On Tuesday, it was assumed that the topic of conversation in San Diego would be the acquisitions of Juan Soto and MLBbro Josh Bell from the Washington Nationals for a laundry list of prospects that included future MLBbro stars, C.J. Abrams and James Wood..
While the past weekend was a whirlwind for the Padres front office and owner Peter Seidler off the field, the players still had a job to do playing a double header after the trade went down. It would have been easy for the team to have a letdown and just be happy with a split, but they handled their business sweeping the Colorado Rockies in the double header. That’s something that manager Bob Melvin mentioned after the game to The San Diego Tribune.
“Oh it’s over, it’s over,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said after Game 2. “It was a long day and it was emotional right away, just because all that was going on. Again, thanks to Peter (Seidler), our owner and A.J. Preller) working his stuff early in the morning. Probably didn’t sleep for a couple of days, which isn’t new for him and then to win a game like we did the first one and not really swing the bats well, but get good enough pitching to put it up at the end and be able to sweep a double header, which is hard to do.”
Yes, teams winning double headers is very hard to do and a player being the ultimate reason is even harder. Our MLBbro, Trent Grisham reintroduced himself as one of the major cogs of the Padres offense by homering in both games. In the first game with San Diego down two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, Grisham evened up things in style to power his team to a 13-5 win.
Trent finished up a three RBI performance in Game 1 but that was nothing compared to the drama our MLBbro provided in Game 2 with his second walkoff home run of the season on a 3-2 pitch to add more excitement to the Padre fanbase about their postseason aspirations.
Grisham shared his thoughts about his heroics after the game via ESPN.
“It was pretty low. I was kind of worried, so I’m glad it got out,“ Grisham said. It was a long day, a fruitful day.”
“Anytime you can come up big for your team is huge, Grisham said. “(The trades) definitely played a part in the first game. In the second game, it was all will.”
This performance could catapult our MLBbro back to the two-way player that he showed he could be in the 2020 pandemic season when he hit .251 with 10 homers and 26 RBI in 59 games. The defense has never been a question…
Even with his struggles with his batting average hovering around .200, that doesn’t mean that Grisham hasn’t accomplished anything. With his 13 homers this year, he is already close to eclipsing his total of 15 from last season. His 41 RBI shows that he makes things happen when the bat meets the ball. Our MLBbro was on an eight-game hitting streak before it was snapped in a 7-3 loss on Thursday batting a .333 clip with three homers and six RBI during the stretch.
It will be interesting to see this MLBbro’s progress at the plate going forward. With the additions of Juan Soto and fellow MLBbro Josh Bell added to the lineup with Fernando Tatis Jr., maybe the pressure to make things happen will subside with Trent Grisham knowing his teammates will bring offensive firepower to the lineup.
But if that recent eight-game hitting streak turns out not to be a fluke, but a foreshadowing of things to come, the Los Angeles Dodgers officially have a team in their rear view mirror that is a postseason threat to come out of the National League to go to the World Series.
Over the weekend we lost another MLBbro from the major league ranks, as the Milwaukee Brewers decided to part ways with centerfielder Lorenzo Cain. Cain has yet to officially announce his retirement, but there are many around the game who believe this is it for LoCain.
With one less MLBbro manning the outfield and in memory of Willie Mays and Rickey Henderson — two of the greatest players to grace the diamond — let’s take a look at a few players who are still doing big things in centerfield. The position has always been one of supreme excellence and prestige and impact for Black and brown ballers.
The Heavy Hitters
The first two MLBbros on our list are the cream of the crop when it comes to Black centerfielders in today’s game. Elite centerfielders are not only the captain of the defense, but they are also elite at the plate. Names like the aforementioned Mays, Ken Griffey Jr. and the OG Curt Flood are the standard when we speak on Black centerfielders who did it all, and these two young bros are working to carry that torch within this generation of ballplayers.
