Detroit Tigers’ Akil Baddoo continues torrid spring with leadoff home run

Baddoo homers on 0-2 pitch from left-hander

Detroit Tigers' Akil Baddoo hits a two-run home run against the Texas Rangers during the third inning of a baseball game Monday, July 19, 2021, in Detroit. (Duane Burleson, 2021 The Associated Press.)

DUNEDIN, Fla.Detroit Tigers outfielder Akil Baddoo continued his scorching hot start to spring training Friday with a leadoff home run against a left-handed pitcher.

Baddoo found himself at the top of A.J. Hinch’s lineup Friday (March 25) even thought the Toronto Blue Jays started veteran lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu.

After taking the first pitch for a strike and fouling off the second, Baddoo hammered the 0-2 offering from Ryu over the right-field wall.

Baddoo has been excellent so far this spring, leading off each of his last three starts with extra-base hits -- a triple (Monday), double (Wednesday) and home run (Friday). Overall, he’s 6-for-12 with two home runs, three strikeouts and a 1.750 OPS (through his second at-bat Friday).

The 23-year-old is already becoming a bit of a spring legend. He made the Tigers’ Opening Day roster in 2021 thanks to a 1.210 OPS through 21 spring games. He hit five home runs and drew 10 walks in the exhibition after the Tigers selected him in the Rule 5 draft.

Friday’s home run was especially encouraging since it came against a left-handed pitcher. Baddoo has proven he belongs at the MLB level, but his success against lefties will determine if he’s an everyday player or part of a platoon in 2022.

During his rookie season, Baddoo batted just .214 with a .523 OPS against left-handed pitchers, compared to a .273 average and .841 OPS against righties. He hit 19 doubles, six triples and 13 home runs against right-handers (315 at-bats), and just one double, one triple and no home runs against lefties (98 at-bats).

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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.