It’s been a little while now since the Detroit Tigers really had a bona fide All-Star. The 2021 season is certainly giving some optimism that the wait won’t be too much longer, but in the meantime, we do get a representative, and there are actually quite a few choices that make sense. Of course, that also means no one has made a slam dunk case for themselves to date.
Jonathan Schoop has been red hot in June, hitting 10 home runs on the month, and while he hasn’t provided any defensive value, he does hold a 115 wRC+, marking him as the Tigers biggest force offensively. However, Akil Baddoo actually leads the team in fWAR, and after quieting from his hot start, refused to go away, instead settling in as a consistent force for the Tigers offense. No one is talking about his Rule 5 status any longer.
There are some other solid options. Jose Cisnero and Gregory Soto have been excellent out of the bullpen. Meanwhile Casey Mize probably has the most air beneath him after pitching really good baseball in May and June. That former first overall pick status is always there to boost you, or to make everyone wonder what went wrong, depending.
Who should represent the Tigers in the All-Star game?
Jay Markle: [awaits Adam’s gloating Akil Baddoo response]
Adam Dubbin: Nah, that’s my Rookie of the Year campaign. I think Jonathan Schoop is the obvious choice on a team that doesn’t really have any individual standouts.
Jay: An All-Star bid boosts his rookie of the year resume, does it not?
Adam: He hasn’t seen enough playing time to warrant an All-Star appearance in my mind. Now it would be fun to see Spencer Turnbull get his name called but I don’t want him throwing during the AS weekend.
Brady McAtamney: I’m going to go with the guy who leads the team in rWAR and second in fWAR — Casey Mize. Maybe I’m just being hopeful because of how insanely cool it would be for our promising young stud to make an All-Star game in his first full season, but I do think he’s done enough to at least earn consideration.
He’s sixth in the American League in rWAR among pitchers and not too far from the top 10 among all AL players! Though FG doesn’t like him NEARLY as much—FIP doesn’t appreciate the lack of strikeouts—he’s still just 0.1 points behind Schoop. He’s got 10 quality starts, tied for fourth most among AL starters and 12th most in the major leagues. He’s also 13th in WHIP and 14th in ERA among qualified AL starters.
I understand Schoop has a heck of a case here too, but I think it’ll really depend on which position they classify him at. He’d probably be the third option at second base where he was listed on the ballot, but fourth at first base which is where he’s played most of his games this year. Casey has been really, really solid and has a legitimate case based off his numbers, is arguably the best player on the team anyway and it would be way better for the team if one of their young core pieces to get the nod.
Rob Rogacki: It will probably be Mize because the people actually making these decisions aren’t looking at WAR.
Zane Harding: Mize is the obvious pick, but I’ll play devil’s advocate for Tarik Skubal. Skubal has struck out 32.5% of all batters faced and has allowed 3 ER or fewer in all but one of his last 10 starts/dating back to the start of May. He is walking nearly 10 percent of batters, but hasn’t walked more than three in any of those past 10 starts. His 3.69 FIP over that span tops Mize’s 4.25 FIP, although for the All-Star Game specifically, I’ll take Mize’s 3.46 ERA on the season and 2.77 ERA since the start of May.
As Adam stated, too, Jonathan Schoop is the obvious choice with our overall lack of standouts, especially if we’re going to look at who has had the best individual stretch this season.
Cameron Kaiser: I’m going to advocate for Akil Baddoo to be an All-Star. Baddoo leads the team’s hitters in fWAR, and while the people who select the players don’t give a rat’s behind about fWAR, they do care about compelling stories. Baddoo has undoubtedly been the best story for the Tigers this year.
Having never played above High-A ball, the Tigers took a huge swing by plucking him from Minnesota in the Rule-5 draft. After an outstanding spring training, Baddoo made a name for himself in the first week of the season by hitting the first pitch he saw for a home run and then adding another home run and a walk-off single to his résumé. He struggled over the next few weeks, but has since rebounded really well, maintaining a superb OBP the entire way.
He still struggles against left handed pitchers—although he’s barely faced any—but his plate discipline is well beyond his years and his overall numbers should put him squarely in the top-5 for American League Rookie of the Year voting right now. Is he having an All-Star season? No, but no one in Detroit is. What he is doing is having a rock solid season while blowing away all reasonable expectations by an astronomical degree. Plus, he’s an absolute joy to watch. All other Tigers considered, what fan doesn’t want to see Akil Baddoo streaking around the bases at the midsummer classic with his batting helmet flying off?
Brady: Akil would be our best chance at making those horrid jerseys (aka polos) look good, that’s for sure.
Jason Law: Jonathan Schoop is a no-brainer for me, but I’m not sure he’s going to get a lot of love outside the Tiger fanbase. Mize and Turnbull will probably get the most attention, and I’d be happy if either of them made it (but like others have said, I’d rather they not pitch). Jose Cisnero is a sentimental choice; he’s having a solid season and just look where his career has taken him over the years. Obviously I’d like to see Akil Baddoo there, too, as his story is no less unusual than Cisnero’s.
Brandon Day: I’m a little partial to Cisnero here actually, though I doubt he gets the call. By fWAR he’s been the 16th best reliever in baseball this year, 10th best in the American League. At his position I’d say he’s stood out more than Schoop or Skubal have. Mize seems like a likely option too.
Still, Baddoo has been worth more than any of them. Yeah he’s playing the strong side of a platoon, but he’s had a big impact on a lot of games and is kind of an amazing story. Despite only having about 200 plate appearances he’s top 30 in fWAR among outfielders, 13th in the American League. I think he’s got enough star power and a great story to make a worthy representative. So I’m voting Akil, but I think Mize and Cisnero have pretty good cases of their own. Schoop was too cold in April and May, though 10 home runs in June has really boosted his candidacy.
Jason: Yeah, Schoop’s late start definitely hurt his numbers.
Ashley MacLennan: Schoop, there it is.
Brady: Was it an oversight to not mention Soto? His story isn’t quite on the same level as Cisnero’s, but he’s been really effective.
Brandon: Probably should be considered, yeah. In both cases, I wonder if the lack of a regular closing role is a factor anymore or not. Anyway, give us Baddoo, imo. Ride the fun narrative, baby. He’s earned it.
John Marlatt: I don’t know if he’s the best choice, but I think there’s at least a case to be made here for Miguel Cabrera. His stats over the course of the first half in total don’t scream All-Star by any means, but after a really slow start he’s been one of the better hitters on the team. In the month of June he’s batting .329 with an .850 OPS. Current stats aside, I think the stronger incentive here is how close he is to history. He’s six home runs away from 500 and 81 hits away from 3,000. One more trip to the All-Star game — likely his last — would be a great way to acknowledge a tremendous career.
Who is your choice to represent the Tigers in the 2021 All-Star Game?
70 votes total