DETROIT – The players on the Detroit Tigers' major league roster can't hit, but there might be a positive new development in the minor leagues.
After a dreadful first 38 games and a slow week following his demotion, Jeimer Candelario exploded out of his slump during the Toledo Mud Hens' series against the Louisville Bats.
Candelario was sent down to Triple-A after batting just .192 with 46 strikeouts in 146 at-bats with the Tigers. He showed some improvement over the first seven games in Toledo, but the numbers didn't really stand out: .231 with one home run, three walks and a .795 OPS.
His bat caught fire when the Mud Hens traveled to Louisville over the weekend. Candelario went 8-for-12 with two home runs, five walks and no strikeouts. He also pitched in 10 RBI and five runs.
It's only been three games, but the Tigers have to be relieved that Candelario is finally showing signs of life at the plate. He was a top 100 prospect when they acquired him from the Chicago Cubs in 2017, and they hoped he would become the third baseman of the future.
At 25 years old, Candelario has already made nice strides defensively at third base. His offensive game dropped off last season, though, as he struck out 160 times and posted a .710 OPS.
The Tigers want to see Candelario get back to being the dual threat of extra-base power and plate discipline that made him such a promising prospect. With two home runs and five walks against the Bats, he could be turning his season around.