On Sunday the Los Angeles Angels announced that right fielder Dexter Fowler was officially lost for the season with a torn ACL. Initially, it was thought that Fowler sprained his knee after he fell awkwardly last Friday in a game against the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Angels have to be hoping that Jay can help hold down the fort as they deal with injuries across their outfield. Juan Lagares was placed on the 10-day DL, and Black Knight Justin Upton has been dealing with back stiffness.
He was thrust into action against the Kansas City Royals Tuesday night, going 1-for-4 in a 3-2 loss that dropped the Angels to 7-4.
Even when they have been healthy, Fowler, Lagares, and Upton had been struggling. The trio has combined for a .190 batting average, with only 12 hits in 63 at-bats, and produced just eight runs and six RBI with 19 strikeouts.
With that in mind and Jay’s limitations, the Angels may have to look deeper into their talent pool to keep their offense going.
Angels fans are already clamoring for Jo Adell. Adell filled in last season for Los Angeles but wasn’t ready for the big leagues just yet. His batting average hovered below .200 and more than 44 percent of his at-bats ended in strikeouts.
There were also moments like this, where Adell turned the momentum of games singlehandedly. If Real Deal Akil Baddoo can make the leap from Class A Ball to starting centerfielder for the Detroit Tigers, then Adell (who has a similar skillset) is ready to rock out as well.
In the first game of the @Angels' doubleheader, Jo Adell robbed a HR, hit a HR, and had the #walkoff hit.
This spring, manager Joe Maddon spoke highly of Adell’s development before sending him to AAA for more seasoning.
“I think he’s made a lot of progress actually,” Maddon said. “At the plate, his swing is so much shorter, his strides so much more under control. Because his foot is getting down sooner, the bat’s not moving around and wrapping as much. He looks so much better on defense, he’s been working really hard.”
The Angels haven’t been in a rush to promote Adell, their highest-rated prospect since Mike Trout, but his timetable may be accelerated if the club can’t get some consistent production from its bench.
“He just needs to play baseball,” Maddon said. “He needs nine innings of baseball on a consistent basis. He needs to take all the stuff he’s learned and put it into a game. That’s the next step for him. Because I have a lot of faith in him and I like what he’s doing. He needs to play and doesn’t need to be on anybody’s bench right now.”
Keep an eye out, because Jo Adell could be getting those innings very soon. The Angels have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
After rebranding himself in honor of his late mother, former batting champion Dee Strange-Gordon looks to take advantage of a fresh start with the Brewers. Gordon had one of the unforgettable and touching baseball moments of the decade during one of the game’s most somber moments.
The day after All-Star pitcher and Marlins Ace Jose Fernandez tragically passed, Strange-Gordon led off the game by stepping into the right side of the batter’s box as Fernandez did and took a pitch.
As if scripted for a movie directed by Malcolm D. Lee, Strange-Gordon then switched to his familiar left side and blasted a lead-off home run, sending his teammates and city into a frenzy. He crossed the plate and cried inconsolably as the Marlins would go on to win 7-3.
Fast forward to 2021, Strange-Gordon is back in the senior circuit after signing a minor league deal with Milwaukee.
In his 10th season, the 33-year-old saw success during his time in spring training with the Cincinnati Reds. He hit .281 with 4 RBIs and 4 steals but was released from the team on March 26.
Strange Gordon comes from a baseball family. His father Thomas “Flash” Gordon played for eight teams in his 21-year MLB career.
He played in the 2010 Futures Game and was rated as one of the top prospects in the Twins’ organization, but has dealt with a few injury bumps, including a bout with Covid-19 that left him hospitalized last year.
Despite being the son of a famous pitcher, Dee’s journey has not been without its trauma. His mom and dad didn’t stay together. He then lost his mother at the age of six when she was killed by her boyfriend. It was not the first time his mother had been a victim of domestic violence. Just days prior to her death, that same boyfriend was being abusive and Dee saved her by hitting him over the head with a dumbbell.
This season he decided to honor her by re-using his legal surname. He had gone by the name for most of his life but at one point decided to simplify his last name after it was once mispronounced by an announcer during a rookie ball game.
Strange-Gordon made the 2014 and 2015 All-Star games stealing 122 bases during that span. He won both a Silver Slugger and Gold Glove Award in 2015 as a second baseman for the Miami Marlins. His legs were a weapon for any team that secured his services.
