MLB

Tigers rookie Akil Baddoo homers on first MLB pitch he sees, becoming first player to do so since 2016

USATSI

Making the jump from Single-A to the major leagues isn’t easy. Detroit Tigers outfielder Akil Baddoo only made it look that way.

Baddoo, a 22-year-old Rule 5 Draft from the Twins, skipped right over Double-A and Triple-A to make Detroit’s Opening Day roster following a torrid spring. He went 13 for 40 (.325) with five homers and nearly as many walks (10) as strikeouts (14) in 21 Grapefruit League games. You can’t not put a kid on the roster when he does that, right?

On Sunday, Baddoo played in his first MLB game. And naturally, he socked a home run on the very first pitch he saw as a big leaguer. He took Cleveland right-hander Aaron Civale deep. Please enjoy the bat flip:

Baddoo is the first player to go deep on his first pitch as a big leaguer since Cubs catcher Willson Contreras in 2016. He is the 31st player in history to accomplish the feat, according to MLB.com’s David Adler.

The Tigers have been around since 1901 and Baddoo is the ninth player in franchise history to hit a homer in his first at-bat, according to MLB.com’s Sarah Langs. He joins Hack Miller (1944), Sam Vico (1948), Gates Brown (1963), Bill Rowan (1964), Gene Lamont (1970), Reggie Sanders (1974), Daniel Norris (2015), and Sergio Alcantara (2020). Only Vico and Baddoo did it on the first pitch.

Our R.J. Anderson named Baddoo one of the most surprising players to make an Opening Day roster earlier this week, noting he should “put the ball in play at a high frequency,” and “his above-average footspeed ought to give him a chance to contribute secondary value.”



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