It’s still early incredibly early in the Major League Baseball season. But for this week, Detroit is the property of Tigers rookie Akil Baddoo.
The rookie outfielder owns this town, which is starving for some baseball success after a prolonged downturn in fortunes for the Detroit Tigers.
Detroit is just 3-2 on the young season after a dramatic win Tuesday, but Baddoo is giving fans a reason to dream about a fun summer of baseball at Comerica Park.
Now, Tigers fans bullish on Baddoo’s chances for sustaining success can put their money where their mouth is, thanks to the new Michigan sports betting market.
Akil Baddoo’s start for Tigers the stuff of legends
The 22-year-old has had a debut week to remember in the Olde English D.
Let’s start with Easter Sunday, when Baddoo hit the first pitch of his big-league career for a home run against the Cleveland Indians. His parents were there for the moment, along with his two brothers, whom he pointed to in the stands after crossing home plate.
Proud parent moment! What a special Easter for the Baddoo family, one in which they saw their son, Akil, hit his first Major League home run on the very first pitch. #DetroitRoots pic.twitter.com/gRzdGle98O
— Bally Sports Detroit (@BallySportsDET) April 4, 2021
On Monday, Baddoo added a grand slam in the ninth inning of a blowout loss for two home runs in his first two games.
Then, on Tuesday, he hit a walk-off single in the 10th inning to beat the Minnesota Twins, shoving a victory at the feet of his former organization.
— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) April 6, 2021
Baddoo is stacking up the superlatives this week.
Needed to start a list to keep up with Akil Baddoo accolades. pic.twitter.com/FlIJdsoMLd
— Austin Drake (@austin_drake) April 6, 2021
Rule 5 pickup could be boon for rebuilding Detroit
Baddoo was a Rule 5 pickup from the Twins this offseason, going No. 3 to the Tigers.
That means the Twins left Baddoo unprotected for the draft outside of their 40-man roster. The decision was understandable, as the Twins are one of the favorites to win the American League Central. PointsBet has the Twins at +130 odds there, trailing only the Chicago White Sox (-115).
Meanwhile, Baddoo hadn’t played in a game since May 2019 and had that season end with Tommy John surgery.
It also means the rebuilding Tigers saw enough tools and potential from Baddoo to invest $100,000 in selecting him. Detroit has to keep him on the big-league roster all season, or offer him back to the Twins for $50,000.
The way the first week has gone, it’s looking like a good bet that he’ll be staying in Detroit.
Baddoo’s hit already helped BetMGM Michigan customer to $72k win
Baddoo’s walk-off winner helped spark a 10-team parlay score at BetMGM on Tuesday. The Tigers were +110 moneyline winners in the bet, which turned $84 into $72,286.
The other nine legs were:
- Cardinals +100 at Marlins
- Red Sox +125 vs. Rays
- Brewers -110 at Cubs
- Braves-Nationals over 7.5
- Astros-Angels under 9
- Orioles-Yankees over 8.5
- Pirates-Reds over 9
- Mets-Phillies over 9
- Blue Jays-Rangers over 9.5
But can Baddoo win American League Rookie of the Year?
It’s a great story so far, but the Rookie of the Year is still a long shot.
In fact, the starting pitcher from Tuesday’s game, teammate Casey Mize, still has much better ROY odds at PointsBet.
Mize is at +1000, while the odds-on favorite is Randy Arozarena, an outfielder for the Tampa Bay Rays (+450). He is followed by OF Jarred Kelenic of Seattle (+700). Baddoo is actually tied with Tigers farmhand Matt Manning, who is in the minors, at +4000.
At Fox Bet, Arozarena is at +425, Kellenic is at +750, while Mize is even with Baddoo at +1500, tied for seventh-best odds.
For BetMGM, Arozarena is at +350, Kellenic at +650, and Mize is even with Baddoo at +1500, also in a tie for seventh-best odds.
It’s a long shot, but Baddoo is attempting to make a professional career out of beating the odds.