Detroit Tigers’ Eric Haase named American League Rookie of the Month

Haase hit 9 home runs in July

Detroit Tigers' Eric Haase runs the bases on a grand slam off Minnesota Twins pitcher Hansel Robles during the ninth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, July 27, 2021, in Minneapolis. The Tigers won 6-5 in 11 innings. (Jim Mone, The Associated Press 2021)

DETROITDetroit Tigers catcher Eric Haase was named the American League Rookie of the Month for July.

In 23 games last month, Haase batted .265 with nine home runs, three doubles and 29 RBI. He posted a .945 OPS in 91 plate appearances.

Haase started the month with a bang, hitting two home runs as part of a three-hit, six-RBI effort against the Chicago White Sox on July 3.

His biggest swing came July 27 in Minnesota, when he hit a game-tying grand slam in the ninth inning that eventually propelled the Tigers to an extra-inning win and snapped a four-game losing streak.

READ: Tigers complete easiest stretch of their schedule -- did they really take advantage?

The next day, Haase hit a three-run double and drew three walks in a game the Tigers won 17-14.

Since joining the Tigers as close to an everyday player in mid-May, Haase has been a reliable power hitter, racking up 18 home runs and nine doubles across 59 games. His only weakness has been strikeouts -- 70 in 59 games and a 30.6% strikeout rate overall. That has resulted in a .301 on-base percentage.

Even in July, Haase struck out in 28.6% of his plate appearances and posted a .319 OBP. Over his last five games, though, Haase has four walks and two strikeouts across 22 plate appearance. If he can find a way to get on base and put the ball in play with a little more regularity, he could become a true impact player for the Tigers.

Haase, 28, wasn’t considered a plus defender in the minors, but he’s been solid behind the plate with Detroit. He’s also adapted well to the occasional start in left field -- only one error in 120.1 innings.

Eric Haase #13 of the Detroit Tigers celebrates his three-run home run against the Chicago White Sox with Daz Cameron #41 and Jeimer Candelario #46 during the seventh inning at Comerica Park on July 3, 2021, in Detroit, Michigan. (2021 Getty Images)

The Tigers are an aggressive base running team, and Haase fits that bill. He ranks in the 72nd percentile in MLB sprint speed -- elite for a catcher. It’s that athleticism that allows A.J. Hinch to keep Haase in the lineup for several extra games by starting him in the outfield.

Most of the expected stats support what Haase is doing. He has a 17.6% barrel rate, a 50.7% hard-contact rate and a 92.1 mph average exit velocity -- all excellent numbers. Plate discipline is the only hole in Haase’s game so far, but he’s only played 85 games at the MLB level, and that’s one of the most difficult skills to develop.

Haase didn’t join the team until May 13, and he’s already up to 2.0 WAR (wins above replacement). He’s starting to cement himself as part of the team’s future, and there’s still room for improvement.

About the Author:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.