As we creep closer to the MLB Trade Deadline talks around the sport have been quiet as around 80% of teams are in contention for a playoff spot. However, here are a few MLBbros flying under the radar that could be moved and make an impact in the postseason race.
1. Michael A. Taylor
Michael A. Taylor made one of this season’s top plays when he robbed a home run against the Cardinals back in May.
That was the beginning of his campaign to earn the first Gold Glove award of his career, and he has continued to build on that with four outfield assists and a 0.9 defensive WAR which ranks fourth among American League center fielders.
The Philadelphia Phillies and Texas Rangers are two teams that should be in on Taylor.
Taylor, who is batting .271 with 23 RBI and five home runs, fills a major whole for a Phillies team that has gone years without having a solid outfield backing up an always suspect bullpen.
They signed two home run hitting sluggers over the offseason, which helps them get off fireworks but not so much when it comes to plays needing to be made with the game on the line in a tough National East division where every game will matter at the end.
Taylor knows what it takes to get the job during “Money Time” in the fall. He won the 2019 World Series with the Washington Nationals and hit a home run in his first ever World Series at-bat. Having Taylor covering ground in Arlington would instantly make the Rangers one of the best defensive outfield groups, especially when it comes to throwing the baseball in the Majors.
2. Jo Adell
The relationship between Jo Adell and the Angels needs to end so Adell can become his best self.
Before the season the organization made it known they wanted to see Jo Adell get a full year of time in the Majors, but that hasn’t been the case with him already being sent to Triple-A twice, including the last time on June 11th when he was 6-for-12 with two doubles, two walks and two runs driven in the four games before his demotion.
He has since been on fire while in Salt Lake, including hitting a homer on the Fourth of July to cap off a strong weekend at the plate.
The Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Mariners and San Francisco Giants should each make a push for Adell.
The Angels are seven games out of the final Wild Card spot so it is not clear whether they will be buyers or sellers. If they do not see a future with Adell, they could try to sell him off while playing some of his best baseball in order to get his greatest value.
The O’s are one of the most fun young teams in baseball and even with their newly raised left field wall I think the situation could bring a spark to Adell while in a lineup where the rest of the guys are still wanting to find themselves.
Both the Mariners and Giants have underperformed this season particularly in their outfields and from the right side of the plate. The Giants, who have found success using the platoon system the past few seasons, would be a perfect fit.
3. Mycal Givens
Bullpens are where baseball games are ultimately won and lost so whenever a solid reliever is on the market, EVERY team in the Majors should make a call.
Mycal Givens of the Chicago Cubs has not given up a run in his last seven games. Over that span he has 10 strikeouts in nine innings and only issued two walks.
His record on the season sits at an unblemished 4-0 with a 3.34 ERA. The fact that this MLBbro’s Cubs are 10 games behind in the National Central and looking to rebuild is no fault of this rising star. Givens could find himself pitching in crucial innings come September and July.
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!
The 2022 MLB All Star Game is almost here, which means it’s time for MLBbro.com to give you an All Star team of our own.
Bros like Aaron Judge and Mookie Betts are a lock for the MLBbro.com All Star roster, much like any other Black player who made it through to the final phase of voting. The remainder of the roster will be filled with the best bros in the game.
Let’s get to it.
Outfielder – Aaron Judge, New York Yankees
The only bro with a guaranteed nod, Judge has made the Yankees regret not locking him up long term since the opening pitch this season. Judge is currently leading the bigs with 29 home runs and the Yankees are running away with the AL East.
Outfielder – Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers
Mookie has bounced back in a major way for the Dodgers, and even a quick trip to the IR couldn’t stop him for nearly securing an automatic bid to the summer classic. Betts will certainly be front and center in Los Angeles, but we’ll take this bro in any setting.
Outfielder – George Springer, Toronto Blue Jays
Tim Anderson may be the best leadoff man in the game, but George Springer has the most pop. With 50 career leadoff homers and playing high end centerfield, OG George brings a lot to any ball club, and would be a killer in this lineup.
