Detroit Tigers: Jeimer Candelario has come a long way in 2020 and 2021

(Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports)
(Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports) /

Back in 2017, the Detroit Tigers sent Alex Avila and Justin Wilson to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for Jeimer Candelario and Isaac Paredes. Since then, things have gone up and down for Candelario, but in 2021 it seems like he’s got things figured out.

The Detroit Tigers have been able to watch Candelario become one of the team’s best hitters and keep that consistency throughout the season. He carried success over from the shortened 2020 season and has been able to replicate it over the longer season in 2021.

It was not the smoothest route for Candelario, who has been sort of thrown into the fire since being acquired. He’s spent time in the big leagues since being acquired by the Tigers. Before being in a Tigers uniform, Candelario had only logged 16 games in the big leagues. In his first full season with the Tigers (2018), he would go on to log 144 games.

It’s been baptism by fire, and his struggles early with the organization may be to blame for throwing him into the fire and moving him around positionally. It was a lot of development on the fly for the infielder, who has since settled into a home for the organization.

Detroit Tigers infielder Jeimer Candelario has come a long way.

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While his first 27 games with the Tigers in 2017 saw him go off and look like a real big leaguer, he slashed .330/.406/.468; he would need more time. After two rough seasons, in 2020, he looked great at the plate, and that continued into 2021.

So far this season, Candelario has logged 120 games for the Tigers, where he slashed .275/.354/.430 with a league-leading 36 doubles, 10 home runs, and 48 RBI on the season.

For those who follow along with WAR and how the players rank for the Tigers, Candelario’s WAR is +2.6 in the 2021 season, which is the highest among the team’s position players.

His oWAR is at +3.2, and his dWAR is -0.3, which speaks to his abilities at the dish. The defensive rating being negative is pretty on par; it’s a tick above prior “bad” seasons and a tick below some of his good seasons in terms of dWAR.

His BABIP of .344 is also way above where it has been in prior years, not counting 2020’s great numbers as well. With most of his numbers being above where they were in years prior to 2020, it’s good to see Candelario finding his way consistently.

The bottom line is, he’s been able to produce at the plate, and it has led to him having a mighty good season for the Tigers. Something the team has hoped for since acquiring him and plugging him into the lineup.

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While the Tigers have plenty of prospect infielders itching to get their chances in the big leagues, Candelario has seemingly locked down a spot in the team’s lineup for the time being.