Detroit Tigers Outfielder Akil Baddoo was voted the 2021 Detroit Tigers Rookie of the Year by members of the Detroit Sports Media Association. This award dates to 1969 when Tigers pitcher Mike Kilkenny was tabbed. DSMA President Terry Foster made the announcement.
Baddoo will receive his award prior to a Tigers 2022 home game at Comerica Park in Detroit. Starting pitcher Casey Mize and catcher/outfielder Eric Haase rounded out the top-3 rookie of the year vote-getters.
Highlights of Baddoo’s rookie season in Detroit are as follows.
- Posted an extremely successful rookie campaign after being selected with the third pick of the 2020 MLB Rule 5 Draft...hit .259/.330/.436 with 60 runs scored, 40 extra-base hits ad 55 RBI over 124 games.
- Among rookies with at least 300 at-bats, he ranked third in stolen bases (18) and walk rate (9.8%), fifth in on-base percentage (.330), sixth in batting average (.259), eighth in OPS (.766) and ninth in slugging percentage (.436).
- Hit seven triples, which ranked tied for second in the American League and tied for fourth in the Majors...his seven three-baggers were the most by a Major League rookie since Trea Turner had eight in 2016 and the most by a Tigers rookie since Austin Jackson had 10 in 2010.
- Finished the season with 18 stolen bases, which were the most by a Tigers rookie since Quintin Berry swiped 21 bags in 2012.
- Earned a spot on an Opening Day roster at the Major League level for the first time in his career.
- Made his Major League debut on April 4 vs. Cleveland and wasted little time making an impact, sending the first pitch he saw from Aaron Civale over the left field fence for a solo home run...according to the Elias Sports Bureau, he became the first Major League player to homer on the first pitch he saw in the big leagues since Chicago (NL)’s Willson Contreras on June 19, 2016...also became the ninth player in Tigers history to homer in his first Major League plate appearance (last, Sergio Alcántara in 2020).
- Continued the storybook start to his big league career on April 5 vs. Minnesota, hitting a grand slam in the ninth...became the first player in franchise history to homer in each of his first two MLB games...according to the Elias Sports Bureau, he was the third player in the Modern Era (since 1900) to hit at least one homer in each of his first two games with at least one of them being a grand slam, joining Kevin Kouzmanoff (2006) and Dick Stuart (1985)...additionally, he was the first Major Leaguer in the Modern Era to homer in each of his first two MLB games with both coming from the No. 9 spot in the batting order...became the fifth player in Tigers history to drive in four-or-more runs in either of his first two career games (last, Alex Avila on August 7, 2009).
- Hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th inning on April 6 vs. Minnesota... according to the Elias Sports Bureau, Baddoo became the first Major League player in the Modern Era to begin his big league career with multiple homers, including a grand slam, and a walk-off hit within his first three Major League games...was the first Tigers rookie to have a walk-off hit since Dixon Machado on September 18, 2015 vs. Kansas City.
- Drove in at least one run in each of the first four games of his Major League career, becoming just the fourth player in franchise history to do so, joining Dale Alexander (seven straight in 1929), Ron Cash (four in 1973) and Don Ross (four in 1938)...was the first big league player to begin his career with a RBI in his first four games since Seattle’s Kyle Lewis in 2019.
- Blasted his longest homer of the season on April 12 at Houston, a 450-foot shot ...was the longest by a Tigers rookie in the Statcast Era (2015-present).
- Hit his fourth home run of the season on April 13 at Houston...according to the Elias Sports Bureau, he became the only Tigers player to have four-or-more homers in the first eight games of his career.
- Drove in at least one run in seven of his first nine games, becoming the second player in franchise history to do so, joining Dale Alexander (1929), and the ninth Major League player to accomplish the feat (last, Jorge Soler, 2014).
- Hit his third triple of the season on April 26 vs. Kansas City, becoming the only MLB player since 1901 to have at least four doubles, three triples and four home runs within his first 17 career games.
- Posted a career-best, 11-game hitting streak from June 9-24, hitting .425/.500/.575 with six doubles and two RBI.
- Became just the third Tigers rookie since 1933 to have 20-or-more extra-base hits and 10-or-more stolen bases prior to the All-Star break, joining Austin Jackson (2010) and Jake Wood (1961).
- Sidelined from August 11-24 with a concussion.
- Hit his first career leadoff homer on September 17 at Tampa Bay.