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.
Akil Baddoo hit the ground running with two homers in his first two career starts, including a grand slam on Monday. The unknown prospect has become an overnight sensation for the Detroit Tigers. @carrpediem21 is in the Three Spot today with A Bro You Need To Know. pic.twitter.com/wvxYGkLltT
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.
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.
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 Baddoo and Cedric Mullins are two brothers that have had a lot of success so far during the 2021 season.
Our two MLBbros have made a name for themselves and aren’t showing any signs of slowing down.
While Baddoo is enjoying a memorable rookie season with the Detroit Tigers, Mullins is letting the league know why he was named to his first All-Star Game playing with the Baltimore Orioles.
These two have been playing at a high-level long before they became big league players.
They also have a special relationship with each other. Baddoo and Mullins were on the same travel ball team in Atlanta.
Recently, the two had the opportunity to share the field as the Orioles traveled to Detroit to take on the Tigers.
The teams had a four-game series from July 29-August 1. It was a reunion for our two MLBbros, but it wasn’t the first time the two talked during the season.
“Growing up with him and seeing how he goes about baseball, he just plays 110% every day,” Baddoo told the Detroit Free Press. “He’s somebody I always looked up to, so it’s always fun to play against him and see us at the highest level competing. It’s just a beautiful thing.”
You love to see two players who grew up playing together having success at the professional level.
That is what this sport needs, more brothers excelling on the field. This season many of our MLBbros have been thriving on the field and it’s good for the younger kids to watch these guys ball out.
Baddoo is one of the young guys and he’s been looking up to Mullins for a while.
“I always want to be my own person, but it’s just having someone to look up to and having someone to talk to about the game, “Baddoo said. “He’s been there, and he’s doing it right now. It’s always good to go to him for advice so I can translate that over to my career and do the same kind of things.”
Numbers don’t lie and these two have been killing it this season. Baddoo is in the running for American League Rookie of the Year.
It’s not often that someone who grew up playing the same sport together makes it to the professional level and the fact that Mullins and Baddoo are doing it, let’s you know that it can be done.
And they’re not the only ones, either.
Tigers’ manager A.J.Hinch complimented Baddoo’s game along with Mullins.
“Akil should look right across the field and see exactly the type of potential he has at this level,” Hinch said after the series between the two teams. “Mullins has developed into an All-Star player. He demonstrates that nightly. He’s a threat, he plays good defense, he’s got energy, he runs the bases, he conceded power yesterday for a couple base hits to left field. He is an all-around player.
“Akil has got some friends around the league that are already established. Hopefully, he can take bits and pieces from everybody that he has connections to, and certainly profiles like, and add to his game.”
Baddoo and Mullins will have long careers and don’t be surprised if they continue to have successful seasons.
Our MLBbro has adjusted quite well in his first season. The numbers he’s put up are impressive and have caught the eyes of many around the league.
He’s batting .364 in his last 15 games with 20 hits, five RBI, and six stolen bases. He also posted a .491 slugging percentage during that time. Baddoo brings that excitement and energy Detroit needs. The Tigers have a young team and Baddoo is a great addition to the team.
If you haven’t watched this brother play, you are missing out. Whether he’s in the field or at the plate, he puts on a show. And don’t let him get on the base path. When that happens, opposing defenses will have some problems.
Tigers’ manager AJ Hinch has been pleased with Baddoo’s aggressiveness on the bases.
“He’s not afraid,” Hinch told The Detroit News. “That’s a great trait to have. He’s very aggressive. But he’s also very smart. He has the best first step on our team and arguably on a lot of teams. His awareness has grown from the beginning of the season until now on what he’s looking for.”
Baddoo has a total of 13 stolen bases on the season and leads the team in that category. He also had settled in well being in the leadoff position in the Tigers’ lineup.
“We’re going to continue to put things in front of him,” Hinch said of Baddoo at the leadoff spot. “One of the reasons he’s in there is he’s got pretty good (strike) zone control and understands a strike from a ball. Akil is just one of our best hitters at the end of the day.”
“It doesn’t guarantee he will be there against (left-handed pitchers) in Texas or Minnesota next week. But I like where Akil is at. I like what he brings. Today, our best lineup has Akil in it.”
Baddoo is batting over .300 during his time at the leadoff position. As the season progresses, Baddoo can find himself at the lead-off position full-time. The future is bright in Detroit with players like Baddoo and he’s looking to become a mainstay in Motown.
Through 65 games, he’s batting .281 with five home runs and 25 RBI. Baddoo has been one of the top rookies in the league and he’s not showing any signs of letting up, either.
The Tigers need to do everything they can to keep Baddoo long-term because he can develop into a high-level player over the course of years.
Don’t be surprised if our MLBbro receives some hardware at the end of the season, too. His numbers are some of the best among the rookies in the league.