The Detroit Tigers are deeply entrenched in a horrendous 2022 season. One of the contributors to the team's underwhelming performance was outfielder Akil Baddoo. The Rule-5 draftee burst onto the scene, making plenty of noise and grabbing the eyes of the fanbase.
More recently, Akil Baddoo was called back up to re-join the Detroit Tigers, where he has shown that the call-up has not don't much of anything. He's struggled to get hits after looking like he was more than ready for a return to the big leagues.
During Friday's contest against the Toronto Blue Jays, beat writer for The Athletic Cody Stavenhagen tweeted out that Baddoo was 3-for-28 since re-joining the Tigers, mentioning how bad the numbers look. While the tweet has since been deleted, I found this tweet from Chris McCosky of The Detroit News, who caught onto this a few days ago.
Akil Baddoo is 2 for 20 since coming back up from Toledo.
— Chris McCosky (@cmccosky) July 23, 2022
The bottom line is. Baddoo has not been good. The Tigers have to be nearing a decision point where they opt to give up on the outfielder, opting for other players in his place. The Tigers are in a position where continuing to send Baddoo to the plate to go 0-for-whatever is going to cause issues.
Detroit Tigers need to throw in the towel on Akil Baddoo.
Overall, Baddoo has logged 81 plate appearances over 27 games for the Tigers, posting a daunting .133/.198/.187 slash line with 21 punchouts. Piggybacking off of the tweet above and the mentioned Stavenhagen tweet, he was 3-for-26 going into Friday's contest.
While he only struck out six times in that stretch, there have to be some boundaries set by the Tigers organization. Looking a little deeper, it seems that there are some issues in the swing that make things challenging for Baddoo to get anything accomplished in the batters' box.
Looking at his Baseball Savant stats, I stumbled upon the idea that he's getting underneath the baseball too often and not in a good way. Rather than lifting the ball with pop, peppering the gaps, and legging out doubles and home runs, he's popping out and getting too under the baseball.
His overall Barrel % in 2021 was 8.8% but is a rather disappointing 1.9% to this point in 2022. Simply put, the weaker contact and getting under the baseball is leading to more pop-ups and flyouts than line drives and well-struck flyballs.
Comparing his swing decision profiles, it was easy to see that in 2021, Baddoo was hunting pitches on the middle-third and in. He is aiming to pull the ball or make adjustments to take the ball the other way when needed. His chart for 2022 is more balanced, showing less of an approach and less success overall unless the pitch is on the heart of the plate.
Using the same tool but replacing swing % with batting average shows the same thing, except it looks even more daunting for 2022 with the only places his average is .270 is in that middle-third quadrant of the zone. Looking at whiffs, the same thing reigns true.
With a lack of an approach in 2022, or at least one that is not producing results. Something has to give. Even with the Tigers needing that spark and hoping any little thing can make it happen, recalling Baddoo is not the answer.
Baddoo has to be out of chances. Watching them send him up to the dish to perform as he has is tough to watch. Something needs to change immediately, or the Tigers need to throw in the towel.