The Los Angeles Dodgers are on an epic run to distance themselves from their divisional rivals, the San Diego Padres. Remember about six weeks ago when the Padres had whittled the Dodgers’ NL West lead down to 1.5 games?
Well, the alarm clock sounded, and Los Angeles went on a winning streak that produced 19 wins in 21 contests. Not only have the Dodgers extended their division lead to 11.5 games, but they have pulled within percentage points from having the best record in baseball behind the New York Yankees.
But while All-Star, Mookie Betts deservedly commands the headlines in Dodger Nation…
It is well known in sports that midseason moves that stay under the radar can be the final piece to a championship team. MLBbro.com is starting to believe that Trayce Thompson is that piece if the Dodgers make it to the World Series in late September to early October.
Let’s check the scenario of the Los Angeles Dodgers prior to June 20 when Thompson arrived. The Dodgers were below .500 in a 17-game stretch with a 7-10 record that included losses to the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Cleveland Guardians and a painful sweep by the San Francisco Giants.
What made things worse, Mookie Betts was injured, and AJ Pollock was let go. When the Dodgers acquired our MLBbro from the Detroit Tigers for cash considerations, it was strictly a stopgap move to add outfield depth and considering his brother Klay had just won the NBA championship recently, a little PR marketing wouldn’t hurt either.
But Trayce Thompson has become more than just a fill-in for Mookie Betts or a cheap marketing stunt. Our MLBbro has become a factor that is not only a positive on the field but in the front office where checks are being written for this championship run.
To start, Thompson’s play has been so impressive that the franchise has options to protect their franchise player by allowing him time in the infield to protect his ribs if needed.
Starting with the 25 games that Thompson has played, he has shown he is the two-way player who can be on the postseason roster in a few months. His 0.5 oWAR, 0.3 dWAR, 115 wRC+ with four defensive runs saved shows that he can make plays that can affect games much like his superstar teammates.
His batting slashes of .284/.360/.493 with two homers and 13 RBI is exactly what the Dodgers are looking for with role players giving out maximum production that can be sustained at opportune times.
This production could change how much the Dodgers are willing to spend as we approach the trade deadline on August 2. With Juan Soto on the trading block after turning down a 15-year $440 million offer from the Washington Nationals, the Dodgers are one of the few franchises with the resources to acquire him.
But is it worth it to spend the type of money to get Soto and deplete the young talent coming in the future while Thompson is doing exactly what the franchise needs, and dominating baseball the past month, for a fraction of the price? Now the Dodgers have the option to get a less expensive left-handed hitter who feasts on left-handed pitching and can platoon with Thompson for the rest of the season into the playoffs.
While Trayce’s star is rising, humility has not left his DNA as he credits his coaches for his success via Dodgerblue.com.
“I know I was in Triple-A most of the year, or for a good chunk of the season, but I feel I’ve been in a good spot,” Thompson said… “And honestly, I feel like I have been searching a little bit here. But I feel like my at-bats have been a little consistent, but they can definitely get better.”
“These guys have been awesome working with me. All three hitting coaches, and even a lot of other coaches just talking, just having conversations and obviously all these guys in the locker room. But in my opinion, it can get a lot better. I kind of strive for that every day.”
Our MLBbro and the Los Angeles Dodgers will see how long this relationship lasts particularly on August 3, the day after the trade deadline.
Mookie Betts hit the 200th home run of his career Saturday night to put a cap on a special week for the face of baseball. If he was not there already, there is now no doubt about Mookie Betts’ place on Major League Baseball’s Mount Rushmore of current best players as well as his spot on the front lines for promoting the sport to the next generation of fans.
The six-time All-Star got to participate in the event for the first time in his career as a representative of the Dodgers and was given the title of host for this year’s Mid-Summer Classic held in Los Angeles.
He began by wishing a very special happy 100th birthday to Rachel Robinson, the widow of Jackie Robinson, before driving in the first run of the All-Star Game on a single in his only at-bat.
Thursday, when Betts’ Dodgers took on San Francisco in the most recent chapter of one of baseball’s best rivalries, Mookie made two plays at the end of that game that’s sure to be played on the video board at Dodgers Stadium during his future retirement ceremony.
He then put the final dagger in the backs of the Giants with a game-ending diving catch on the warning track. He also added his seventh stolen base of the season to check off the final box of his five-tool display.
