This part of the case is mainly about what his value and potential are as a defender. I compared standard and advanced fielding metrics from Baseball Reference, the Fielding Bible, and Fangraphs for all current and former Tiger outfielders in the 2022 season. This includes everyone from Vierling and Maton, to Haase and Los Castros. I took each player's numbers from their primary (most played) OF spot. In addition to Willi Castro's minus-21 defensive runs saved (DRS) per year (!), here's what I found:
Baseball Reference (5 total OF categories):
Akil Baddoo led all Tiger outfielders in all five categories: Total Runs Above Average, Defensive Runs Saved Above Average, Range Factor/9 Innings, Range factor/Game, and Fielding Percentage (tied with Riley Greene)
Fielding Bible (4 total OF categories):
Baddoo led all Tiger outfielders in all four categories: Arm: Outs Above Average, Arm: Runs Saved Above Average, Range: Runs Saved Above Average, and Defensive Runs Saved Above Average
Ultimate Zone Rating (4 total OF categories):
Baddoo, again, led all Tiger outfielders in all four categories: Arm: Runs Saved Above Average, Range: Runs Saved Above Average, Errors: Runs Saved Above Average, and Ultimate Zone rating.
By these measures, Akil's performance in LF was statistically the best overall performance by any current Tiger OF in their primary position.
Yes, I'm a Superfan of Baddoo
Subjectively, having watched almost all of his games these past two years - including in person several times last season - he was clearly the best defender in the OF. Despite the goofy pictures and angry comments on social media whenever he made mistakes, his ability to turn batted balls into outs and runs saved, that for the rest of his teammates would have been one-hoppers and gappers, was unmatched. His Baseball Reference DRS was 21. Riley Greene was second among Tiger OFs with 4.
Whether Spring Training really "counts" is usually a matter of which argument you want to make regarding a player. Counting it or not, Akil also had an excellent spring, defensively.
Ultimately, I'm not making the case for Akil Baddoo to make the Tigers 26-man roster. I'm saying he should be right along with Greene and Spencer Torkelson as position players who are key parts of the Tigers' future. Instead of playing in Toledo, he should be playing every day... maybe in some other MLB club's outfield.
Offense in part 2 (I'm tired and I don't get paid for this!).
Here's a teaser, though:Career oWAR:
Meadows - 7.8
Baddoo - 2.1
Greene - 1.3
Carpenter - 0.6
Maton - 1.1
Vierling - 0.5
McKinstry - 0.1