Just when it seemed like everything was perfect, Dee was suspended for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2016 and missed 80 games. He hit .308 in 2017 and stole 60 bases for the second time in his career.
He became an outfielder after joining a Mariners team that already had Robinson Cano. In three seasons with Seattle, Strange Gordon hit .266 despite having a rough 2020 that saw him hit just .200 in 33 games.
Instead of toiling in the minors, Dee has an opportunity to make himself valuable again. With Kolten Wong expected to land on the injury list and Luis Urias struggling at the plate, it’s possible Dee Strange Gordon will get to make an impact on a very good Brewers team looking to leapfrog into the conversation as baseball’s best team.
The Chicago White Sox have had some great players throughout franchise history, but for some reason, one superstar always flies under the radar. His name is Jermaine Dye and he helped lead the White Sox to the greatest moment in their franchise’s history.
In a city where the Cubs rule, the White Sox won the 2005 World Series with some downright dominant play led by the aforementioned Dye. When I hear folks mention the 2005 White Sox, names like Paul Konerko, AJ Pierzynski and Mark Buehrle are always lauded and with great reason.
But the boss player and most complete package on Ozzie Guillen’s perfectly constructed roster was Dye.
Dye was the World Series MVP during that magical run, but it doesn’t seem like he gets enough credit and appreciation in comparison to some of the other players on that team. Dye wasn’t a subpar player who happened to get hot and turn up in the World Series, as we’ve seen other ballers do in the past.
He was doing big things throughout his entire tenure in Chicago. And never did that show more than in 2005, as his magnificence carried over into the “Hunt For October.”
Dye played five seasons for the White Sox and the Black Knight put up All-Star caliber numbers (.278/.344/.525), hitting with power and flashing a web that would make Spider-Man envious. He hit 164 HRs, had 419 RBIs, and scored 419 runs.
He was easily one of the best players in franchise history and dare I say criminally underrated. During that World Series MVP run, he mashed an unreal .438, but that wasn’t the culmination of his greatness.
In 2006 he was all the way up, posting an incredible year with 44 HRs and 120 RBIs, while finishing 5th in the AL MVP voting. Easily the best of his two All-Star seasons with the ChiSox.
Dye was also incredible with other franchises. In fact, not many players post a (WAR) of 20.3 over a 14-year career. He also made impactful stops in Atlanta, Kansas City, and Oakland.
JD hit 325 career HRs, drove in 1072 runs and scored 984 runs. His career slash-line looks like this: .274/.388/.488.
An absolute BEAST.
Let’s give this unheralded superstar his respect. He had a better career than many guys who are currently sitting in Cooperstown. Don’t get it twisted, he was one of the best players of his era and an MLBbro who did damage Black In The Day.
Mr. Cub is probably the greatest African-American shortstop to grace the MLB diamond. Banks not only set the standard for black shortstops, but he was the first true power-hitting shortstop in MLB. Banks was A-Rod before A-Rod, an icon who changed the game by providing uncanny power at a position previously reserved for slap hitters.
Banks played 19 years for a losing Cubs franchise and was Wrigley Field’s only bright spot for two decades as he clubbed 512 career homers. In his prime from 1957-1960, averaged a .293 batting average, 44 HR, 123 RBI and won back-to-back NL MVP awards in ’58 and ’59.
“El Capitan” is one of the greatest winners MLB has ever seen. He was the Captain and clutch catalyst for a Yankees Dynasty that won five World Series rings between 1996 and 2009 and lived in the postseason.
Jeter, a 14-time All-Star, is the Yankees all-time hits leader with a whopping 3,465. He has a .310 career batting average and has won five Gold Gloves. His stats are Hall of Fame worthy, but don’t begin to tell the story of his marketing and cultural impact as the flawless face of baseball for 20 years. He led the Yankees to the top of the sports landscape by performing at his best in the biggest moments. “Ice in the veins” should be Jeter’s middle name.
He is arguably the greatest postseason hitter of all time, with a career .308 BA, 20 HR, 61 RBI, 18 SB line in 158 postseason games, earning the name “Mr. November.”
3. Barry Larkin
He was a Black Knight in beast mode as the premier National League shortstop of the 1990s. Larkin was a consistent offensive boss and formidable glove for an inconsistent Cincinnati Reds lineup. He was elected to the All-Star team every year from 1988-2000, winning eight Silver Slugger awards during that span.