Over the last five plus years, Betts has scored runs around the clip of current Miami Marlins speedster Billy Hamilton, and has a defensive runs saved number close to Tampa Bay Rays Gold Glove center fielder Kevin Kiermaier.
Then came Saturday, where Betts became the newest member of the 200-home run club with a full count two-out homer to get the Dodgers on the board on their way to a 14th win in 15 games.
“All it means is I have a long way to go before catching Barry Bonds,” Betts told reporters postgame.
That adds another accolade to Betts’ already stacked resume.
Just months away from his 30th birthday, Betts has two World Series rings, an MVP, five Gold Gloves and four Silver Slugger awards. In addition to being poised for another postseason run, Betts is one of the few possible candidates for this year’s National League MVP race.
Entering Sunday, he sits just 10 homers shy of his career high 32 which he had during his 2018 MVP season with the Red Sox, and he also has a chance to lead the National League in runs scored this year.
(@mookiebetts) Mookie Betts With Message From The 2022 All-Star Game: “We Need More Black People In The Stadium”#MLBbro content reporter @_teammill gets this interview.
The loudest message Betts sent this week was made without voicing a single word. During batting practice before the All-Star Game, he rocked a shirt that read “We need more Black people at the Stadium.”
Mookie Betts is one of a kind, and Black people should make an effort to see him play in person at least once per season, as well as some of the other MLBbros around the league.
There was nothing more exciting to the Los Angeles Dodgers and their fanbase than to see their superstar, Mookie Betts back in right field and leading off at the plate Sunday in the series finale against the San Diego Padres.
Not even a 4-2 loss should dampen the enthusiasm based on the outstanding performance of our MLBbro in his first outing since being placed on the injured list with a cracked rib on June 19.
Betts was on fire at the plate going 2-3 with two doubles, and two walks that helped him score the only Los Angeles runs in the game. However, there was a point in the game where it was clear that our MLBbro is not close enough to one hundred percent for the Dodgers to stop worrying.
In the fourth inning, Betts attempted to score off a base hit from Freddie Freeman, but was thrown out at home and Mookie did not try to slide. A definite example of Betts and the organization realizing that he will be picking his spots to ease his way back long-term without aggravating the injury.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are already being proactive in their approach by moving Mookie Betts from the outfield to second base. Yes MLBbro fans, you read it right. Mookie Betts is the second baseman for the present time.
He also played there last year for a spell while he was nursing his body back to health during an injury-riddled season.
After missing 15 games after a collision with center fielder Cody Bellinger, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts initiated that Betts could make the move due to the shorter throws that will require less stress on his rib cage.
For the fans who are still in a state of shock, Betts will be going to a familiar position that he can execute much like the video seen above. Despite being known as an outfielder throughout his MLB career, Mookie spent much of his minor league playing second. He has 182 innings of professional experience in the infield position, with 46 of them coming in the 2021 season.
Mookie Betts shared his feelings about the changes with SportsNet LA’s Kirsten Watson…
When MLBbro.com reported that the Dodgers acquired Trayce Thompson to fill in for Betts while he was out, it seemed like a feel-good story considering his brother Klay Thompson had just won the NBA title days prior.
Now the short-term Thompson signing has turned into a reputable option to help Mookie Betts as he continues to get healthy with hitting splits of .292/.320/.458 in Dodgers blue. Plus Thompson decided to put pressure on the coaching staff with a reminder that he is ready for more responsibilities.
Despite the changes going on in the lineups, the 2018 American League MVP is still solidified as one of the top five players in baseball with a stat line of .278 with 41 RBI and a ridiculous OPS of .895.
With numbers like these, the fact that the Los Angeles Dodgers are going to social media asking for votes for this MLBbro is a mere exercise in formality because his roster spot on the All-Star team is already stenciled in!
Phase 1 of the fan voting process of the 2022 MLB All-Star game was just complete, as the MLB released its standings. The two leaders so far: Aaron Judge and Mookie Betts.
Aaron Judge is on a tear for the best team in baseball, the New York Yankees, as the team has earned a 52-19 record so far, and is on pace for 120 wins. During the 58 games that he has played, he is batting .304, with 27 home runs, 53 RBI, with an on-base percentage of .379, and a slugging percentage of .658. He also has a total of 79 hits and 58 runs scored.
