The glovework wasn’t helping his case for more playing time either.
His difficulties on the defense took center stage when he misjudged a ball in the leftfield vs. the New York Yankees, leading to a concussion.
Peace does not come without conflict.
After finishing his collegiate career with the Florida State Seminoles, the 27-year-old slashed .344/.481/.570 with an OPS of 1.051 and 27 long balls. A dominant college career led to Stewart getting selected 25th in the 2015 MLB Draft.
Like most draftees, Stewart stayed committed to his craft as he spent three years in the Minor Leagues.
Stewart struggled to adjust to pro pitching and had down years in 2015 and 2016, before he eventually taking his game to the next level by slashing .279/.389/.448 during Single-A ball.
He continued his climb during the 2017 season as he raked .278/.378/.481 in 457 digs in the dirt. He continued to display serious power potential and set a career-high for the Bowie Baysox with 21 home runs.
Numbers such as those had fans and the team executives clamoring for the organization to call up the new bird.
So, in 2018, as the entire league expanded their rosters during the waning months of the season, DJ did what most baseball fans dream of by making his debut in the show.
2019 brought a plethora of injuries for the young sensation, and 2020 was the pandemic – shortened season in which Stewart spent most of the year balancing acts with the Orioles while also receiving rehab stints before eventually going on a tear.
When he gets rolling, their are few players who can match Stewart’s power surge.
During the early parts of September, he hit six homers in as many games.
Those kinds of numbers re-shined the spotlight on Stewart as the Orioles outfielder flashed potential by displaying power & grace at the plate.
For the black & orange, Stewart was repackaged ahead of the 2021 season like a newfound toy as his hot streak started against the globally known Yankees franchise, as mentioned earlier.
Unless the team calls up more competition, Stewart will have less to worry about as, like anything worth fighting for, consistency is the key to success.
Let the power slugger that runs like a gazelle continue to get more opportunities against big-league pitching to where he can hone his craft and come into his own as the spark is prevalent; he just needs something or someone to help light his fuse.
The Hank Aaron Invitational is a two-week baseball extravaganza camp held from July 17- 30 at Jackie Robinson Training Complex in Vero Beach, Florida. It’s operated by MLB, the MLBPA and USA Baseball. Approximately 250 Black and brown players (ages 13-18) from across the United States receive elite-level training from former Major League players and coaches.
Instructors include former Major League manager Jerry Manuel and former All-Stars such as Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr., his dad Ken Griffey Sr, Hall of Famer Dave Winfield, Tom “Flash” Gordon, Marquis Grissom, Reggie Smith, Luis Alicea, Willie Banks, Lou Collier, Eric Davis, Marvin Freeman, Charles Johnson, Pat Mahomes Sr, among others.
Bo Porter, a former MLB player, manager, coach, executive, and Washington Nationals announcer is also one of the instructors. Porter currently serves as MLB’s Director of Coaching Development.
In the spirit of the Hank Aaron Invitational and its commitment to leveling out the playing field for minority athletes, Porter has an academy that opened out of Texas in 2021 called Bo Porter’s Future All-Stars Sports Development Academy. Former Olympic gold medalist and 15-year minor league pro, John Cotton, is Director of Baseball Operations for the academy.
The goal of the facility is to inspire student-athletes and future MLBbros to achieve whole-person development, educating and advising parents, and empowering educators and coaches to become transformational leaders.
Da Gambler caught up with these baseball lifers as they evaluated talent at the Hank Aaron Invitational this past week.
The Detroit Tigers have sent utility player Niko Goodrum to the Injury List Saturday after his hematoma started bleeding.
The initial injury occurred July 10 when Goodrum fouled a pitch off his lower extremities in the seventh inning matchup against the Minnesota Twins.
Although he is down and out, some minor nicks and bruises didn’t stop the newly found tradition as the infielder/outfielder is a man of the people.
For the third time in the past four years, Goodrum joined forces with the Asbury United Methodist Church in Flint, Michigan, where he donated 275 cases of water to the residents who are still without clean water.
Partnering with the United Way of Genesee County, the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, and the Detroit Tigers Foundation, Goodrum’s, “do GOOD things,” foundation started in June of 2020 before the pandemic shortened season as he and the league had a lot of time on their hands.
“I’ve been giving water back to Flint for two years now, dating back, this is my third year doing it,” said Goodrum to Detroit Tigers TV.
He said, “That sparked the idea of, let me get something going where people can donate to me if they want to contribute. I was getting checks from random people to the stadium. I talked to Jordan Field (Director, Player Relations & Detroit Tigers Foundation), and I was like, ‘what do I do with this money?’ and that’s how the foundation came about.
“When there is a need, when there is something, I can do in Detroit and Flint or back home in Georgia, whenever I see a need, I always want to give back. It is very important to me as my parents instilled in me at an early age to give back to people, and that is what we are here for, to give back to people.”
Teammate “Real Deal” Akil Baddoo was also at the giveaway, passing out clean cases of water. He chimed in on his experience and said, “this is what it’s all about. I play this game for the families like this, the unfortunate, and come out here and see the smiles on their faces and the joy we bring. That’s what it’s all about.”
The church, which serves about 300 members, gives out cases of bottled water every Tuesday since the inception of the Flint Water Crisis came into effect in 2014.
The event, which runs like your favorite fast-food chain, gives insurance that those of the community in need will have safe and clean drinking water.
Goodrum has proven to be more than an athlete. The people affected most will remember his humanitarian work long after his baseball career comes to an end.
He was hitting .271 before the break and had another hit streak earlier in July. Harrison had a four-game hitting streak from July 6th to July 9th.
So far July has been a good month for Harrison, especially at the plate.
While Harrison has been having success at the plate, he’s also been having a little fun with the fans.
In a series against the San Diego Padres, Harrison had some interaction with some fans.
“It’s good banter,” Harrison said on the MASN postgame show July 7th. “Nothing, you know, that’s too harsh. Good talk. They’re cheering for their team, but I’m talking trash back. I don’t really get to get out there too often, so when they talk trash, [the way] my family grew up, if you can dish it, you’ve got to be able to take it. I’m just giving them a little taste of their own medicine, and I think I got them a little bit.”
For Harrison, he enjoys the interaction and it’s all part of the game to him.
“Given how last season was, no fans, being back out there, it just feels good to have them out there, whether they’re rooting for you or not,” he said.
“They’ve been good sports, trying to get me out of my game, thinking they’re getting in my head. It’s always a lot easier to have the last laugh with the win.”
The fan interaction is a plus for Harrison and he’s been doing his thing at the plate too.
Having fans in attendance makes the game that much better and the atmosphere is one to remember.
Harrison is in his second season with the Nationals and he’s become a fan favorite, especially during the past few months this season.
He is a player you want on your team because he brings experience and is a leader in the dugout.
This is why the Nationals went after Harrison, his ability to hit the ball adds value to their lineup and he can play the infield or outfield.
Harrison is a player you want to keep an eye out for especially this second half of the season. He can help the Nationals in a big way.