OF Akil Baddoo
The last couple years has been a rollercoaster for Akil Baddoo. Last year he looked like a foundational piece of the Tigers outfield who could only get better. Then he was sent down after an awful start to the 2022 season. Then he got injured in Triple-A. Then he came back and mashed for about three weeks. The Tigers finally called him back up, but it’s been more of the same at the big league level.
Right now the Detroit Tigers are trying to figure out what happened to the former Rule 5 pick. He has a .416 OPS in 95 plate appearances this season. He just looks lost at the plate. His plate disciplined has disappeared. The flare and excitement he brought to the team is all but gone.
The most notable changes in his batted balls are his hard hit rate and line drive percentage, both down almost 10% from last year. This, of course, is one of many common themes among all Tigers hitters this season. There’s reason to believe that he and other Tigers hitters will improve once they get away from Scott Coolbaugh, but we’ve already discussed that at length, so we won’t beat a dead horse here.
However, there’s also reason to believe that Baddoo’s 2021 season was a fluke. He had a .335 BABIP last season, so there was certainly some luck involved.
These last two months will be paramount for Baddoo. With Robbie Grossman now out of the picture, he is going to get more at-bats. The Tigers should give him every opportunity to prove himself. Will he return to his 2021 form? Or will he be relegated to minor league fodder? Only time will tell.
OF Daz Cameron
Speaking of minor league fodder, Daz had a promising start after he was up at the beginning of the season, making some big plays in the outfield and getting some timely hits. But the 25-year-old may be running out of time in the Old English D, especially since the organization recently DFA’d Derek Hill.
A 2015 first-round pick of the Houston Astros, Cameron was acquired in the Justin Verlander trade. We all know how that’s turned out. He’s bounced up and down between Toledo and Detroit the past couple years, but injuries have kept Daz from making the most of his opportunities.
He had some really poor numbers in Toledo after returning from the COVID-IL, but his last 16 games there have seen him slash .302/.371/.413 before getting called back up this week. He’s only amassed a .639 OPS in 20 games with the Tigers this season, but there were some good signs.
His average exit velocity is the highest of his career thus far, and he was hitting the ball on the ground less and lifting the ball more. His strikeout rate had dipped as well. It’s been just 69 plate appearances, but these are promising signs nonetheless.
It really feels like this is Cameron’s last chance to prove himself, especially if a new regime is coming in following this season. He may go back down when and if Austin Meadows comes back, so his days could be numbered no matter what. Nevertheless, the Tigers need to see what they truly have in Daz Cameron.