Spring training hot streaks are fun, but so often the fun turns to dust as soon as the regular season begins. Akil Baddoo appears fully determined not to let that happen.
Left unprotected from the Rule 5 draft by the Minnesota Twins, because he hadn’t played since May of 2019, and never above High-A ball, Twins GM Thad Levine didn’t expect to regret this. He may be regretting it now.
The Tigers took the 22-year-old outfielder with the third pick in the Rule 5, and he’s done nothing but drop jaws ever since. From an oppo blast on the first major league pitch he saw, to Monday night’s grand slam, he’s just been a human highlight reel since the beginning of camp.
On Wednesday, with the Tigers looking to avoid losing three straight, he had some more magic ready for Tigers fans. In the tenth inning, with two outs and runners on second and third, the Tigers needed a hit. And once again, Akil Baddoo looked calm, cool, and collected, battling Twins reliever Hansel Robles into a 2-1 count, before lacing a hard single to right for the first walkoff winner of the season.
And, here’s the Dan Dickerson deluxe edition courtesy of Motor City Bengals.
The game winning hit by Akil Baddoo with Dan Dickerson on the call. pic.twitter.com/UwIV4wzaqp— Rogelio Castillo (@rogcastbaseball) April 6, 2021
Even in the mob scene out near first base, Baddoo was still the calmest of the bunch as his teammates swarmed him joyously. He was calm in the postgame as well, speaking of the team’s needs and his happiness to contribute. The one crack in the armor? A frigid bath of cold water delivered mid-interview.
We don’t know quite what to expect going forward, but he shows no signs of turning back into a pumpkin anytime soon. Get your Akil Baddoo gear while it’s hot!
Tigers teammates poured cold water, powder, soda, shaving cream, etc. on Akil Baddoo after his walk-off hit.— Cody Stavenhagen (@CodyStavenhagen) April 6, 2021
"They just said, 'Close your eyes and you'll be OK,'" Baddoo said. "I'm here, and I'm still recovering."
"I'm just glad we got the W."