His runs scored and home run total are both leading all of baseball, and Judge is on pace for 60 home runs, which would be the first time anyone has reached that milestone since 2001, when both Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds each hit over 60.
Mookie Betts, who just recently went on the injured list with a cracked rib, had one of the best months of May in the history of the Los Angeles Dodgers. During that month, he had 12 home runs, 27 RBI, an on-base percentage of .411, a slugging percentage of .741, and was batting .342 during that span. Overall, in the 60 games he has played, he is batting .273, hitting 17 home runs and 60 RBI, a .349 on-base percentage, and a .535 slugging percentage.
If Betts or Judge can continue to lead the All-Star polls, and either be the voting leader when it is all said and done, it would be the first time a Black player would have the most All-Star votes since Ken Griffey Jr. of the Seattle Mariners did it in 1999.
As Betts locked in his massive deal back in 2020, now it is Judge’s turn to get his. Judge, who had just agreed to a one-year, $19 million contract to avoid arbitration, is set to be a free agent at the end of the 2022 season.
He turned down an seven-year, $213.5 million offer at the beginning of the season from the Yankees, and with the season he is having, it is looking like he made the right decision. He is set for an even bigger payday, whether that is from the Yankees, or from a different team.
As Judge is essentially a lock to start in the Midsummer Classic, Betts will be, too, if he can make it back from the IL in time. After the All-Star break, the next focus is to continue their respective sensational seasons during the second half to try and lock up awards for the season, like MVPs, All-MLB team slots, and most importantly, a championship. Although there are nine players in each lineup, plus the pitchers, neither the Dodgers nor the Yankees will be the last one standing without their stars continuing to do what they are doing.
With the Los Angeles Dodgers suddenly hit with weeks of inconsistent play, their huge lead in the NL West has now evaporated to a virtual tie with the San Diego Padres with only six percentage points keeping the Dodgers at the top of the heap.
It wasn’t an overreaction when the Dodgers fan base really started panicking when franchise player Mookie Betts was recently placed on the injured list courtesy of a broken rib. Not only will Betts be out for the foreseeable future, so will a ton of talent and offense from the right field position.
After figuring out the severity of the injury which at first was believed to be only a bruise, it is being reported that he could be back in a couple of weeks. Betts shared his thoughts on how he was feeling after the diagnosis.
“I feel all right,” Betts said. “Sore, but it is what it is. It’s a cracked rib, so you’re going to feel sore. But after the play, the next inning it started hurting. I thought it was just a little bruise or something. So I tried to play through it and it got worse over the couple of days, and then now we’re sitting here.”
With one of the highest payrolls in baseball, the Los Angeles Dodgers decided to go with Trayce Thompson completing a deal with the Detroit Tigers for cash considerations. Trayce was playing for the Tigers’ Triple-A team in Toledo after signing with the team as a free agent. His eight home runs with seven walks in 25 games impressed the Dodgers to nab him as a short-term option as a right handed hitter for the two weeks Betts is recovering.
But Trayce’s signing could turn out to be a sportswriter’s dream if he can stick with the team for a long postseason run that leads to a championship. The 2020 World Series champs did pick up a MLBbro that is from a family that has a few professional championship trophies.
Most baseball announcers will point out the fact that Trayce’s brother is the newly crowned NBA champ, Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors who was celebrating in a parade probably when the negotiations were going on for our MLBbro.
But did you know that his father, Mychal Thompson was also a two time World Champion playing for the Los Angeles Lakers in the late 1980’s?
Trayce Thompson played in six MLB games for the Padres this season with one hit in 14 plate appearances. Overall in 223 games spanning six seasons in the majors with the Chicago White Sox (2015,2018), Dodgers (2016-17), Oakland A’s (2-18), Chicago Cubs (2021), Padres and Tigers (2022), our MLBbro brings a .205 batting average and .280 on-base percentage into the fold to keep the Dodgers afloat until Betts comes back and possibly going forward as Dave Roberts believes this injury will linger.
“I don’t expect him to be pain free,” Roberts said. “But I think with Mookie, and this is more of a Mookie question, as long as it’s not at a point where it could affect something else, then you have peace of mind to play through it. A guy like Mookie who plays every day, you’re obviously used to playing through some type of discomfort.”
Comments like this could open Trayce Thompson’s chances to stay with the big squad the rest of the season if he plays well. Based on his family roots, the Dodgers got championship pedigree for pennies on the dollar.