Both our contributors and the fans agree Jeimer Candelario is our Detroit Tigers player of the year.
So last year in a shortened season, third baseman Jeimer Candelario came into the season in a dog fight for the Detroit Tigers’ third base job with Dawel Lugo. He put together a good season and won our first Detroit Tigers player of the year award and Lugo has not been on a major league roster since.
There was still a debate if he was going to be a steady player once again among several circles of fans. When it comes to the 60 game season, it is a fair question to ask if he could put up similar numbers again for a full 162 schedule.
Candelario followed up by being tied in the league in doubles (42) and putting up an impressive 3.2 fWAR (bWAR of 3.7) which was why in our opinion, he was an easy choice to be the Detroit Tigers position player of the year.
A few months back, I thought he was worthy of a contract extension and I still feel the same way. He is arbitration-eligible in 2022 and he will be turning 28 in November.
One of the better Al Avila trades paid off in Candelario who lead the team in bWAR for a second consecutive season. The consistency came at the plate, where he put together a good hitting split between hitting lefties and righties. He started to punish lefties more in 2020 in a small sample size, going 16-for-40 with two home runs (.400/.455/.650) after struggling against them in 2019.
He ranks among the Top 10 in wRC+, (9th with 119) 8th in BB% (10.4%), and 10th in total fWAR (3.2). He hit for more power on the right this season with 13 home runs however, he hit for a higher average against lefties, putting up a slash line of .273/.324/.429. His split against righties is almost identical, .270/.362/.449.
One of the biggest plays he made in the season was not with his bat but with his glove in Seattle to preserve the Spencer Turnbull no-hitter.
Jeimer Candelario’s value is high
You could make a case for Candelario to be traded to plug the various holes the Tigers have across their roster. Detroit should entertain offers if they feel they can upgrade their pitching rotation or at shortstop, should they decide not to go the free-agent route but in my opinion, it would have to be players who could step in and be an upgrade over Jeimer.
He has stayed relatively injury-free and continues to improve each season. For Tigers fans, you can’t ask for too much more. If history is any indication of trading third baseman in the organization in the past (See Eugenio Suarez, Howard Johnson as past examples) then keep him around.
Tomorrow, we drop our pitcher of the year and our Tigers Minor League Report players of the year.