Tigers Rookie Akil Baddoo Is Still The Real Deal & Earning His MLB Stripes

Tigers Rookie Akil Baddoo Is Still The Real Deal & Earning His MLB Stripes

 Akil Baddoo’s rookie season is full of ebbs & flows as the Tigers rookie outfielder rejoins the team following a two-week injury reserve stint caused by a collision with fellow MLBbro Derek Hill. 



After the IL designation, Baddoo played four games for the Toledo Mud Hens, where he received 14 at-bats with four walks two hits, two runs, two RBI, one stolen base, one double, and in Baddoo like fashion, one walk-off single in front of a packed house at Fifth Third Field.



While still shaking off the cobwebs this past week, Baddoo played five games where he accumulated two hits. The kid even had time to celebrate with and inspire Michigan’s’ Taylor North Little League World Series Champions ahead of the series opener against the visiting Oakland Athletics. 


Coming out of Georgia, the 23-year-old took an unconditional route to the Majors. The Minnesota Twins were so impressed witht he Salem High School graduate that they selected him in the second round of the 2016 Amateurs Draft. Baddoo spent the next four years bouncing from rookie league and Low-A ball before being selected by the Tigers in the MLB 2020 Rule 5 Draft.

On April 4 of the 2021 season, Baddoo planted his flag in the Motor City after teeing off on the first pitch he ever saw as a big leaguer, not to mention, it was Easter Sunday. The feat chiseled his name in stone as the ninth player in Tigers history to have his first professional hit be a home run.



If some are good, then more is better, as the following day, the young lefty launched a two-out grand slam in the bottom of the ninth inning. The four-run moon shot came against the team that drafted him, the Twins, as mentioned earlier.


The Real Deal Akil Is Giving Detroit Fans Something They Can Feel


A week later, while in the land of the stars, Real Deal Akil’s fairytale start continued as he launched two more homers in back-to-back games against the Houston Astros; one of which was a 450-foot moonshot against former Cy Young pitcher Zach Greinke. 

His meteoric rise matched fellow MLBbro Jazz Chisholm as two of three rookies to reach double digits in home runs and stolen bases. His first step quickness from home to first base is rivalved by few players, Shohei Ohtani being one of them. 

After Baddoo’s hot start with the bat pitchers started passing around the book on him. Baddoo combined to hit one home run in May and June. Baddoo was still an asset however, because he leaned on his glove and agility in the outfield while he readjusted to the pitchers. 

That readjustement came follwing the All-Star break.

The Midsummer Classic came at the right time for Real Deal Akil as he launched four home runs in the 10 games that followed, putting everyone on notice that his rookie of the year campaign is still in full effect.



Real Deal Akil stopped by MLB Central Monday morning to discuss his rookie season and the organization’s outlook as he is steadily becoming the face of the franchise. Since exploding onto the scene, Baddoo prepared differently to stay on top of his game.

He said, “Now I know what I need in my routine each and every day, so I kind of like implement that while I’m on the field and let my abilities take over.”

He mentioned that all the players have bought into manager A.J. Hinch and his philosophies on how winning each game can turn into winning each series to winning each month. 

“Baseball is a game of failure. There’s going to be a lot of ups & downs, so just stay even keel and ride the wave and always have fun and don’t lose sight of that.”

Look for Real Deal Akil and his Detroit Tigers to stay afloat in the American League Central down the stretch as they’ll travel to Cincinnati to take on the Reds inside Great American Ballpark Friday night with first pitch set for 7:07 p.m.

Akil “The Real Deal” Baddoo Is Gunning For AL Rookie of The Year

Akil “The Real Deal” Baddoo Is Gunning For AL Rookie of The Year

Detroit Tigers rookie Akil Baddoo started the season like a man possessed at the plate, launching homers left and right and captivating MLB fans with his five-tool potential.

Then his bat went flat, but he stayed grinding and has lifted himself back into the American League ROY conversation.

Rachel Hill gives her take on the situation on First To Third.


Eggcellent MLB Debut for Real Deal Akil on Easter Sunday

Eggcellent MLB Debut for Real Deal Akil on Easter Sunday

What a way to set off a career. What a day for the future of Black baseball.

In storybook fashion, Akil Baddoo jumped all over the first pitch of his Major League career and drilled a 373-foot opposite field homer over the left-field fence. He is now the ninth player in Tigers history with a dome-knocker in his first career at-bat.



During the broadcast, parents John and Akilah Baddoo reacted jubilantly to their sons’ first-ever at-bat. 


“Now I can go get a pretzel,” said Akilah. She goes on to say, “our first discussion between John and me was to pray that he does what he’s supposed to do.

John jumped in and said, “I grabbed her hand so we can throw some good energy his way, and then before we could blink our eyes, there it was.” 


John added, “It was like when he hit one out when he was six years old or getting his first home run when he was playing travel ball, we relieved it again.”

Batting ninth, the rookie left fielder went 1-3 in a Tigers 9-3 defeat, as the surprising Tigers took two of three from Cleveland at Comerica Park. 

During Sundays’ Postgame Press Conference, Baddoo said, “The guys around me told me to carry with you what you did in spring training to the field. I did that and just played relaxed. I got my first debut out of the way, so I’m just looking forward to the next game and getting a W.”


“Everything about that moment was memorable for him and his family,” said A.J. Hinch during the post-game press conference. What a cool moment for him and his family; the first pitch he sees, he goes oppo, the crowd responded by welcoming him to Detroit, kind of a cool moment in the dugout as well.” 

Baddoo caught the attention of Hinch in Lakeland, Florida, during spring training. In 40 plate appearances, Baddoo balled out with 13 hits which accounted for five home runs, 11 RBIs, ten bases on balls, and two doubles, despite not playing above High-A in the minor leagues.

The kid is a natural. Tigers fans are going to get to see him flex his wheels too.



The Minnesota Twins drafted Akil in the second round, where he spent 23 months grinding for the Class A  Advanced Fort Myers Miracle, before Tommy John surgery on his left (throwing) elbow derailed his 2019 campaign.

MLB Pipeline ranked Baddoo as the Twins’ number 13 prospect before the Tigers selected the lefty third in the Rule 5 Draft in December of 2020. For the pick, the Tigers paid the Twins $100,000.00.

If the organization wants to keep the 22-year-old phenom, he must remain on the roster for the entirety of the regular season. If not, he would be offered back to the Twins for $50,000.00.

After seeing his lit display of power in his first MLB game and the way he handled the media afterward, it’s a safe bet to say that Real Deal Akil will become a household name in The D.

Next for the Tigers is another home matinee against the Twins with the first pitch scheduled for Monday at 1:10 p.m.