Detroit Tigers' Jeimer Candelario named 2020 Tiger of the Year

Evan Petzold
Detroit Free Press

Detroit Tigers infielder Jeimer Candelario climbed out of his slump and beyond this past season, and he's been recognized for his improvement.

On Friday, Candelario was announced as the 2020 Tiger of the Year Award winner, as voted on by the Detroit chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. The third baseman (and impromptu first baseman) began the campaign with an 0-for-17 stretch in July before exploding in August and September.

[ How Tigers' Jeimer Candelario went from a concern to carrying the team ]

Candelario, 26, finished with a .297 batting average, 11 doubles, three triples, seven home runs and 29 RBIs in 52 games for the Tigers. They had a 23-35 record in the shortened season, ending in last place in the American League Central.

Candelario's contributions — he was the AL Player of the Week from Sept. 7-13 — were a reason why the Tigers went above .500 in early September. They threatened to make the postseason  before losing 19 of their last 25 games.

[ Jeimer Candelario showed up when the Detroit Tigers needed him most ]

The 2020 season was key to Candelario's career, as well. He only played 94 games in 2019 and was sent back-and-forth between Triple-A Toledo and the big-league club numerous times because of his offensive woes. He had a .203 batting average in 2019, chipping in eight homers and 32 RBIs.

In 2018, Candelario hit just .224, but he provided power with 19 home runs and 54 RBIs.

This year, he improved in all facets.

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Tiger of the Year winners the past decade include Miguel Cabrera (2010, 2012, 2013), Justin Verlander (2011, 2016), Victor Martinez (2014), J.D. Martinez (2015), Justin Upton (2017), Nicholas Castellanos (2018) and Matthew Boyd (2019).

From 2019 season:Matthew Boyd named 2019 Tiger of Year; just 2nd lefty starter to win

The Tigers acquired Candelario, and fellow infielder Isaac Paredes, in a July 2017 trade with the Chicago Cubs. To get Candelario and Paredes, the Tigers gave up catcher Alex Avila and reliever Justin Wilson.

Tigers first baseman Jeimer Candelario celebrates after hitting a two-run home run during the seventh inning of the Tigers' 8-3 win over the Brewers on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020, at Comerica Park.

Evan Petzold is a sports reporting intern at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.