Last season, he was practically everybody's favorite story in Detroit. This season, he's spent most of the year either hurt or in the minor leagues. Of course, that person is Akil Baddoo.
He finished last season with a .259 average with 13 home runs and 55 RBIs and was a prime candidate to have a strong follow-up season. Instead, he lasted just 17 games with the Tigers this season. His .140 average and one home run in those 17 games did him no favors, and 15 strikeouts in 50 at-bats didn't help either.
The start to his minor-league tenure wasn't incredible, either. He spent some time with the High-A West Michigan Whitecaps on a rehab stint, in which he went 0-11. When he was moved back up to Toledo, it took some time before he got it going again. But now, he has definitely begun turning things around.
In Akil Baddoo's last ten games with the Toledo Mud Hens, he has gone 15-38 at the plate (.395). That stretch includes five doubles, two home runs, six RBIs, five walks, and just six strikeouts. This hot streak has boosted his average at Toledo all the way up to .294, and his on-base percentage now stands at .390.
Is Akil Baddoo the Fix for Detroit's Struggles?
Now, how is this relevant to what is happening in Detroit? Well, there have been plenty of issues with the offense provided by outfielders on the team this year. Robbie Grossman has a .211 average with the Tigers this season.
He has only hit two home runs and strikes out in approximately 35% of his at-bats. Austin Meadows, the big trade piece Avila brought in this offseason, has had a very hard time staying on the field. He's had bouts with vertigo, ear infections, COVID-19, and is now out with an Achilles strain. He's played in just 36 games with Detroit and has yet to hit a home run.
Defensively, he was electric in the field for Detroit last season. Could you imagine an outfield of Akil Baddoo, Riley Greene, and Victor Reyes? It would certainly be fun to watch. It's hard to imagine that Al Avila can continue sitting back and watching the struggles in Detroit without doing something to try and fix it.
Especially when Akil Baddoo is a fan favorite in Detroit, while one move is not likely to save an entire season, it certainly can't hurt to try removing one poor-performing piece from the lineup in exchange for a fan favorite who is producing. Whether or not it will happen is another story, though.