The Detroit Tigers have kicked off the 2021 season, where they have a 2-1 record after a series with Cleveland. In the final game of the series, the Tigers sent their Rule 5 Draft pick from this winter out there to play in the first MLB game of his career.
Outfielder Akil Baddoo was brought in from the Minnesota Twins organization this offseason in a surprising Rule 5 pick. Baddoo had an incredibly strong Spring Training with the Detroit Tigers organization, working his way to a point where it was clear he belonged.
In fact, Baddoo played so well this Spring that it was clear he will get looks in the Tigers outfield. By that, I mean it was clear that Baddoo was going to get starts rather than just being the occasional pinch-hitter/pinch-runner or defensive replacement.
Even in a crowded outfield situation, Baddoo proved that he deserved a chance. In his first chance in 2021, Baddoo made the most of it and started his career off with a bang. After quite a road of adversity and making quite the jump from Double-A to the big leagues.
Detroit Tigers outfielder Akil Baddoo made the most of his first MLB appearance.
In his first MLB start, Baddoo played left field for the Tigers and batted ninth. He would go 1-for-3 on the day with one hit, one run, and one RBI. His one hit is where he made the most of his first MLB start by going yard with a longball.
In the bottom of the third inning, Baddoo would take Cleveland starter Aaron Civale deep on the first pitch of the at-bat. It was also the first pitch that Baddoo has seen in the big leagues during a regular-season game.
Baddoo opted to put an exclamation point on this big fly with his bat flip after.
Surely an experience that Baddoo will never forget, his first big league plate appearance during the regular season turned into a first-pitch long ball.
The home run came on a mistake from Civale that Baddoo made him pay for.
Civale appears to have thrown a sinker that just got too much of the plate. Baddoo stayed back on it and ultimately pulled the ball to left field.
A pretty impressive piece of hitting for Baddoo, who made Civale pay for a mistake. While he would finish the day 1-for-3, it was a great thing to see Baddoo kick off his career with such a great piece of hitting.
If Baddoo can tap into this power or even just find ways to get on base in the opportunities he is given, he might be the best Rule 5 draft pick that the Tigers have added in recent years.