It’s Akil Baddoo’s show, and we’re watching

Detroit Tigers

DETROIT — Most Rule 5 Draft picks don’t do in a season what Akil Baddoo has done in his first week in the big leagues. And as his early work in the Tigers’ series finale Wednesday against the Twins reminded us, his week isn’t over yet.

After becoming the first player in modern Major League history to hit a grand slam, another home run and a walk-off hit in his first three career games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, Baddoo haunted his old club again Wednesday with more traditional Comerica Park work. His RBI triple opened the scoring in the second inning, then he threw out Andrelton Simmons trying for a double in the third.

Baddoo earned his third start in four days after his 10th-inning single Tuesday beat the Twins, who drafted him out of high school in 2016 and developed him in their system before leaving him exposed to the Rule 5 Draft last December. The 22-year-old’s feats have garnered so much attention that Tigers fans chanted his name as he stepped to the plate against Kenta Maeda on Wednesday.

Not surprisingly, Maeda tried to defeat Baddoo’s aggressive approach with changeups. Baddoo fouled off the lone fastball he saw in a five-pitch at-bat, but he adjusted to the offspeed pitch in time to make Maeda pay for leaving a changeup over the plate.

Baddoo’s line drive was softly hit compared to how his last few days have gone, with a 99.7 mph exit velocity, but he couldn’t have placed better if he picked a spot. The ball found the vast open territory in right-center field and rolled towards the out-of-town scoreboard as Baddoo sped around second and Jonathan Schoop strolled home.

Baddoo was doubled off when Maeda snagged Victor Reyes’ line drive back up the middle, but Baddoo got his revenge in the field when Simmons tested his arm on a line drive down the left-field line.

Baddoo’s throw was right on target for Schoop to make the tag as Simmons slid into second, erasing what would have been a leadoff baserunner for the Twins with the top of the order coming up against Tigers starter Matthew Boyd.

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