A newcomer joins two regulars on the list to be the top offensive contributors for the Detroit Tigers in 2022.
With the MLB still in a lockout and not all free agents being signed yet, there is still a lot of time for the Detroit Tigers to add more to their roster. But for the time being, let’s look into 3 Tigers who are currently on the roster who I think the top offensive contributors will be for the Tigers in the hopefully upcoming 2022 season.
1. Javier Baez (SS)
This should come as no surprise that Baez makes this list. Baez has been a great bat to have in whatever team he is on the lineup every day and with this young Tigers team who needs a big bat, and for $140 million I think Javier will be a great contributor and will be one of, if not the best offensive weapon for Detroit this year.
Last year with the Mets/Cubs Baez slashed .265/.319/.494/.813. Now, of course, the main thing with Baez is that everyone wants to see him get his OBP up higher because .319 is not the greatest. But with his stint in New York with the Mets he was getting on base a lot more and drawing a lot more walks. In his 47 games with the Mets, he had a .371 OBP with 13 walks. Now I know 13 walks are not a very appealing number, but for Baez who has been an elite hitter without drawing walks that is a huge jump. Especially with the fact that in 91 games with the Cubs, he only had 2 more walks with 15 and a sub .300 OBP (.292).
Baez still definitely needs to work on his strikeouts. But, the Tigers are getting a guy who has four 20+ HR seasons almost 5 to go along with two almost three, 30+ HR seasons, he will be a huge factor in the success the Tigers want to achieve next year in the mission to start fighting for the chance to win the AL central.
2. Jeimer Candelario (3B)
Next up on this list, I have 3rd basemen, Jeimer Candelario. In the 60 game season in 2020 Candy was great and that’s when a lot of fans started thinking if he has finally come into his own. But since it was a 60 game season fans were, reasonably still skeptical. But in 2021 Jeimer continued being a great bat for the Tigers and showed it wasn’t just a lucky 60 game stretch.
In 2021, Jeimer broke out and finally showed a lot of the potential that has been talked about with him for years, ending the season with a line of .271/.351/.443/.795. Jeimer had a nice well-rounded line last season. Even being tied for being number 1 in the MLB in doubles. Sharing that title with players like NL MVP Bryce Harper, J.D Martinez, and Whit Merrifield. Candy will not blow you away with a ton of HR. He will still hit a decent amount, ending last season with 16 but he just knows how to hit the ball. He doesn’t whiff a lot, having an above-average Whiff%, while also being in the top percentages of the MLB in BB% and xwOBA.
Like I stated before, Jeimer is not going to be a crazy power guy that you will see crush 20-25 HR a year, though it’s very possible he could. He is a guy that will just hit the ball and get on base and also get you a ton of XBH, and where this team is at now having a guy like Jeimer will help a lot more than people want to give credit for. He will be an even bigger help once the Tigers are ready to fight the White Sox for that AL Central title.
3. Jonathan Schoop (1B/2B)
Last but certainly not least, we have Jonathan Schoop. I know a lot would say I should have Robbie Grossman here, and to that, I say yes, Grossman had an amazing year going 20/20 and finishing top of the MLB in walks but I don’t think it’s a realistic expectation for Grossman to repeat and why I think Schoop will be more valuable next season. That being said, I hope I’m wrong and Robbie repeats what he did in 2021. But enough of Robbie, let’s talk about Schoop.
Jonathan Schoop in just two years in Detroit has already become a fan favorite, and reasonably so. Was a great acquisition in the 2020 season, started 2021 off sluggish but quickly heated up, leading to him earning a 2-year extension with the Tigers. In 2021, he ended the year with a line of .278/.320/.435/.755. Similar to Baez, a lot of fans want Schoop to raise his OBP a bit, especially only ending the season with 37 walks.
Again, similar to Baez, Schoop hit the ball very hard and will be good at least 17-20+ HR a year and will punish pitchers for mistake pitches. Schoop will continue to be a great top to the middle of the order bat for years to come especially because of the power he can unleash when we saw what he did in June last season winning the Player of the Month award.
So there are my who I think the Tigers’ top 3 offensive contributors will be in this upcoming season. Revisiting the Schoop section for a moment, you could’ve made an argument for Robbie but I think it is more likely for Schoop to continue doing what he does best and that it destroys baseballs when pitchers make mistakes, and for the other two with Candelario and Baez I think those two are for sure locks. But if not, I still hope the Tiger’s offense thrives and I can’t wait to see what this next season has in store.