Akil Baddoo vs. Kerry Carpenter: Who will make the Detroit Tigers' Opening Day roster?
Who has the edge between Baddoo and Carpenter to make the Detroit Tigers' Opening day roster?
The Detroit Tigers have several roster battles that are still ongoing. Some of them have cleared up a bit, and we are starting to get an idea of what this roster could look like come March 30 when the Tigers travel to St. Petersburg to take on the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. But one roster battle in particular isn't much clearer than when spring training started last month, and that's the battle for the fourth outfield spot.
One thing we know for sure: Parker Meadows won't make the roster despite a strong spring. The Tigers would rather have him get everyday at-bats in Toledo. That just leaves Akil Baddoo and Kerry Carpenter. Sadly, neither of them have really moved the needle here in mid-March.
So far, the better hitter has undoubtedly been Carpenter. In 29 ABs, Carpenter has slashed .310/.323/.621, good for a .944 OPS. He's hit two home runs. He's only drawn one walk and has struggled to hit offspeed pitches, which is definitely something the Tigers are keeping tabs on.
Another thing they are watching is his defense. It's...not great, to say the least. He doesn't move well and has a poor throwing arm. He's probably a DH long term, unless they give him a first baseman's glove.
Baddoo has struggled at the plate this spring. He's slashed .185/.241/.370 for a .611 OPS in 27 ABs. He has one home run and has walked twice, but he does have three stolen bases. The speed element definitely gives him an edge over Carpenter.
When he's right, Baddoo can create some serious chaos. Whether he draws a walk or pokes a single the other way, he's always a threat to steal, especially now with some of the new rules. But when he's off, it can get pretty rough. We really haven't seen good Akil Baddoo for an extended period of time this spring. We've some flashes, but nothing concrete.
What gives Carpenter the edge over Baddoo is the power potential. This is a guy who hit 30 home runs in the minors last year and six more in the majors. If you throw him a high fastball, it's probably going to end up in the seats. But if you keep him off balance by mixing in some offspeed and breaking pitches, he'll probably be an easy out.
So who has the edge? Right now, it's tough to say. We're about two weeks away from Opening Day and neither player has done a ton to separate themselves.
We're getting toward cruch time here in spring training. The Detroit Tigers need to figure out who their fourth outfielder is going to be. One of them really needs to step up over the next two weeks.