Oh my my my. I’m felling high. My voice is gone but I’m not alone. Too much “he ain’t real”. The world keeps turnin’. Oh what a day. What a day. What a day. Hits and homers manifest. With every passing game. If my belief were my wealth. Then I would be filthy rich. If I were made in his image. Then I’d be one sexy dude. Most analysts do not believe. Cuz they fear regression coming. Oh on and on and on and on. The hits keep coming like the morning dew. Whew on and on and on and on. All night until the break of dawn. I go on and on and on and on. The hits keep coming like the morning dew. Ooo on and on and on and on. God damn it. Imma sing his song.

Akil Baddoo has taken the league by storm in the early going. He’s racked up three home runs, nine RBI, and one stolen base in 21 plate appearances. There are plenty of reasons to be skeptical in terms of his staying power so should we automatically dismiss him? Or is there something here and will this Baddoo go on and on like Badu?

Baddoo is 22 years old, 6′ 1″, 210 pounds, and bats from the left side. He was drafted out of high school by the Twins in the 2016 MLB Draft. His first two seasons were spent in Rookie ball, where he improved the strikeout rate, ISO, and slash at each stop. The K% went from 28.1% to 15% then to 12.1%. The ISO went from .093 to .173 to .222. The average went from .178 to .267 to .357. Remember, that he was coming straight from high school so he was a 17-year-old kid that first year. The improvement trends are encouraging.

In 2018, he moved up to Single-A where he hit 11 home runs and stole 24 bases in 517 plate appearances. The walk rate was 14.3%, the strikeout rate was 24%, ISO was .176, and the slash was .243/.351/.419. That’s not bad for a 19-year-old.

The following season, he moved up to Class A+ but the season was cut short due to undergoing Tommy John surgery on his left elbow.

In December of 2020, the Detroit Tigers selected Baddoo with the third pick in the Rule 5 draft.

During Spring Training, Baddoo slashed .325/.460/.750 with five home runs and four stolen bases in 40 at-bats. He drove in 11 and walked 10 times. As a result, he made the Opening Day roster and the rest, as they say, is history.

And what a history it’s been so far. .368/.381/1.000 slash in seven games. Let’s dig in.

The BABIP is .308 so he’s had some good fortune but nothing egregious. In the minors, the BABIP was over .300 in three seasons with one of those above .400. Steamer has him projected for a .289 BABIP. That seems fair but it’s well within the range of outcomes that he sports a number closer to .300.

The ISO is .632. Uh, yeah. That’s not going to continue. Babe Ruth has the all-time mark at .348 with Mark McGwire second at .325. Barry Bonds is third at .309.

The walk rate is 4.8% while the strikeout rate is 19%. He had a walk rate over 10% in every season but one in the minors. It was 9.2% the season he missed. In the most recent minor league seasons, the strikeout rate was 24% and 29.8%. Looking at the swinging strike rate numbers, it’s at 17.6% this season. In the minors, it was double-digits in every season, with the two most recent numbers being 13.2% and 15.4%. There’s definitely some swing-and-miss to his game.

In terms of the batted ball data, he’s sporting a 31.3% line drive rate and 25% ground ball rate. Throughout most of his minor league career, the ground ball rate was around 41% so expect some regression in that regard. The line drive rate doesn’t seem sustainable as well. I’m not going to even go into the HR/FB rate because it’s ridiculous right now. Fine, but stop pulling my arm, please. It’s at 42.9%. Uh, yeah, that should go down like 30%. I love the approach, though, as he’s pulling the ball only 25% of the time, going oppo 31.3%, and up-the-middle 43.8%.

The plate discipline numbers don’t look great. He’s chasing 38.3% of pitches and the overall contact rate is 63.4%. It’s 73.9% in the zone. The contact rates put him in the Javier Baez/Joey Gallo zone, which is top 10 or bottom 10, depending on the perspective. The chase rate would’ve placed him in the top 20 last season.

The Statcast numbers are mixed. The xwOBA, xBA, and xSLG are 99th, 98th, and 100th percentile respectively. The sprint speed is in the 92nd percentile while the barrel rate is in the 95th percentile. That good. The bad? 15th percentile in average exit velocity. He’s poor in whiff and chase rate, but we went over that already.

This is so tough because pitchers are going to find Baddoo’s weakness and exploit it. There’s just too much swing-and-miss to his game. With that said, I love the approach since he stays back and is willing to go oppo. In addition, he has power going to left field. So that gives me optimism.

He has good size, is very athletic, and is still only 22 years old. The pedigree isn’t great but he was drafted in the second round out of high school. I think that speaks to the physical potential. As with all young players, the key will be how he adjusts to the adjustments. The improvements he showed in the minors provide hope.

