The Detroit Tigers organization has to be pretty displeased with Jeimer Candelario and the steps backward he has taken in 2022. It's been a treacherous performance from the switch-hitting corner infielder this season, and things have not gotten any better as the season has gone on.
While the Detroit Tigers season is essentially over and wins and losses can get thrown out the window, there's still a stake in these players as they try to finish the season strong. Candelario is one of the players who could be on the chopping block this offseason and needs to get things together.
The struggles he has had are inexcusable, and something has to change. There's no reason that Candelario should be welcome back as a .200/.260/.330 hitter. It's unacceptable. The Tigers may need to start thinking about other options. The issue is that they have an interim tag general manager in Sam Menzin.
While he is in the running for the position, until an official hire is made, the team will likely only make the necessary roster moves, allowing the front office to conduct their search. For Candelario, that should be music to his ears. Knowing that he can kick it into gear for the rest of the season and possibly salvage a horrible season with a strong finish.
Detroit Tigers infielder Jeimer Candelario has to pick it up.
The Detroit Tigers have continued to trot Candelario out there for the past six seasons since acquiring him in 2017. It took him a while to adjust and get going in the big leagues. He finally got things going in 2020; when baseball returned from the pandemic stoppage, he was able to piece together a solid 60-game sprint season.
In 2021, he was able to follow it up with another step in the right direction. It looked like Candelario had finally settled into the big leagues, looking like a true everyday big leaguer with comfortable at-bats and looking the part overall. He finally made it seem like the Tigers had their guy.
Instead, he has followed up the promising 2022 season with struggles. He's even received demotions to the minors. He's managed a .202/.265/.346 slash line over 339 at-bats through 91 games played. He's been punched out more with a K% a tick higher from where it was.
One of the things that stood out to me the most was the overall contact in 2022 has been worse than in recent years. Candelario has seen decreases in the following categories, BABIP, ISO, HardHit%, and average Exit Velocity. He's seen increases in his GB/FB% and overall GB%.
Essentially, the power and hard contact that Candelario was making in 2020 and 2021 have disappeared with more ground balls and weaker hit balls. The Tigers organization has to see this and worry about what could happen from here. It's not like he has a 6-year pedigree of star performances; he had two solid seasons where it felt like things were moving in the right direction.
After all, he may not be the player they hoped he would be. If that's the case and he continues to limp towards the finish line in 2022 with a subpar performance, the team may need to start looking in other directions, allowing the new general manager to bring in someone new.