After a quarter century in the managerial game and several close calls, Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker finally won that elusive World Series. The MLBbro manager came close with the San Francisco Giants in 2002 and fell short with the Astros in 2021. The third time was a charm for Baker, who is among an exclusive group of skippers to have 2,000 managerial career wins. Baker has managed 3,884 regular-season games, 10th-most all-time.
Dusty won his first title as a Los Angeles Dodgers player back in 1981. With his 2022 title, Baker now has two titles spanning 41 years from 1981 to 2022. No individual in baseball history had ever had his title-winning ways reach across that many decades.
Dave Roberts’ Dodgers didn’t win another World Series, but the MLBbro manager had many accomplishments, from leading the Los Angeles Dodgers to a franchise-record 111 wins (becoming just the fifth team in AL/NL history to win that many games in one season) to moving up the postseason all-time wins list. Roberts is a steady skipper who has won no less than 91 games in six full seasons at the helm. The one season he did, was a COVID-shortened season in which he had a .717 winning percentage and won the whole ball of wax.
It won’t take long for MLBbro free agent Michael Brantley to sign with a team. At the seasoned age of 35, Brantley can still swing it with the best of them and his contact-hitting approach makes him a valuable bat for any contending team.
Brantley won a well-deserved World Series ring with the Houston Astros in his final season with the team, despite missing the playoffs after getting surgery to repair a torn labrum. Brantley was limited to 64 games. His batting average dipped to .288, his first sub-.300 batting average in four seasons.
Since he arrived in Houston in 2019, Brantley AKA “the Professional” has had a .306 batting average and made two All-Star games, while maintaining a positive influence on the locker room – even when he wasn’t able to take the field. His leadership was credited during Dusty Baker’s boys’ World Series run.
At this stage in his career Brantley won’t be playing 150 games in any team’s outfield, but he can still deliver with the wood. At least that’s what his stats say as the only MLBbro on the Houston Astros posted a 127 wRC+ in 277 plate appearances last season, with more walks (31) than strikeouts (30). He has put up a wRC+ of 120 or better in each of the last five years, with a .367 on-base percentage during that span.
His veteran presence and class will be missed in the Astros locker room, but there are a bevy of talented squads who have unpolished young talent that could use a professional role model such as Brantley to elevate them to the next level.
MLBbro webmaster extraordinaire Mookie Betts won the Rawlings National League Gold Glove Award in right field for the sixth time in his illustrious career. This is Betts’ second Gold Glove award in his three seasons with the Dodgers, becoming the fourth outfielder in franchise history to win multiple Gold Gloves, joining Willie Davis (3), Raul Mondesi (2) and Matt Kemp (2).
Mookie See, Mookie Do
After an injury-riddled 2021 broke Betts’ streak of consecutive Gold Glove Awards at five, the former MVP returned with an athletic vengeance in 2022. Betts committed just two errors over 1,154 1/3 innings in right field.
Per Baseball Savant, Betts led all NL right fielders with five Outs Above Average. Per FanGraphs, Betts also graded out as the best right fielder, leading the Majors with 15 Defensive Runs Saved.
This accomplishment is par for the course for a player of Mookie’s stature and he’s sure to have a bunch more before he’s done. Betts’ glove is so versatile that he could win a Gold Glove on the infield. He’s already displayed his prowess at second base in 2021, when he was nursing injuries.
Trent Grisham’s Glove Keeps His Butt..Er…Bat On The Field
Trent Grisham has already won his second Gold Glove in four MLB season. His first came in the COVID-shortened 2020 season. The Gold Glove is determined by combining a vote of coaches and managers and metrics developed by the Society for American Baseball Research called the SABR Defensive Index.
As of Aug. 28, the last time the SDI was made public, Grisham ranked second behind Washington’s Victor Robles. Grisham led NL center fielders in outs above average (17) and was second with eight defensive runs saved. The 25-year-old, who batted below the Mendoza line this season, but showed power with 17 homers, has a bright future ahead of him in San Diego. It’s clear that his web work is still ahead of his bat, but Grisham has all the tools and a bit of time to bring it altogether.
J.P. Crawford Robbed Of Third Straight Gold Glove
The American League unfortunately didn’t have any MLBbro Gold Glove winners despite having supreme fielders and worthy candidates such as Michael A Taylor, Byron Buxton, Cedric Mullins and 2020 and 2021 Gold Glove winner JP Crawford. It’s got to be rough on Crawford to win back-to-back Gold Gloves, establish yourself as the premier defensive shortstop in the game and then get your title taken from you by a rookie. In fact, MLB didn’t even make the new jack earn his stripes as Peña becomes the first rookie shortstop in history to win a Gold Glove, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. This selection is even more surprising when you see that Pena had the third most errors in all of baseball. The 25-year-old is good, but we have to stop with the prisoner of the moment hype.
Marcus Semien Jerked On Second Consecutive Gold Glove
An argument can also be made for Marcus Semien at second base. The 2021 AL Gold Glove winner led the AL in assists with 441 this season. Definitely don’t see how anyone in the AL is better than the former shortstop at second base. Winner Brendan Rodgers is definitely a web master and had 10 more double plays turned than Semien, but also had double digit errors (10) good for third-highest among second baseman. Semien had just seven errors in 148 games at second base. He also started 13 games at shortstop, showing his versatility as a fielder.
