Detroit Tigers first quarter report cards

General manager Al Avila watches the Tigers practice on April 7, 2022, at Comerica Park.
General manager Al Avila watches the Tigers practice on April 7, 2022, at Comerica Park. /
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Detroit Tigers D Grades

Detroit Tigers
May 22, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Detroit Tigers shortstop Javier Baez (28) rounds the bases after hitting a home run during the eighth inning against the Cleveland Guardians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

Javier Báez – Báez has largely been as advertised in his early career with the Detroit Tigers. He has come through with some clutch hits and made spectacular plays on defense, but he also swings at every slider he sees (or doesn’t see) and is prone to defensive lapses. The one thing fans haven’t seen yet is one of his signature hot streaks, so he gets a D for now.

Jacob Barnes – Jacob Barnes is a fun reclamation project story, right down to him being cut in spring training only to be called back and make the team. But two disastrous outings in his last four appearances have sabotaged his ERA, and his future with the team is in doubt.

Tucker Barnhart – Tucker Barnhart is terrific at blocking balls in the dirt, but that seems to be the best of his defensive skills, and he’s been average at framing pitches and throwing out runners. Meanwhile, his offensive production has been as advertised — that is to say about 20% below average. And that seems due for a negative correction, because he currently sports an unsustainable .397 batting average on balls in play (BABIP).

Beau Brieske – This seems a bit unfair given the longshot nature of Beau Brieske’s ascent to the big leagues and his impressive poise, but we aren’t here for narratives. Right now he owns a 5.13 ERA, and his strikeout, walk, and home run numbers suggest things should be worse.

Jeimer Candelario – It’s easy enough to chalk up Jeimer Candelario’s early season troubles to his unfortunate .235 BABIP, but the numbers just aren’t there to give him a higher grade yet. He does have three home runs and 12 RBIs, but he’s not getting on base nearly enough right now — his OBP is .100 points lower than last year.

Jonathan Schoop – Schoop, like Candelario, is suffering from some extremely poor batted ball luck. His expected batting average of .251 is right in line with that of his previous three seasons, but his actual batting average of .161 and his minuscule walk rate mean he is literally the worst offensive player in baseball right now. So why isn’t he failing? Because he also happens to be the best defensive player in baseball right now. Life is strange.

Spencer Torkelson – We tried to warn you. Spencer Torkelson leads the Tigers in home runs, and he’s walking at an above-average rate, but he’s not a good big-league hitter yet. He may become one in time, maybe even soon, but the bar to be a productive big-leaguer at first base is extremely high, and he isn’t close to it right now.