Voted by the Detroit chapter of the BBWAA as the Tiger of the year, Jeimer Candelario was clearly the best Detroit Tigers player.
If there is one player who is one of the most debated Detroit Tigers in the last few seasons in reference to if he is good or not, Jeimer Candelario is probably on the top of the list. Admittedly, among our contributors here at Motor City Bengals to start the season the first time back in March, the position battle that was the most stomach-turning to talk about was who was going to be the starting third baseman between him and Dawel Lugo.
His fielding stats at third base has put him among one of the best and he had a good eye, walking around a 10% clip for his career but consistency at the plate seemed to elude Jeimer but in 2020, he seemly put it all together.
Stats back it up
With increases in his barrel rate, (10.3%), exit velocity, (90.2%), xBA (.277) and hard-hit contact (47.1%), and even a small decrease in strikeout rate (23.8%) all while going from third base to first base, Candelario was able to put up numbers consistency all while starting the season 0-for-17.
He was writing an opus in August with a slash line of .356/.389/.622 and an OPS of 1.012. (32-for-90). In September, he was having some back issues towards the end of the month but he did walk more (14 walks in September to just 4 in August). The biggest gains were how he mashed fastballs to the tune of a .356 batting average, up from a .212 in 2019 and a .303 batting average to offspeed pitches with a much-improved exit velocity of 93.9, compared to 87.1 the season before.
It is worth noting like several other Tigers, he did struggle against breaking balls. I am not trying to nitpick but it is worth nothing. Overall, the improvement from the previous few seasons is a good story to discuss. For all the bad baseball we have seen in Detroit recently, Jeimer did provide to be one of the highlights in this strange, Twilight Zone feel to the shortened season.