MLBbros Bringing The Soul Patrol | AL All-Stars Feature First All-Black Starting Outfield Since 2017

MLBbros Bringing The Soul Patrol | AL All-Stars Feature First All-Black Starting Outfield Since 2017

For only the second time since 1996 there will be three MLBbros starting in the outfield for the American League at the All-Star Game.

Sunday afternoon it was announced that Minnesota Twins outfielder Byron Buxton would step into the American League starting lineup after Mike Trout pulled out of the game due to injury, making way for a historic moment.

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The last time the AL started three Black outfielders was 2017; with Houston’s George Springer, Boston’s Mookie Betts, and Aaron Judge of the Yankees patrolling Marlins Park.

Judge is back, along with teammate Giancarlo Stanton to join Buxton among the starters as the American League looks to win the Midsummer Classic for the eighth straight time.

 

Before 2017, the AL hadn’t started three Black outfielders since 1995 when Albert Belle, Kenny Lofton, and Kirby Puckett did so. From 1991-95, each time the American League filled out its lineup card, there were three Black outfielders leading the way.

They weren’t just stars of their day either, these were some of the greatest of all-time. A collection of MVPs and future Hall of Famers.

During that five-year stretch Ken Griffey Jr. and Puckett made the All-Star team four times each. Both are enshrined in Cooperstown. Two-time World Series champion Joe Carter was a part of three of those teams, with Rickey Henderson, Dave Henderson, Belle, and Lofton each appearing once over that span.

Two times in five years isn’t exactly bringing the game to the golden era of Black participation in Major League Baseball, but it is a major step forward and a testament to the increasing level of Black talent coming back to the game.

Perhaps another generation of stars will be inspired by what they see Tuesday night in Dodger Stadium when Judge, Buxton, and Stanton run out to take their positions.

And, perhaps one or more of the three will lay another brick on their path to the Hall of Fame themselves.

Either way, it’ll be great to see.

Soul Patrol: Kyle Lewis & Taylor Trammell Give Mariners Dynamic Offensive Potential

Soul Patrol: Kyle Lewis & Taylor Trammell Give Mariners Dynamic Offensive Potential

The return of Taylor Trammell and Kyle Lewis has injected some much-needed soul power into the Seattle Mariners as they look to get back into the AL West division race after a slow start to 2022.

 

Take That | Former Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewis Returns

Last week the Mariners locker room and offense got a much-needed boost after learning outfielder Taylor Trammell was called up from Triple A to make his season debut after suffering a hamstring injury that had him sidelined since early April.

Trammell is one of the top rated prospects in the Mariners organization.  He was originally selected as the 35th pick in the 2016 MLB Draft by the Cincinnati Reds out of Mount Paran Christian School in Georgia, where he was considered one of the best two-sport athletes in the state.

Then in 2019 he was sent to the Padres in a three-team trade that involved Trevor Bauer before ultimately landing in Seattle following a 2020 deal for Austin Nola.

Trammell joined a Mariners team that in 2021 had more Black players on their roster than any other Major League organization.

J.P. Crawford, Kyle Lewis, Taylor Trammell, Kenyan Middleton, Justus Sheffield and Justin Dunn were all a part of the core that saw 90 wins last season, which were the most in franchise history since the 93 games they won in 2003, which happens to be the last time they made the playoffs.

 

 

Trammell got his first start of the season this past Friday night, helping the team beat down Cy Young candidate and future Hall of Famer Justin Verlander.

In the fourth inning and in true MLBbro fashion, he became the first Mariner to bunt for a base hit this season. Then in the sixth, he smoked the ninth home run of his career to officially put the candle out on Verlander’s night.

That homer by Trammell was one of four hit by a Mariners player under the age of 27 in the same game, which had only happened four times in the franchise’s history.

 

 

One of those four home runs was hit by 2020 MLB Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewis.  It was the first for Lewis since March 28 of last season and looks like it could be the beginning of his ascendence back into the conversation of best young talents in baseball.

Entering Sunday Lewis had homered in two straight games and driven in three runs against Dusty Baker’s Houston Astros.  

It was the fourth straight game Lewis saw his name in the lineup as the Mariners Designated Hitter, a role it appears he will have for the foreseeable future coming off his ACL injury.

His name was originally in Seattle’s Sunday lineup, but ultimately the team would decide to let him rest for the day, which is not surprising with it being a day game after a night game.

Coming into the season the Mariners were a popular pick to not only make the playoffs but also make a run at bringing a World Series Championship to the Emerald City.  However, entering Sunday they sit seven games under .500 and have not gotten much of anything on the offensive side of the ball from anyone not named J.P. Crawford or Julio Rodriguez, who has filled in nicely in center field for Lewis.

The energy Trammell brings to the locker room will need to be matched by his production at the plate. In 51 games last season he batted .160, had an on base percentage of just .256 to go along with eight home runs, 18 runs batted in and two steals.

This week the Mariners will match up against Cedric Mullins and the Baltimore Orioles before heading down to Texas to face off against Marcus Semien’s Rangers.