Some of the moves made at this year’s trade deadline will turn out to mean nothing, while others may be the difference between winning a division crown or scrapping for a wild card spot. It’s still too early to determine winners/losers, but let’s take a look at who on paper made the best moves.
San Diego Padres
No team in the major leagues made more noise at the deadline than the San Diego Padres, something that has rang true the last several trade deadlines. The Padres understand that in order to knock off a juggernaut like the Los Angeles Dodgers, you have to stockpile talent in a similar fashion.
Acquiring a generational talent like Juan Soto along with a lights out closer in Josh Hader would be enough for most squads, but the Padres wanted more. Along with Soto, San Diego scooped up switch hitting first baseman Josh Bell. On Tuesday we spoke about how Bell could find himself on a playoff contender after the break, and here we are.
Two of our young MLB bros were a part of this deal, as shortstop C.J. Abrams and outfielder James Wood will make their way to Washington to join starting pitcher Josiah Gray as a part of the Nationals core of young talent.
The Padres welcome Juan Soto and Josh Bell to San Diego.
Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton have done the bulk of the heavy lifting for the Bronx Bombers this year, even with Stanton’s recent trip to the IL. Brian Cashman may have slipped up this offseason when he didn’t extend Judge, but he was on point at the deadline.
The Yankees acquired starter Frankie Montas, relievers Lou Trivino and Scott Efforts along with former Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi from KC and look poised to make a World Series Run. Every pitcher the Yanks traded for is under team control, which means that if they can resign Judge in the offseason there will be plenty of help in every aspect already with the team.
It’s officially the World Series or bust in the Bronx, a feeling they haven’t had in awhile.
The Twins are trying to hold off both Cleveland and Chicago, so standing pat simply wasn’t an option for Byron Buxton’s squad. The Twins acquired one of the best closers in the game this season when they plucked Jorge Lopez from the Orioles, and then added even more pitching by acquiring Cincinnati starter Tyler Mahle before the deadline passed.
Buxton and the Twins will have their hands full down to close the season, but the fact that Minnesota was the most active team in the division should give them plenty of confidence headed into the home stretch.
After losing the World Series AND superstar shortstop Carlos Correa, there were some around baseball who wondered just what Dusty Baker’s ballclub would look like going forward. Fast forward to the midpoint of the season and Baker’s boys look poised at another World Series run.
Like most great front offices, the Astros braintrust saw this and decided to stockpile more weapons as we head into the playoff push. They acquired Trey Mancini from the forever rebuilding Baltimore Orioles and Christian Vazquez from the Red Sox, two players who project to contribute immediately for the Stros.
Giancarlo Stanton was having the redemption season of a lifetime. He was healthy, hitting the cover off the ball and finally beloved by Yankees fans.
The Yankees were hoping that Giancarlo Stanton would play in more than 150 games for the first time since he played in 158 during his first campaign with the Bronx Bombers in 2018. He hit 38 homers and drove in 100 runs that season, but only played in 41 games over the following two seasons due to injuries.
Stanton quickly became public enemy No.1 in New York as the fans looked for someone to blame for its playoff shortcomings. Aaron Judge also battled injuries during Stanton’s first few years as a Yankee, but he’s the home grown darling, so he rarely if ever felt the wrath of Yankees fans in the same venomous fashion that Stanton did.
Last season, we got a glimpse of how potent Judge and Stanton could be when consistently in the Yankees lineup, as Stanton was able to play 139 games. It was Judge who was limited to 100 games and unable to be there enough for them to wreak the kind of havoc they did this season, before Stanton went on his yearly IL stint.
Stanton has only played in 100 games once in the past four seasons, so when both players got off to blazing first-half stars, were starters in the All-Star Game and among league leaders in most valued offensive categories, it wasn’t a surprise that the Yankees were winning at an all-time rate.
Judge has continued his MVP Bro bombing, while Stanton is expected to resume baseball activities early this week for the first time since landing on the injured last with left Achilles tendinitis on July 26.
“I would say probably in the next couple days he’ll start, whether it’s throwing and probably doing some tee work and upper body, hitting and stuff like that,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said in the New York Post. “Just talking to him briefly (Saturday), he’s definitely encouraged by the last few days…he’s noticed improvement and I think (they) have moved the needle how we would have hoped. Hopefully that starters to pick up speed this week.,”
Despite missing some time, Stanton is still 8th in homers and 19th in RBI (61) in all of MLB. This injury doesn’t seem too serious, but it is something that could linger throughout the season.
Achilles injuries are serious so Stanton will have to show some caution when it comes to finally going full speed. Losing him for the playoff run would be a death wish for the Yankees who are talented, but still fragile in that the team can’t afford to lose Judge or Stanton for any significant amount of time and still hope to capture their first World Series title since 2009.
High Five Top 10 MLBbros of the first half of the season
Aaron Judge is earning one of the biggest bags in all of baseball with his 2022 season
His league-leading 33 home runs before the All-Star Break is tied for the most in franchise history and he has his Yankees on top of baseball with 64 wins.