1st Base – Josh Bell, Washington Nationals
Josh has been on fire all season, slashing .318/.399/.514, but he has gone nuclear in his last seven games. Josh is hitting .423 with a .500 on base percentage for the ball club representing the nation’s capital. Bell could be an intriguing name to look at before the trade deadline.
2nd Base – Jazz Chisholm Jr., Miami Marlins
The swaggiest player in the game, Jazz belongs in LA for every All-Star festivity. Jazz has turned it on as of late with a starting All Star spot in the balance, slashing .400/.520/.700 over his last seven games. Jazz has hit 14 bombs and stolen 12 bases so far this season, so 20/20 looks more than achievable.
Shortstop – Tim Anderson, Chicago White Sox
Arguably the best leadoff man in baseball, Anderson is still in the running for the spot of starting SS for the American League. He’s cooled down lately, but Anderson is slashing .333/.372/.432 on the season, and is looking to help the Sox repeat as AL central champs.
3rd Base – Ke’Bryan Hayes, Pittsburgh Pirates
Hayes remains a key building block for the forever rebuilding Pirates. If the Pirates look to return to the glory days where names like Willie Stargell, Al Oliver and fellow third baseman Dave Cash were putting in work, Hayes will be key.
Catcher – Unknown
Another year without a prominent black catcher on any roster, so we have to ask the question again–when will we see another great Black catcher?
Pitcher – Taijuan Walker, New York Mets
Walker regressed toward the end of 2021, but has bounced back to become a steady hand for the Mets. Walker swapped out his sinker for his split finger and the opposition has suffered because of it. Opponents are hitting .151 against his split finger, which he has thrown 30 percent of the time this season.
Pitcher – Triston McKenzie, Cleveland Guardians
Triston has continued to come into his own this season, and the Guardians look to have a future ace on their hands. McKenzie is currently rocking a .98 WHIP and opposing hitters are hitting .200 against his fastball and .113 against his curve.
Michael Harris II gave us the blueprint on why he will be one of baseball’s best outfielders for years to come as he won the National League Rookie of the Month award in his first full month as a Big Leaguer.
Michael Harris II is currently the youngest player in Major League Baseball but showed he brings a grown man’s game to the ballpark over the first month of his career.
The Braves’ top prospect entering the 2022 season won the National League Rookie of the Month award for his play during the month of June, posting a .347 average with four home runs, 16 RBI, four steals, seven doubles, two triples and a slugging percentage of .574.
“I feel like as soon as he came up here, he kind of changed the whole complexion of our team,” said Braves pitcher Kyle Wright on Harris’ impact on last season’s World Series Champions.
His .327 average was the highest through a player’s first 31 games by a Braves hitter since 2011, he was the first rookie to homer in back-to-back games for the team since 2019 and his eight-game hitting streak was the longest for a Braves rookie since 2018.
I know teams are developing scouting reports on Harris II with each passing day, but if he can sustain his level of play through this season the Braves will essentially gain another All-Star in what is already one of the most stacked lineups in the Majors.
This season Harris is batting .308 with 18 RBI, 21 runs, four home runs, four steals and an .841 OPS.
He and his Braves are set for a four-game series to start their week beginning with a Fourth of July matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals.
There is no question that if MLBbros Mookie Betts (Los Angeles Dodgers) and Aaron Judge (New York Yankees) weren’t on iconic teams in huge markets, Byron Buxton would be on the short list of being the most popular player in baseball. Even though he plays for a small market team in the Minnesota Twins, he is still considered one of the most dynamic players in the sport.
Our MLBbro possesses the rare quality of being a dominant two-way player with his combination of power and speed that is illustrated in the field and at the dish. He is box office material that brings fans to the seats. The difference between this year and the past is that fans see his talents on a more consistent basis.
MLBbro.com covered a tense situation where the Twins had plans to use Buxton on a schedule to save his body from knee patella tendonitis while preparing for a postseason run, upsetting the fans. A scenario the franchise had to consider based on the fact that he played more than 92 games once in his career back in 2017.
Now that Minnesota is currently in first place in the AL Central, it’s no real coincidence that part of the reason has been Buxton has been in the lineup for the most of the season with production that has been under the radar with Aaron Judge dominating the headlines.