Al Avila, the Tigers Executive VP of Baseball Operations and GM thinks that he can be a high-level defender in the outfield. That should provide a safe floor for playing time, which will be needed because there will be slumps. It helps that the Tigers aren’t competing for anything so they can absorb the ups and downs to develop young players.

The walk rate should tick up which should provide more opportunities for stolen bases. The power is coming down but I think he’s going to hit his fair share. The power is real and the approach is very mature. As long he gets the plate appearances, I think 20/15 is viable with a .240-ish batting average. The ceiling? You’re witnessing it now.

VERDICT: A Bear with horns?

 
  1. Jimmy says:
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    Awesome stuff…Hiura or McMahon in 18 team…5×5….

    • Son

      Son says:
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      McMahon

  2. Thundershoe says:
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    Hi Son, Great write-up as always, thanks for the analysis!

    In a 14-team H2H points league (-1 per K for batters) for context for these questions:

    A. , who are you taking ROS among the following: Jazz, Shaw, Vaughn, Baddoo, Lowrie

    B. Zeroing in on prospects/younger players, which two do you like best this season out of Jazz, Vaughn, Baddoo, Bohm, and Kelenic?

    C. Working on a trade: give Giolito and Luzardo for Bellinger and Bohm. Pull the trigger? For context, my team is currently…

    Molina, C. Santana, Biggio, Evans, Gregorius, Brantley, McNeil, Eaton, Vaughn, Baddoo (Springer on IL)
    Bieber, L. Castillo, Giolito, Kikuchi, Canning, Taillon, Luzardo, Dunning, Pressly, Clase, Gallegos, Alvarado (Merryweather on IL)

    • Son

      Son says:
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      Thanks!

      Baddoo

      Bohm and Baddoo

      I like that trade for you. I usually side with the bats. Plus, you hve Beiber and Castillo. Worst case, you can stream matchups.

      • Thundershoe says:
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        Appreciate the advice!

        C. Yah, on paper, it seems pretty obvious I should make the trade. Two things causing me to hesitate – Giolito’s a keeper who’ll be super affordable for several years and come playoffs (if I make it), having aces can be huge. Then again, a lot can happen between now and then, and who can predict who will be hot or not at that time.

        A couple more Qs:

        Do you prefer J. Turner over Bohm?

        Grab Graveman over Gallegos or Alvarado (saves and holds league)

        • Son

          Son says:
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          Gotcha. It comes to personal preference. I like having elite bats because I feel like I can find pitching or favorable matchups. That’s just me though.

          Since it’s a keeper league, thne bohm

          I think you fine with Gallegos and Alvarado. You can if you want. I really don’t sweat relievers in SVH leagues. There are so many options

          • Thundershoe says:
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            Checking back in with a trade offer to compare against the Giolito/Luzardo for Bellinger/Bohm one. Do you like Giolito for Lindor better than that one?

            Did some more research and have see-sawed back and forth a bit on the Cody B trade due to his health concerns and hitting approach. In my league, he had a monstrous 2019 and was a 4.0 pts/gm player, but in 2018, he was at about 2.6 pts/gm and in 2020, about 2.8 pts/gm. How confident are you he’ll be closer to his 2019 form (during which, btw, his 1st half was nuts but fell off significantly in the 2nd half).

            • Son

              Son says:
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              I’m a Belli guy so if you want a differing opinion, you’ve come to the wrong place. :)

              • Thundershoe says:
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                Haha, I see. Well, I may be joining you on the Cody B train soon! Just double checking – you prefer the Cody B trade over the Lindor one, right?

                • Thundershoe says:
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                  Ugh, just saw that Bellinger has a hairline fracture in his left tibula.

                • Son

                  Son says:
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                  I do but it’s close. Comes down to personal preference. There was news today that Belli had a hairline fracture so factor that in

  3. Don't be a Hader says:
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    Bull or Bear?
    A.Hicks
    J.McNeil
    JD Davis
    G.Hampson
    T.Locastro

  4. Son

    Son says:
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    bull
    bull
    bear
    bull
    bull

  5. happyharry says:
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    Son, 12 team, H2H, keeper..your advice on this trade offer.
    HIS-Santander, Gurriel, Tallion and Mondesi for MY-Berrios, Lewis, Canha and Hayes ?? I’m strong Pitching!!

    • Son

      Son says:
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      it’s a fine trade but i do prefer standing pat since it’s a keeper league. with that said, if you feel like you a true contender, then making the trade helps you this year. i’m not a huge mondesi guy but he could propel you over the top

  6. FireRobManfred says:
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    A bear with horns is a Tauren Druid from World of Warcraft.

    No I haven’t had a girlfriend in years =(

    • Son

      Son says:
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      Ha.

      Thank you for the new designation. I shall use it in the future.

Comments are closed.