Judge started in his fourth career All-Star Game, leading all players with 3,726,498 votes.
The American League MVP race will most likely come down to Judge and the Angels Unicorn Shohei Ohtani, who won the award last year.
Considering Vlad Jr. nearly won the Triple Crown and still lost the race to Ohtani last year, Judge will need to hit at least 60 home runs and have the Yankees with the best record in baseball in order to gain a leg up.
“We need more Black people in the stadium,” was the message on Dodgers superstar outfielder’s shirt during All-Star Game batting practice.
Today in the Lead Off: When asked about his shirt by https://t.co/DG3CFND3cB reporter @_teammill, Betts’ response was, “there’s not a lot of Blacks in baseball, so I’m trying to change it.”
Those who have seen Betts at ballparks across the nation this year have been treated to a show on a nightly basis.
He’s having one of the best years of his career as he is on pace for a career-high number of homers with 20 already, and an RBI total that’s right in line with what he did in his MVP season in 2018.
Betts is batting .265 with an .863 OPS this season. His Dodgers lead the National League with 60 wins, which is important considering the team with the best record in each league gets a bye in round one of the playoffs.
Stanton has been Aaron Judge’s right-hand man this season with 24 home runs, just two behind Astros’ Yordan Alvarez for second in the American League.
Stanton showed off his home run power in his hometown of Los Angeles during his fifth career All-Star Game, hitting a two-run home run into the same left field bleachers he sat at as a kid.
There is no player you know it’s a home run quicker than Stanton ☄️
The American League Central race will be one of the more interesting coming down the stretch, and Anderson’s play will be a huge factor for which team goes on an early vacation.
Devin Williams has not given up a run since May 10th and is making his case to be the best reliever in baseball. The 2020 National League Rookie of the Year was a last-minute addition to the All-Star team but worked a clean inning in Tuesday night’s game.
Williams is leading the Majors in holds with a 1.77 ERA with 59 strikeouts this year.
In June, batters hit only .032 against him, and in July that number stands at 1.43.
Getting to watch Byron Buxton in a pennant race is going to be something special.
The five-tool outfielder is one of the biggest playmakers with the bat and glove in the Majors and he proved it on the biggest stage when he went back-to-back with Giancarlo Stanton in this year’s All-Star Game.
Buxton’s homer turned out to be the decisive blow in the 3-2 win for the American League. Although he did not win the MVP award, he did win a fan a season’s supply of beer.
His 23 home runs rank fifth in the American League, but he will need to get his .216 average up if he wants to get his Minnesota Twins into the playoffs and over the hump of the Wild Card Game.
Jazz Chisholm Jr.
On the back of a solid first full season in the Majors, Jazz Chisholm Jr. is putting up better numbers in almost every offensive category.
In addition to his personal highs, Chisholm also leads Miami in most hitting statistics and became the first ever Bahamian player to be named an All-Star and would have been the first starter had it not been for a back injury he suffered a few weeks before the break.
“The Bahamian Blur” will continue to crush baseballs after coming into the stadium with more swag and style than anyone else in the locker room, despite the direction where his struggling Marlins go.
Josh Bell could end up being the biggest commodities when the Major League Baseball August 2nd trade deadline comes around. Bell leads all MLBbros with a .311 batting average and is in the top 5 for first baseman in multiple categories including hits, OPS, triples, hits and average.
This is the last year of Bell’s rookie deal, so he’ll be earning himself some cash if he gets the chance to play with a contender during the final part of the season.
“Dr. Sticks” is having a great sophomore season but has done his best work in July.
In three starts this month McKenzie has gone 21 innings without giving up a run. He has 23 strikeouts with just six walks and nine hits over that span as his Guardians sit just two games back of the Twins for the American League Central pennant.
This year McKenzie has a 3.20 ERA with 96 strikeouts and a 7-6 record.
His next start will come on the Southside of Chicago against Tim Anderson and the White Sox.
Michael Harris II
Michael Harris is the youngest player in baseball but has impacted his team maybe more than anyone on this list not named Aaron Judge or Mookie Betts.
The Atlanta native has proved to the Braves that the center fielder of their future is already patrolling their outfield ground.
He has already made some of the best defensive plays this season and will be fighting for both a Gold Glove and the National League Rookie of the Year award as this season comes to an end.
Marcus Semien – The 2021 MLBbro of the Year got off to a slow start in his first season of his seven-year, $175 Million deal, but he has heated up over the last month. Watch for him to find his way into the top 10 at season’s end.
Cedric Mullins– CM Storm is the leader on one of the most fun, young teams in baseball and the O’s will need big things out of him if they want to steal a playoff spot from one of the other American League East teams.
J.P. “The Claw” Crawford- Was on his way to making his first career All-Star Game before a suspension for fighting put an end to that. Despite that his Mariners won 14 straight to close out the first half.
