Cedric Mullins is about to put the cherry on top for one of the greatest seasons ever for a Baltimore Oriole. He is now one home run away from joining the 30/30 Club and may have pulled off the robbery of the year this week.
For that he takes the top spot on Week 24 of our #High/Five List.
1. Cedric Mullins
I think we should start this #High/Five List with what may be the catch of the 2021 season.
Cedric Mullins got HOPS! And he showed them off by taking this home run away from Gary Sanchez last week.
What Cedric Mullins has accomplished this season is a testament to the work he put in to turn his career around over the off-season. After stealing two bases on Saturday against the Red Sox he officially reached 30 stolen bases on the year, which is good for second in the American League.
Now, he is just one swing away from being the first member of the Baltimore Orioles to hit 30 homers and steal 30 bases in a season. A feat that Adam Jones, Don Baylor and Reggie Jackson could not even reach.
The first time All-Star is sure to steal some MVP votes this season, and not even those can do him justice. He’ll look to join the 30/30 Club this weekend in front of the Baltimore Faithful during their series against the Texas Rangers.
2. Andrew McCutchen
Andrew McCutchen is coming alive as the Phillies attempt to chase down a playoff spot entering the final week of the season. Wednesday night his two-out two-run home run in the bottom of the 6th inning propelled the Phillies to a 4-3 win.
Over his last seven games McCutchen has a .259 batting average, five RBI and scored seven runs, but it’s something he did without even taking a swing that may have been his greatest play this week.
On Sunday Cutch wore a “Fair Ball” wristband during the game. The wristbands were worn by some Phillies and Mets minor leaguers for a protest towards minor league payment wages.
The maturation of McCutchen from his electric rookie season, to Most Valuable Player award winner to now veteran and leader for all of baseball is one of the great aspects of his illustrious career. The journey has been plentiful.
3. JP Crawford
J.P. Crawford has his Mariners fighting to end the longest postseason drought in baseball, all while making his case at back-to-back Gold Gloves.
However he has become much more than just his glove. In addition to his leadership, since being moved into the leadoff spot, Crawford has been one of the better hitters in baseball posting a .267 batting average, nine home runs and 50 RBI.
Entering Thursday the Mariners are just two and a half games behind the Yankees for the final wild card spot. They control their own destiny with a series against both their divisional rivals the Angels and Athletics to end the season.
4. Marcus Semien
Marcus Semien has a chance at history as he is just two home runs away from tying the record for most home runs in a season by a second baseman in Major League history.
If it wasn’t for Semien’s teammate closing in on a Triple Crown, and Ohtani’s performance as a two-way star, Semien would be the clear cut favorite for the American League’s Most Valuable Player award.
His 6.7 WAR is fourth in MLB and he has added 41 home runs, 97 RBI and 15 stolen bases.
Entering Thursday his Blue Jays are just a half game out for the final wild card spot.
5. Aaron Judge
This season Aaron Judge has shown he is a top 10 player in the Majors, but that won’t mean anything if he can’t carry his Yankees to the playoffs.
Lamonte Wade Jr.’s late game heroics have been the stuff of legends. The #MLBbro’s 9th-inning magic has the San Francisco Giants hanging onto first place, ahead of the Dodgers who are on their heels in the NL West with roughly 10 games to go.
Per MLB.com, Los Angeles Angels outfielder Justin Upton will miss the rest of the season due to a right lumbar strain. The diagnosis sent Upton to the 10-day Injury list at the beginning of the month, but the injury has not progressed enough for the veteran to return.
When the team initially placed him on the IL earlier this month, Angels manager Joe Madden said he did not anticipate Upton returning during the last leg of the season as the team was already out of playoff contention.
Madden told OCRegister.com, “I like the guy a lot. He has leadership qualities among the group. He really does, and I would like to believe that there is more of what we saw when he was really hot. He carried us for about a month.”
Upton rode the wave of his 2020 finale at the start of the year as he hit .320 with an on-base plus slug of 1.020 throughout a 25-game span.
The numbers spike came at the hands of Madden shuffling the lineup to have Upton bat leadoff from early April to late May.
This was around the time his back discomfort started taking shape, which led to his extended stint on the IL.
Numerous injuries caused the 34-year-old to come up short for the third consecutive season for the Angels; Two of which were due to back injuries, as mentioned earlier.
He finished the year averaging .211 with an on-base plus slugging percentage of .705, 41 RBI, and 17 home runs in 89 games.
Although he finished the pandemic shortened season on fire, J-Up struggled so much in the earlier parts of the season that his performance relegated him to pine; And the 2019 season resembled 2021 as he missed most of the year due to a plethora of injuries.
Upton is a career .262 hitter throughout numerous stops around the league with the Arizona Diamondback, Atlanta Braves, San Diego Padres, Detroit Tigers, and Angels with 1,000 RBI and 324 homers in 1,828 games.
With high praise from his manager to the organization’s respect and being a leader for his peers, Upton will be roaming the grass in the city of angels if he has the willpower to overcome the injury kryptonite.
But if this is the end of an illustrious career, well, let’s say it’s been a heck of a ride.
Gose came in during the second game of a doubleheader against the Kansas City Royals and pitched 1⅔ innings, allowing one run, one hit with one walk and one strikeout.
But the most impressive part about his performance was the velocity on his fastball.
He threw 39 total pitches during his outing and seven of those pitches hit triple digits.
“That was pretty special to me,” Gose told espn.com after his performance. “It meant a lot to get the opportunity to go out there again. It’s been a while. I’m excited to be able to have the opportunity.”