“I haven’t really thought about that,” Buxton said. “It’s more of the thought process of, you play what you need to play and the numbers are going to be there. Just go out and play ball. I’m not worried about, ‘Can I stay healthy?’ It’s, ‘How can we get deep into the playoffs and get to the World Series?’ Not trying to look too far ahead, but we have that team that can do that, and we’re still getting better.”
Not that Buxton didn’t make adjustments to his approach to expedite the process. He made interesting tweaks with his off the field preparation, batting philosophy and changing his mindset of protecting his body in the smallest details on the field.
With the 100-110 game plan that the franchise has for our MLBbro this season, Buxton does his part in the process to prepare his body for the rigors of the long season as he laid out in detail on MLB Network.
Our MLBbro has taken his game to the next level by detailed preparation and mindset changes. Off the field, he started using a hot tub to prepare his body for the wear and tear of the long baseball season.
He carried that attention to detail to the diamond by cutting out running full speed for potential groundouts or sacrificing his body for spectacular catches. Understanding the importance of staying in the lineup has impressed his teammates.
“There’s hustling, and there’s fake hustle,” Correa said. “A ground ball to the pitcher where he’s just going to flip it to first and you go 4.0 or 4.1 seconds to first, that’s just fake hustle. There’s no need for that.
“For him, the thing I [speak] to most is that I’d rather see a ball hit off the wall for a double than you go on the IL for two months because you crashed into it. Just playing smart. Just knowing how important he is for this lineup and how important he is for this club, he’s been doing a really good job with that. So he gets it. He understands it. He’s close to every day now, as the DH or center field which is what we need from him.”
At the plate, our MLBbro has changed his batting style to be more of a line drive hitter as opposed to trying to use the entire field with a “slap the ball around…making contact” philosophy. That change has increased his slugging percentage over his first four years.
This is a very important era not just for Byron Buxton, but the Minnesota Twins as well. This is the first season of the seven year, $100 million extension that was signed off on recently. The risk and reward of keeping Buxton healthy is the litmus test on if the money is well spent leading to a World Series title or becoming one of the biggest “What ifs?” in recent MLB history.
Josh Bell cemented his case for the National League Player of the Month award as well as an All-Star berth with a .583 batting average in the last week of June, giving him the top spot in Week 12 of our #HighFive List.
1. Josh Bell
Despite not getting much love in the All-Star fan votes, Josh Bell was Major League Baseball’s top hitter for the month of June. He finished first in on base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS while finishing second in average and third in WAR.
Bell’s .319 batting average is the highest for any switch hitter in the Majors and is tops among MLBbros and good for eighth in all of baseball entering Friday.
Last weekend Bell made a statement during his return to his hometown of Dallas, Texas where he attended Jesuit high school.
Friday, he went 3-for-4 with a triple, double, RBI and scored the game-winning run late in the eighth inning, finishing the series 7-for-12 with an RBI and three runs scored, missing the series cycle by just a home run.
This weekend Bell and the Nationals welcome the Marlins to D.C. who will be without superstar Jazz Chisholm Jr. after he was placed on the Injured List with a lower back strain.
2. Devin Williams
“The Airbender” is pitching on a level he has never reached before as he has gone 20 innings without allowing a run to go along with 30 strikeouts, six walks and just five hits.
Williams, who won the National League Rookie of the Year award in 2020 has been a major part of a Brewers bullpen that is one of the top groups in the Majors, and this season it looks like he will be a lock for his first career All-Star Game.
This season Williams has a 2-0 record with a 2.12 ERA and 49 K’s.
Even though his offense got off to a slow start, the 2021 American League All-Star starting center fielder has yet to lose a step while patrolling the outfield5.
5. Josh Naylor
Josh Naylor added to his folklore in Cleveland with the second walk-off home run of the season to lift his Guardians over the Twins.
Naylor has been the juice guy for the Guardians this year as his head banging celebration sent Proggessive Field into a frenzy after another comeback victory against the team they are attempting to track down in the American League Central.