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Akil Baddoo Is the Breakout Star of the MLB Season So Far

Ryan Phillips
Apr 6, 2021, 5:44 PM EDT
Minnesota Twins v Detroit Tigers
Minnesota Twins v Detroit Tigers | Mark Cunningham/Getty Images
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Akil Baddoo did it again. On Tuesday, the Detroit Tigers rookie outfielder had a walk-off single, making that three big hits in the three games he's played so far in his major league career. He's undoubtedly the breakout star of the young MLB season.

Here's Baddoo's game-winning hit against the Minnesota Twins from today:

But that's not close to the entire story. On Saturday, during his big league debut, Baddoo hit a home run on the first pitch he saw in the majors:

He finished that game 1-for-3 with that home run, a walk and a strikeout, but he was just getting warmed up. On Sunday against the Twins, Baddoo went 2-for-4 with another home run, four RBIs and a stolen base. Oh, and that home run? It just so happened to be a grand slam:

Baddoo has come out of nowhere to be an early-season star. The 22-year-old was left unprotected in the 2020 Rule 5 draft by the Twins, and the Tigers snapped him up with the third pick. Minnesota drafted him in the second round of the 2016 MLB Draft out of Salem High School in Conyers, Georgia. He was a solid minor leaguer, but was only able to play 29 games in 2019 before needing Tommy John surgery on his left elbow. That threw his development into doubt.

The Tigers grabbed Baddoo in the Rule five draft back in December, and he rewarded them in spring training by hitting .325 with five home runs. It was an easy decision for Detroit to put him on the Opening Day roster.

Baddoo will have to remain with Detroit's big league club all season or the Twins will have the right to take him back. And, given how badly he's punishing Minnesota's pitching, they would almost certainly take him back if given the chance.

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