Larkin, who played every one of his 19 seasons with the Reds, was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2012, with a .295 career average, 2,340 hits, 1,329 runs scored and 379 stolen bases. Larkin scored at least 80 runs in a season seven times, hit 30-plus doubles in six seasons, and stole 30-or-more bases five times. He won his three Gold Glove awards at shortstop en route to a career fielding percentage of .975 and won nine Silver Slugger awards.
Larkin won a World Series in 1990 and then did something that Jeter couldn’t accomplish when he took home NL MVP honors in 1995.
The Wizard is simply the greatest defensive infielder in MLB history and his 43.4 career defensive WAR is the best by any player at the position. Even with the defensive metrics on smash, his .978 fielding percentage and 13 Gold Gloves support his claim to the title of glove king.
Smith is the kind of once-in-a-lifetime talent that you would never understand based on numbers. He was truly a magician with the glove. He was also a huge personality in the game and understood the essence of entertainment as he began each game with his patented backflip.
Smith had artistry, flair, and athletic superiority that put him in another stratosphere. His fielding was so good that people often dogged him for his hitting, which is not shabby at all. Smith had a .262 career average and 2,460 hits. He’s also among the greatest base stealers of all-time with 580 career swipes.
“J-Roll” is one of the most offensively prolific shortstops the game has ever seen. He has 2,455 hits, which includes 511 doubles (53rd all-time), 115 triples, and 231 home runs. He ranks 103rd in career total bases and 83rd in extra-base hits. He’s also stolen 470 bases, good for 46th in MLB history. His 1,421 runs are good for 86th and 936 RBI from pretty much always being in a table-setting position is pretty solid as well.
He makes the all-time Top 20 in almost every offensive statistic for a shortstop and was the centerpiece of a Phillies team that won two NL pennants and a World Series in 2008. He has four Gold Gloves and four seasons of at least 10 Defensive Runs Saved.
J-Roll was a true soul patroller. His 2007 NL MVP award was the stamp that at some point he was the best at his position. Standing a diminutive 5-foot-7, 175-pounds, Rollins defied the odds and continues to be a living example of skills over scales when it comes to the sport of baseball.
Honorable Mention: Maury Wills
Wills didn’t get his Hall of Fame props from the writers, but he was an MLB pioneer and one of the fastest players in history.
Wills was finally nominated by the Golden Era committee in 2014, which could induct managers, umpires, executives and long-retired players for possible election in 2015, but he fell three votes short.
The barn-burner made a living off of his superior wheels as he stole 586 bases in his career, good for 20th all time.
The lack of respect for his career is indicative of the lost appreciation in the modern game for the stolen base, which was a staple of black excellence in baseball ever since No. 42 broke the color barrier in ’47. In 1960, Wills won the first of six straight National League stolen base crowns.
19-year old Mets phenom Dwight “Doc” Gooden made his MLB debut 37 years ago today.
The phenomenon that quickly captivated the baseball world and earned the name “Dr.K,” collected his first of 194 career wins in a 3-2 win over the Houston Astros.
This start almost didn’t happen as Gooden made the 3-mile walk from the hotel to the Astrodome ahead of his team, but couldn’t get in the stadium, as no one could vouch for his identity.
So Gooden climbed an 8-foot fence to get in and was seen by a security guard, who thought he was an intruder.
Nothing came of it as team trainer Steve Garland was already at the ballpark and eventually vouched for him. Gooden pointed to the situation as the perfect encapsulation of his nerves that night.
The Black Ace would go on to win NL Rookie of The Year with a 17-9 record, while posting a 2.60 ERA, with 278 strikeouts in 218 innings pitched.
Shea Stadium, to this day, has never recaptured the electricity that was commonplace any time Gooden would throw that heat or his infamous curveball know as “Lord Charles.”
The K-corner was steady popping back then.
So it’s safe to say nerves didn’t faze this “Black Knight” after all. In fact, he quickly became King of New York, and the next season he went 24-4 and won his first and only Cy Young award. Doc went 49 innings without giving up an earned run in one historic stretch in ‘85
There’s a growing generation of baseball fans who have no idea just how great Gooden was. To this day, we haven’t experienced another Black pitcher as dominant, awe-inspiring or transcending as Dr. K.