Ke’Bryan Hayes – One of the best young defenders in baseball is going to be the best at the hot corner sooner rather than later.
Taijuan Walker – Walker is quietly having a better year than his 2021 All-Star season and will be a key member in the backend of the Mets rotation as they fight for the World Series.
Before the break, we broke down the American League division leaders and the MLBbros who helped to make that happen. We even saw two of the bros we mentioned, Yankees Slugger Giancarlo Stanton and Minnesota Twins center fielder Byron Buxton, win the All-Star game for the American League Tuesday night in Los Angeles.
Stanton was the MVP.
Now that the second half of the season is underway, let’s take an MLBbro.com look at the three National League division leaders. There are two pretty tight races brewing in the NL East and NL Central, while Mookie and the Dodgers are running away with the West. Let’s take a look at who’s holding it down up top.
New York Mets – 58-35, 2.5 games up
For a while it looked like the Mets were going to run away with the NL East. Armed with a gang of new talent acquired this offseason, New York shot out of the gates and took a commanding lead in their division. Injuries to starters Jacob DeGrom and Max Scherzer slowed them a bit, but the Mets closed out the first half winning six of ten.
Taijuan Walker has once again been a steady hand the Mets pitching staff needs as they await the return of their Ace. Walker is currently 7-2 with a 2.55 ERA with a 20.1% K rate to go with his 6.9% walk rate. The Mets will need to remain consistent throughout the second half, or they may see Michael Harris II and the Atlanta Braves leapfrog them in the standings.
Milwaukee Brewers – 50-43, 0.5 games up
The All-Star break couldn’t have come at a better time for the Brewers, who went into the break losing seven of their last 10. The bullpen is still dominant but unfortunately for Devin and the pen, the Brewers offense has proven to come up short as the competition rises.
When called upon, Williams has been lights out. Over his last seven games, Devin has thrown 7 innings and only given up three hits while striking out 13 batters. He has filled in perfectly at closer when needed, saving six games over the Brewers last 30.
Hitters simply can’t touch Devin, and honestly that might be putting it lightly. On the year, hitters are batting .187 against his all-world changeup and .085 against his 4-seamer. The man is ELITE, hopefully the Brew Crew can score enough runs to really take advantage of his elite ability.
Los Angeles Dodgers – 60-30, 10.0 games up
Everything is going exactly how it should be in Hollywood. The Dodgers signed Silver Slugger Freddie Freeman in the offseason and added him to a lineup that was already one of the most dangerous in all of baseball. Freeman has fit right in, and the Dodgers look poised to make another trip to the NLCS.
Mookie Betts hit 20 bombs with 47 RBI enroute to another All-Star appearance and made an emphatic statement with his pregame wardrobe while he was there. Mookie has been very selective at the plate this season, and according to Baseball Savant he ranks in the 91% percentile in both whiff% and chase rate.
Dave Roberts has his guys firing on all cylinders, and it will be tough for anyone in the West to catch LA.
In his return home, Giancarlo Stanton of the New York Yankees was the brightest star in Los Angeles on Monday night, earning the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player award and leading the American League to a 3-2 win over the National League in the 92nd edition of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game
With the AL trailing 2-0 in the top of the fourth inning, Stanton stepped to the plate with Jose Ramirez standing on first after a leadoff single. Facing the Dodgers’ Tony Gonsolin, Stanton quickly fell behind 0-2.
Unfortunately for Gonsolin, his splitter didn’t split anything but the middle of the plate.
Stanton squared up and sent the ball on a 457-foot flight into the left field stands. Once he crossed the plate, the game was tied at two and Gonsolin was rattled. So much so, that he served up another fat one to Byron Buxton.
However, when the votes were tallied, the Yankees slugger was named MVP. Stanton finished the game 1-2 with two RBI and a run scored.
Giancarlo Stanton becomes just the third Yankee to win the award, following Hall of Famers Mariano Rivera (2013) and Derek Jeter (2000).
New York has claimed two of the five MVPs won by MLBbros since 2000, with Stanton joining Jeter, Garrett Anderson, Carl Crawford, and Prince Fielder. Fielder was the last Black player to win the award, doing so in 2011.
This year’s All-Star festivities could mark the beginning of a resurgence for Black and brown players across the league.
The energy was there among the players. They noticed and seemed poised to help push the doors to the game open even wider as a new generation of future All-Stars had their names called during the draft.
The AL’s quartet of players, led by Stanton, went a combined 3-for-8, with two home runs, two runs scored and accounting for all three American League RBI.
For Stanton, it was a dream come true. The LA-native, after a five-year absence and playing in his fifth All-Star game, placed himself into the pages of history by adding this MVP to his collection which includes the 2017 National League MVP award.
He’s also the front runner on the list of current MLB players to be the next slugger to reach the 500-homer plateau. If he, and Judge, can stay healthy, Stanton might get the opportunity to add “World Series MVP” to his resume as well.