It’s obviously a blockbuster signing, and it gives Tigers fans plenty to be excited about going into the 2022 season.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 30, 2021
MLB fans should take this Tigers team seriously.
Detroit could end up challenging for a title a lot sooner than folks think.
But in the meantime, let’s take a look at a few of the biggest reasons Tigers fans should be pumped about the Baez addition.
There are a lot of them.
3. He Has Had A Lot Of Success Hitting In Comerica Park Over The Years
Although it’s a small sample, Baez has done a lot of damage at Comerica Park (Detroit’s home ballpark) over the years.
In eight games there, he has posted a .382 batting average and 1.082 OPS.
In 34 at-bats, he has homered three times and doubled once.
Obviously, we shouldn’t put too much stock into just 34 at-bats, but it certainly seems like Baez sees the ball well in Comerica Park.
There might be something to that.
Comerica Park isn’t a particularly friendly park for hitters, either, which makes Baez’s success there even more impressive.
According to Baseball Reference, the stadium favors pitchers.
2. In Addition To Comerica, He Loves Playing In All AL Central Ballparks
Baez doesn’t just love batting in Comerica Park — he loves batting in AL Central stadiums in general.
That’s great news for the Tigers, as Baez will be playing a good portion of his games in AL Central ballparks going forward.
For his career, he has played in 28 games in AL Central stadiums.
It should be noted that this includes Comerica.
In those 28 games, he has managed to bat .339 with a massive .959 OPS.
He has also blasted seven home runs and 10 doubles.
For context, if we were to scale those numbers over a 162-game season, then he’d be on pace for 41 home runs and 58 doubles.
Not too shabby!
Detroit will obviously be thrilled if Baez continues to feast in these ballparks.
1. His Overall Track Record Speaks For Itself
It’s fun to use splits and chop up statistics like we just did in the previous two sections, but that’s not necessary to paint Baez in a good light.
His track record tells the whole story.
He’s a career .264 hitter with an OPS of .783 and OPS+ of 104.
Those numbers are already solid, but in recent years, he has gotten even better.
Since the start of the 2017 season, he has maintained a slash line of .271/.312/.503 — good for an OPS of .814 and OPS+ of 111.
He’s averaging 33 home runs per 162 games during that span, and he has also earned two All-Star selections in that period of time.
JAVIER BAEZ BOMB!!! His first home run as a New York Met! pic.twitter.com/LKznR4HvkP
— Cubs Zone ™️ (@CubsZone) August 1, 2021
In 2018, we saw how elite Baez can be.
He was a legitimate MVP candidate and finished second in the race.
He earned those MVP votes by smacking 34 home runs, 40 doubles, and nine triples en route to a 129 OPS+ and 6.4 bWAR.
That season wasn’t a fluke, either — the following year, he posted an even better bWAR (6.6).
This guy is the real deal, and the Tigers are going to be the beneficiaries of his production for years to come.