Spring Training continues as the 2021 Detroit Tigers season inches closer and closer. Amid the positional battles going on is outfielder Akil Baddoo who is new to the organization. After being selected in the Rule 5 Draft this offseason, Baddoo is preparing for the 2021 season with a new squad.
Since keeping Baddoo around means he will have to stay on the Detroit Tigers 26-man roster, it is no secret that he will get reps in the upcoming season. The bigger question is: how will he adjust? How will he adapt? How will he perform? And, how will he react to the adversity of a big jump to the big leagues?
After being selected from the Minnesota Twins organization, Baddoo is already facing a bit of adversity. He will be making the jump from High-A all the way to the big leagues, quite the jump for any prospect.
While Baddoo is not a highly touted prospect like Daz Cameron, Riley Greene, Derek Hill, there is something to be said about him. Given the Tigers used the first pick in the Rule 5 Draft to select him, they obviously see something.
He has potential and has been a part of the Twins’ organizational Top 30 prospects in the past. Baddoo’s upside is in terms of his athleticism, speed, and power. While there is still room to develop these tools further, they are the ones that are likely to emerge as the strongest.
The Detroit Tigers are going to give Akil Baddoo opportunities in 2021.
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Adversity is no stranger to Baddoo, who had his 2019 season cut short due to an arm injury that required him to have Tommy John Surgery.
This is important because he is likely going to struggle in the big leagues, and the adversity of struggling will be something he can deal with.
If he can understand the jump he is making and make the most of the opportunities he gets, there is a lot to like about Baddoo’s presence with the organization.
Baddoo is highly unlikely to be a starter for the Tigers, but those pinch-hit appearances, pinch-run appearances, and even defensive replacement chances are going to be crucial.
Baddoo will get reps with the big league club, and he is going to get opportunities.
Getting these opportunities is only going to help him as he progresses in his development. While his stats are nothing that jumps off the page, there are still things to like.
In 2019, before the arm injury, Baddo logged 29 games where he hit .214/.290/.393 with four home runs and nine RBI on the season with the Twins High-A affiliate. The year before that, in 2018, Baddoo played in 113 games, hitting .243/.351/.419 with 11 home runs and 40 RBI for the Twins Single-A affiliate.
The tools are there. It is a matter of seeing them develop and pay off. It may not be pretty; think back to Victor Reyes’ first season with the Tigers. He was an off-the-bench bat and pinch-runner who also was plugged in as a defensive replacement; that is what Baddoo will be.
But, it seems that Baddoo has the tools to be an intriguing player to watch; if he can develop an approach at the plate that allows him to drive the ball in the gap, especially that right-center gap at Comerica Park, he should be able to log a plentiful amount of extra-base hits.
The biggest thing working in Baddoo’s favor is that he has to stay on the 26-man roster, meaning if he can deal with the jump or at least deal with the failures of adjusting to the big leagues, he could be intriguing to watch settle in.
Keep an eye on Baddoo throughout Spring Training and as the regular season draws near!