Gose also showed that he was not afraid of competing against one of the best hitters in the game.
He struck out Salvador Perez on a 98 mph four-seam fastball. And watching him pitch, you can see that it doesn’t take a lot from Gose to throw that hard.
This brother has a normal pitching delivery, but when that ball comes out of his hand, it gets to you quick when you’re at the plate.
Cleveland’s interim manager DeMarlo Hale was really pleased with Gose’s performance.
“He’s not afraid to compete,” Hale said. “I didn’t even think about that in those terms. When we brought him in, it was a situation we were trying to get multi-innings from him, keep the game close. He did that but the competitor in him, it really doesn’t matter who’s in the box.”
Now the question is, people might want to know where Gose has been after the 2016 season?
Well he’s still been involved in the game. He was a member of the U.S. Olympic team that competed in the Tokyo Olympics this summer.
He pitched four scoreless innings during the Olympics.
After finishing his time with the Detroit Tigers as an outfielder in 2016, Gose made the transition to pitcher after failing to make Detroit’s opening day roster in 2017.
Our MLBbro hit .240 with 57 steals in the majors and in 2015, he stole 23 bases and hit 24 doubles for the Tigers while batting .254 in 140 games.
Gose spent a few seasons in the minor leagues, recently spending time with Cleveland’s Triple-A affiliate, Columbus Clippers.
Now he finds himself back in the league, playing a different position and he’s going to continue to work hard day in and day out.
“You think about his journey, putting in the work over the last few years, he’s got to feel good about himself and what he’s done to get to this point,” Hale said.
Big shoutout to Gose on his first appearance on the mound and we know this won’t be the last time we see him out there
Even though he’s been struggling throughout the season, manager Craig Counsell still believes in the one-time Gold Glove winner.
“He’s in a tough stretch right now, for sure,” Counsell told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “His at-bats have decreased over the last month. He’s struggling right now, but I still think he’s a player that’s going to impact us at some point and impact us in a big game.”
“And we’re going to keep counting on him.”
Now don’t get it twisted, our MLBbro can ball and he’s shown that in prior seasons.
This just happens to be one of those seasons where nothing seems to be going right for him offensively. During the month of September, he has registered only one hit in 13 games.
Throughout the season, Bradley has seen his playing time diminish and a big reason for that is his offensive struggles.
Bradley has yet to find a solution to his problem at the plate and that’s something the Brewers are really focusing on.
“I think what makes it more puzzling is he’s had so much more success,” Counsell said. “When players are in slumps, we’re always looking for answers and it always feels like we can’t find the answers. We haven’t been able to solve it yet.”
And Counsell is right, Bradley has had more success in previous seasons.
Last season with the Boston Red Sox, he finished with a .283 batting average with seven home runs and 22 RBI through 55 games.
Going back to 2016 when he was named an All-Star, he finished that season with a .267 batting average with 26 home runs and 87 RBI.
Since that 2016 season, Bradley’s numbers have dropped but he’s still been a dependable player.
His glove has been a big reason why he’s still seen some action in games, despite his struggles at the plate.
There’s a reason why he has a Gold Glove award under his belt. This brother can flat out go get it in the outfield.
At 31, Bradley can still put those legs to good use, even if he’s struggling at the plate.
Having Bradley in the outfield is very beneficial and he will most likely be a key defensive player for the Brewers going into the playoffs.
But the question is, will he be able to have an offensive turnaround at the plate come postseason?
His last postseason appearance came in 2018 with the Boston Red Sox and that was the year he was a part of the World Series-winning team.
He batted .200 during that postseason and was named American League Championship Series MVP.
The Brewers will find a way to use Bradley come playoff time and he’ll have a chance to show the world that he can still swing it, especially in the clutch.
McKenzie recently spent 10 days on the disabled list with right shoulder fatigue, which was a little concerning after the lanky magician of the cowhide stint seemed lengthy.
Still, miraculously, time spent was minimal as he is an elite superstar on the horizon, and the numbers speak for itself.
During the recent streak of dominance, he collected 19 strikeouts in 15 total innings while only giving up three hits and one run.
But everything wasn’t all sunshine and roses for McKenzie earlier in the season. The 24-year-old made numerous trips to Cleveland’s Triple-A affiliate for mechanical reasons. Still, those minor setbacks made for significant comebacks, and from the looks of it, a peripeteiais long gone.
“That was pretty much the sole purpose of me going down there (Triple-A), to figure out my control and figure out how to attack the strike zone.” He continued, “The past month in a half, past two months, has just been a culmination of all the work that was put in.”
Guardians manager DeMarlo Hale added on the situation, “When he needs to throw a strike, he’s been able to put multiple pitches that he has in the strike zone.”
McKenzie deserves all props received thus far, showing why he no longer belongs in the minors. He is holding up to his end of the bargain, and the numbers indicate so as well.
In 22 games played, “sticks” has an earned run average of 4.28 with a WHIP of .1.06. He is holding batters to a .171 average with 127 strikeouts under his belt.
After an up & down season, he proves the Guardians made the right choice by selecting him 42nd overall selection in the first round of the 2015 amateur draft, where he signed a 2.3-million-dollar deal.
At this rate, by season’s end, financial stability should be amassed.
Look for McKenzie to fan the flames on September 20th as he takes the mound against the Kansas City Royals in game two of a home doubleheader at Progressive Field. First pitch is scheduled for 8:10 p.m