Rob Parker revisits the career of hitting machine Bill Madlock who played 15 MLB seasons and won four batting titles — two with the Cubs and two with the Pirates. He’s not talked about nearly enough when mentioning the greatest hitting technicians of all time.
We are dancing into September, the final month of the regular season and the official beginning of the race for pennants and playoff spots.
It is also the final chance for players to make their cases for MVP considerations, and Yankees All-Star Aaron Judge has put his name atop the ballot with his play and the team’s current hot streak.
For that, he takes the top spot on Week 21 of our #HighFive List.
1. Aaron Judge
We have been saying it all year, and it becomes clearer and clearer with each passing day; Aaron Judge should have his name in every conversation when discussing who should win the American League MVP award.
Even though Judge was named as a starter for the American League All-Star team, he still has gone underappreciated and undervalued on talk shows and other media outlets.
The numbers for Judge over his last 26 games have put the rest of the Majors on notice, as he continues to prove he is a top 10 player in the game. He is slashing .368/.456/.684 with six doubles, eight home runs, 28 RBI and four steals
The Yankees now claim a two-game lead for the top wild card spot and will look to extend it against Cedric Mullins and the Baltimore Orioles.
2. Devin Williams
Last year’s National League Rookie of the Year Devin Williams got off to a slow start to begin his sophomore campaign, but lately he has shown he is one of the top relief pitchers in the game.
Tim Anderson had a lot to say this week after being left off of the American League All-Star roster.
But instead of words, the White Sox shortstop used his bat to campaign for why he should be in Denver.
And Anderson’s bat spoke volumes. He batted over .430 this week, including going 4-for-4 in Wednesday’s game against Minnesota.
For that, he claims the top spot for Week 14 on our #HighFive list.
T.A. is one of the anointed faces of the game of baseball, and the sport will be missing out on something special by not having the R.B.I. Baseball cover boy at this year’s All-Star game.
He has the second-highest batting average for all American League shortstops at .307 and has added 29 RBI, 14 steals and a .768 OPS on a first-place White Sox team that has been riddled with injuries since spring training.
Over his last seven games, he has a .433 batting average with seven runs and a .485 OBP. Anderson also has recorded multiple hits in three of his last four games and is riding a nine-game hitting streak.
He’s reached base safely in his last eight plate appearances, including three walks, four singles, and a double.
Even legendary Hall of Famer Frank Robinson had a lot to say about Anderson missing out on the 2021 All-Star game. His batting average is currently the ninth highest in all of baseball and hopefully, he will use his snubbing as fuel to the fire during his quest for a second batting championship.
Frank Thomas fighting for Tim Anderson's life out here
We have pleaded his case this entire season, and last Sunday we finally got what we wanted; Mullins is a Major League All-Star.
The 5-foot-8, multi-faceted phenom started celebrating his achievement mid-game during a matchup against the Los Angeles Angels Sunday by hitting a game-tying, pinch-hit single then following that with a go-ahead home run.
This week, Mullins hit three home runs while batting .321 with six RBI, five runs and a stolen base. He is leading all American League outfielders in hits, total bases, OPS, and his 3.9 WAR is the highest for all outfielders and sixth-highest in the Majors.
Mets’ outfielder Dominic Smith is making his first appearance on our #HighFive list this season. His year has been up and down, but lately, he has become one of the most consistent players in New York’s lineup.
Smith had the first two-homer game of his career last Thursday against the Braves. Then followed that with a home run off Yankees ace Gerrit Cole a few games later.
Dominic Smith stays hot with a classic Yankee Stadium homer off Gerrit Cole to the short porch in right.
That's Smith's third homer in his last 13 innings.
This weekend, his Mets welcome MLBBro Ke’Bryan Hayes and the Pittsburgh Pirates to CitiField for a four-game series.
4. Aaron Judge
This season for the Yankees has been disappointing, but the Tower of Power Aaron Judge has responded to the bright lights and been one of the best players in baseball this entire season.
Last Thursday night, he was named an All-Star starter for the American League outfield and also became just the fifth Yankee ever to hit 20 home runs before the All-Star break in three straight seasons.
Judge is one of baseball’s top sluggers so it is a little disappointing he is not participating in one of the most anticipated Home Run Derby’s in recent memory, but he needs his rest as a big second half by him is a must if the Yankees, who currently sit just two games above .500, want to get back into contention for the American League East pennant.
This season has been a resurgence for Andrew McCutchen and after what he’s done to Chicago Cubs’ staff during this series, he may want to get a permanent residency in their batter’s box and on our #HighFive list.