He was scorching hot for the first few weeks of the season and then slumped hard.
He has rebounded as of late and currently holds a very solid .269/.364/.479 line with five homers and nine stolen bases.
Given the slump he was in, some people called him overrated, but is he really?
Here are three reasons why he is not overrated at all, and he actually is a very underrated long-term asset.
3. He Skipped Double-A And Triple-A
Baddoo is a Rule 5 pick that Detroit snagged from Minnesota in September, so it means he has to stick on the Tigers’ roster the whole season or he needs to be returned to the Twins.
The Tigers, of course, are not contending in 2021 and can afford the patience to develop him.
General manager Al Avila was impressed with his work ethic, athleticism, and overall projection.
Here are his words, according to The Detroit News:
“This kid’s got the tools. We got really good info. He has tremendous makeup, great work ethic, a really good, intelligent kid.”
Of course, the risk, for the Tigers, was focused on the fact that Baddoo’s highest minor league level before debuting in the bigs this season was High-A.
He did not play in Triple-A, and he didn’t do it in Double-A either.
That is extremely uncommon for a prospect, to skip the upper-minors entirely.
There is so much learning to do there, but for Detroit, the risk was worth taking because they are really, really short on position player prospects.
It looks like he has developed and their risk paid off.
Any evaluations about Baddoo’s season needs to include the fact that he is doing what he is doing with no upper-minors experience.
2. He Is An On-Base Asset
Not only is Baddoo hitting a respectable .269 average, but he is also getting on base at a .364 clip, which is fantastic.
Baddoo’s patience has allowed him to work walks in 13.3 percent of his plate appearances, a comfortably above-average figure.
Yes, he also strikes out a ton, at 29.7 percent, but he has some power, on-base ability, and can run.
Tigers win on a walk-off suicide squeeze from Robbie Grossman and Akil Baddoo! pic.twitter.com/bgjcHFEtT8
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) June 27, 2021
That’s a very solid ballplayer right there, and the fact that he is only 22 is excellent for the Tigers.
They have found an everyday outfielder capable of hanging with the best.
1. He Still Has Untapped Potential
The best thing about Baddoo is that even if he is returning very good value for the cost, he still can get better.
He has the speed and athleticism to play good outfield defense and steal more than 20 bases per season.
He has the raw power to hit some homers, even if he doesn’t quite profile as a 30-homer player.
— Rogelio Castillo (@rogcastbaseball) May 31, 2021
And as he learns more about the strike zone, he has the potential of cutting back on the whiffs a little.
He already showed he has the ability to make adjustments at the major league level, which is huge for a first-year player that skipped the upper-minors entirely.
From April 23 to June 1, Baddoo hit .194/.354/.339 with a 35.4 percent strikeout rate.
However, since June 3, he is hitting .328/.414/.426 with no homers, but with six doubles and a 17.1 percent strikeout rate.
Since he proved he can adjust, the power should return eventually, even if he won’t hit 30 dingers.