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Candelario voted 2020 Tiger of the Year

@beckjason
November 13, 2020

Jeimer Candelario began the year in a battle for his spot on the Tigers' roster. He ended up becoming Tiger of the Year. The switch-hitting corner infielder was voted to the honor by members of the Detroit chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Candelario becomes the fourth consecutive

Jeimer Candelario began the year in a battle for his spot on the Tigers' roster. He ended up becoming Tiger of the Year. The switch-hitting corner infielder was voted to the honor by members of the Detroit chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Candelario becomes the fourth consecutive first-time winner of the award, which had been dominated largely by Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander from 2008-16. Matthew Boyd won the award last year, Nicholas Castellanos in '18 and Justin Upton in '17.

This year’s award was a well-deserved honor for Candelario’s breakout season after he struggled for much of the past two years. He seemed to be headed for similar troubles, starting this season in an 0-for-17 slump in July, but found his role as a run producer after tweaking his approach at the plate. He stepped into a crucial role as cleanup hitter and first baseman after C.J. Cron sustained a season-ending knee injury. He earned American League Player of the Week honors in early September after homering three times in a four-game stretch, including both ends of a Sept. 10 doubleheader in St. Louis.

Candelario hit .297 in 52 games this season, with seven home runs, 29 RBIs, an .872 OPS and a 135 OPS+. He was on track for a .300 season before an 0-for-6 slump at the end dropped his average. His 1.6 WAR easily led the team, and placed him just outside the top 20 among AL position players, according to Fangraphs.

The Tiger of the Year award has been selected by the Detroit chapter of the BBWAA annually since 1965.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason.