Detroit Tigers: Is 2022 The Year of Akil Baddoo to breakout the power?
For the Detroit Tigers young outfielder, 2022 could be The Year Of Baddoo?
In December 2020, outfielder Akil Baddoo was selected 3rd by the Detroit Tigers in the Rule 5 draft. Since then, Baddoo has become loved by many Tigers fans and has quickly become a fan favorite. So what should fans expect from Baddoo in 2022 after a really decent rookie season?
Akil Baddoo was not given very high expectations when he was drafted by the Tigers because he was a Rule 5 pick, and if you don’t know what the Rule 5 draft is, the draft is held each December, that allows clubs without a full 40-man roster to select certain non-40-man roster players from other clubs. Clubs draft in reverse order of the standings from the previous season. But this is all stuff you probably know about Baddoo already, so let’s get down into some of his numbers.
In 2021, Baddoo finished the season slashing .259/.330/.436/.766, which is significantly better than what some expected from him. He also totaled 18 SB and 13 HR. Baddoo was one of the greatest stories in baseball last season. Was a 2nd round draft choice, dealt with injuries got taken by the Tigers in the Rule 5 draft, and thrives after not playing in any level above A-ball.
So that leads me to the big question of all of this. Is 2022 gonna be the year of Akil Baddoo part 2? I think, yes, it could easily be. Baddoo has all the intangibles to be a great player in the majors. He has elite speed, a good amount of pop in his bat, a decent fielder, and a good BB%. Now, in the second half of the season, we saw Baddoo struggle a little more, most likely because of pitchers finally figuring out how to pitch to him and knowing his weaknesses.
But, with a whole off-season of work and having a great coaching staff in place to help take his game to the next step, it would not be surprising at all to see a real breakout year for Baddoo. This does not mean he will be an MVP candidate because that is just a ridiculous expectation for a guy like Baddoo but, an all-star if he actually improves on the things he needs to work on like his hard-hit% and his strikeouts I don’t think that’s too absurd to think.
It has also been very clear that he is taking care of himself. In the pictures he posts on his social media, it is evident in the photos that he has been in the gym getting stronger and working on getting his power-up. That doesn’t mean he’s going to hit 30 HR next year, but it means we could see more gap shots and, of course, more HR. Because if you can get a guy who can hit you a ton of XBH, steal 20+ bags a year, and be an average defender that’s going to be a cornerstone player to set up your franchise guy to help you build around guys like Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene.
So I think 2022 could easily be the year of Baddoo. If even just has a repeat year of last year that won’t be horrible to have as a platoon guy with someone else but, I really think Tigers fans will see Baddoo take a jump in his game. Let’s just hope we can see it sooner rather than later because of this lockout.