DETROIT - Detroit Tigers' third baseman Jeimer Candelario has improved since being demoted to Triple-A Toledo, but the numbers still haven't been great.
Candelario, 25, has just six hits in five games with the Mud Hens, good for a .231 average. The other numbers are strong, though.
After totaling just two home runs and nine extra-base hits in 38 games with the Tigers this season, Candelario already has a double, a triple and a home run in the minors. His extra-base power -- 19 home runs and 50 extra-base hits in 2018 -- is part of what made Candelario an intriguing prospect.
He's also drawn three walks to go with three strikeouts, a welcome sight after he struck out 46 times compared to 18 walks in the majors. Candelario needs to regain the excellent plate discipline that gave him a career .349 on-base percentage in the minor leagues.
The Tigers are hoping Candelario can hit much higher than .231, but his .795 OPS would be just fine if it translated to the MLB level. It's a small sample size, but Candelario is at least showing small signs of improvement, and it doesn't take much to crack the Tigers' terrible lineup these days.
Dawel Lugo, who took over everyday reps at third base in Detroit, is 2-for-19 since being called up with a home run, a single, four strikeouts and one walk. He also made a critical error Thursday, botching a ground ball and opening the door for a five-run ninth inning that allowed the Miami Marlins to sweep the Tigers in Comerica Park.
Al Avila traded Justin Wilson and his son, Alex Avila, to the Cubs because Candelario was expected to be a mainstay in the Tigers' future lineup. If he can show a little more consistency at the plate while regaining his extra-base power and discipline, he'll be right back at the hot corner in Detroit.
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