hot corner for the foreseeable future.
He showed his first real signs of big-league ability in the pandemic shortened 2020 season and followed that up in 2021 with a nice campaign. Most notably smacking 42 doubles.
The organization has two more years of control before Candelario hits free agency, and batting 7th in this much-improved lineup should take a lot of pressure off of number 46. I believe this will be a career year for Jeimer.
Batting 8th – Eric Haase – C
After playing sparingly with division rival Cleveland the first three seasons of his career and amassing 1 round-tripper, Eric Haase came out of nowhere for the Tigers in 2021 crushing 22 home runs and collecting 61 RBI.
He found time behind the plate and in left field, but going into 2022 the Tigers will need him to be the battery mate of their young pitching staff. Jake Rogers will have a chance to reclaim his spot after he recovers from Tommy John surgery. The procedure will keep Rogers on the shelf for most of the ’22 season, if not its entirety. Until Rogers returns, it’s Haase’s job to lose.
The team had Haase hitting all throughout the lineup this past year, attempting to capitalize on his power. Having only batted .231 with an on-base percentage of .286, the bottom of the order is where the Michigan native fits best. There’s no telling what a full season’s worth of play will do to Haase’s ultimate output.
Batting 9th – Akil Baddoo – CF
There may have been no better story in Tigertown this past season than the play of rookie Akil Baddoo.
The Rule 5 pickup from the Twins won the hearts of the Motor City fanbase with an electric start to his career.
AJ Hinch gave Baddoo all the time in the world to make adjustments, and become accustomed to the majors. Baddoo finished the year with an above-average .330 OBP.
He more than earned a spot in the lineup, and by having him hit ninth you give him a chance to grow without the mounting pressure of carrying the team, similar to Candelario. Akil swiped 18 bags for the club, and having him back to back with Robbie Grossman gives the team the old “double leadoff”.
Few players in the league were as much fun to watch as Baddoo in 2021.