Myles Straw over 2021 Gold Glove Winner Cedric “CM Storm” Mullins seems like a bit of a stretch as well.
True baseball rears its head in October. If you can’t master the fundamentals of the game, you will get exposed. The pomp and circumstance of home run highlights and one-dimensional displays that overshadow baseball’s multi-faceted culture gives way to the intricate beauty of the sport and the wait…wait..bang that morphs into the pulse of the game as it takes playoff form and reverts back to its authentic self.
Guys who hit 62 homers during a regular season that allows them to feast on subpar pitching and tanking teams, can easily go 1-for-16 as AL MVP favorite Aaron Judge did during Houston’s four-game sweep of the Yankees in the American League Championship Series. He accepted the blame for “not stepping up when the team needed it.”
But one would be silly to assume that he could have carried the Yankees to victory over such a well-balanced and managed team by himself. His fellow MLBbro slugger Giancarlo Stanton was also non-existent.
While on a fast track to 500 career homers, Stanton only managed to muster 6 hits in 32 at bats during these playoffs, including a couple of early Bro bombs. He also failed to impose the kind of wood-waking that could compensate for Judge being in a mini-slump. With no other true threat to at least shake the opposition, the pressure on Judge to produce each and every at-bat has become a recipe for postseason disaster that he experienced for the sixth consecutive season.
This time, the unfortunate culmination to an historic season was another loss to Dusty Baker’s Houston Astros in the American League Championship series. It was a clean 4-0 sweep. The brooms were boomin’ in the Bronx. Another rain delay couldn’t even save the Yankees from Dusty’s destiny.
Judge’s decision to reject the Yankees’ $213.5 million extension through 2029 worked out brilliantly for him. Accepting such a deal would also have tainted the market, which is never good for player contracts. Prior to this season’s outburst, Judge was already a $300M player.
So shafting the initial offer and proving he is probably worth double that price for the right team was genius on his part. It’s showed guts and he will reap the glory.
What Happened ? Who Knows, But Don’t Blame The Bros
You can say the Yankees underachieved. You can blame the front office for not assembling a team that can generate runs without hitting homers. You can blame the superstars for not showing up. You can blame the superior pitching of the Astros bullpen and the hooded baseball savant sitting in the dugout with his black gloves looking like a 73-year-old Kanye West.
Either way, it’s a lesson in the art of baseball. Championships usually come down to how well you execute pitching and defense. On the offensive side, it’s about a team’s ability to play small ball when the big licks just ain’t there.
MLB can never be compartmentalized into a video game, homer derby where the other aspects of the game that makes the sport watchable and exciting is put on the back burner and buried by metrics and numbers that don’t play true when the chips are on the line. You can’t measure the heart of a player. You can’t measure momentum and you definitely can’t compute destiny. Right now, as currently constructed, the Yankees aren’t built to win a World Series.
The Phillies and Astros, however, seem like teams of destiny. Real teams, doing real things who know where they are going. The Yankees seem lost in the woods. But don’t blame the Bros.
Don’t blame it on the alcohol, blame it on the bean balls.
Two MLB bros find themselves a little lighter in the pocket after wild pitching led to a bench and bullpen clearing brawl during the contentious series between the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets last week.
Cardinals’ pitcher Jack Flaherty and Mets pitcher Tijuan Walker were fined undisclosed amounts for their role in the melee that followed several hit batters. You can never knock a guy for taking up for his teammate, but both Walker and Flaherty are vital keys to their team’s success and coming off injuries. I don’t think their respective front offices want them out there mixing it up and risking reinjuring their golden arm. Their bread and butter.
Erratic pitching on both sides sent opposing players to first base with bruised bodies and egos Wednesday afternoon at Busch Stadium.
The Mets became frustrated during Tuesday night’s game after three players were hit by Cardinals pitchers. Things went far left on Wednesday afternoon in St. Louis thanks to wild Cardinals pitching and lingering tension from the incidents that occurred less than 24 hours earlier.
During their hump day matinee’ the Mets trailed the Cardinals 10-5 in the bottom of the 8th inning. Mets pitcher Yoan López, went high and tight with what was supposed to be a brush back pitch that almost made contact with Nolan Arenado’s helmet sending him to the dirt.
After a few choice words things escalated between first base and the mound and it got heated. Arenado was very demonstrative and had to be restrained.
Once they dropped gloves – MLB style – it was on from there. The bullpens and dugouts emptied onto the diamond in St. Louis. But in classic MLB fight card fashion, no real punches were thrown.
The Mets boast the best record in MLB as of Friday (14-6) and have been target practice at the plate for most of the young season. Understandably, the Mets were a little salty since their hitters had been drilled a league-high 18 times coming into the game. Pete Alonso even got beaned in the head on April 27th, which surely sparked all of subsequent bad blood.
They were hit several times in DC during their series with the Washington Nationals and apparently it was time to brush back. Lopez, a rookie, may have been answering the call after J.D. Davis was pelted earlier in the game prompting this retaliation code response.
“I don’t know if I would have thrown at his head but I would have hit him,” said former Mets pitcher and current TV analyst Ron Darling during the game broadcast.
We all know the Mets have a very old school manager in Buck Showalter, who understands the unwritten rules of the game as well as anybody.
This could make for a combative series when the Cardinals hit Queens for a four-game set starting May 16.