Now if you’re a regular here at MLBbro.com, you know exactly where I’m going with this. When healthy, Buxton is the only centerfielder who consistently puts up numbers that mirror Los Angeles Angels centerfielder Mike Trout. Unfortunately, Buxton has played less than 100 games for three straight seasons. If he can stay on the field, Buxton can compete with any of the MLB’s elite.
Mullins put the league on notice last season. CM Storm stopped switch-hitting, taking all his AB’s exclusively from the left side of the plate and developing a more disciplined approach. His walk rate increased from 5.2 to 8.7 percent while his strikeout rate dropped from 24.2 to 18.5 percent. Mullins recorded the first 30-30 season in the 67-year history of Orioles baseball.
While the bros mentioned above have the ability to affect the game in multiple ways, the next two centerfielders on my list are known specifically for their defense. They won’t blow you away with their offensive numbers, but if you’re a fan of intelligent defenders who make highlight reel catches, then you will love these next two MLBbros. Think Otis Nixon and Devon White.
The 2021 Gold glove winner, Michael A. Taylor used his elite speed to record an Outs Above Average of +15, which was second amongst all outfielders. As elite as he’s been defensively, his lack of impact at the plate will make it difficult for Taylor to move from defensive specialist to elite centerfielder.
Grisham won the Gold Glove in the pandemic shortened 2020 season and has been a leader in advanced defensive metrics like Defensive Runs Saved and Outs Above Average. The injury to Fernando Tatis Jr. has given Grisham an opportunity in the leadoff spot but he has struggled to find his rhythm at the plate. Grisham flashed 20/20 potential during his 2020 campaign, and a return to that form would make him an elite centerfielder.
Following his 2020 ROTY campaign, Seattle Mariners Kyle Lewis was labeled by many as the next big thing in the Pacific Northwest. But unfortunately for Lewis and the Mariners, lower leg injuries and a recent concussion have turned excitement into indifference. If his fortunes turn, look for Lewis to reenter the conversation for best young centerfielder in the game.
Our MLBbro, Trent Grisham is the perfect representative of his team, the San Diego Padres, and how they stand when it comes to popularity and time spent in the baseball media news cycle. Even with a solid 30-24 record as of this writing, the accomplishment has been buried under their division rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers, a team that has ruled the National League West for close to a decade, and the San Francisco Giants.
When baseball fans think about the Padres, they think about superstars, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado who dominate the headlines with their offensive brilliance and sometimes mercurial personalities.
With these two franchise headline stealers, it’s hard to remember the 2019 trade that brought in Grisham, a Milwaukee Brewers’ 2015 first-round pick. Along with Zach Davies, there are still ongoing debates as to which team won the trade. It only took one month in the Brewers rotation for San Diego to see their future star when he hit six homers with 24 RBI to acquire him.
Grisham gave himself and the Padres a much-needed reminder of why he was brought in with a two-run walk-off homer to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-2 on Sunday.
“I just figured it was foul, the way it was hooking,” Grisham said. “Majority of the time those balls going down into the corner are foul, so I was just sitting there, waiting.”
“It was definitely cool to not even be able to hear hit foul pole, everybody going nuts beforehand. “That was special.”
This homer right here will be one of the most talked about highlights of the season when all is said and done based on the situations surrounding this past weekend.
Manny Machado, who is currently the Padres biggest offensive weapon was not in the lineup for the first time this season suffering from lateral epicondylitis, which is the medical term for tennis elbow. Over the weekend, the Padres just suffered filling the shoes of the National League’s leader in hits, average and WAR.
A putrid Saturday offensive performance that included 16 stranded runners, two bases loaded opportunities with no runs and this three-run shot by another MLBbro, Ke’Bryan Hayes, added up to a bad loss to the struggling Pittsburgh Pirates.
Grisham’s theatrics in extra innings on Sunday possibly saved the Padres from going into a downward spiral down the NL West standings out of the reach of the Dodgers. For Grisham, it could be the start of a hot streak after a horrible start at the plate. He is batting .160 at the plate and was originally planning to lay down a bunt–a point that San Diego manager, Bob Melvin stated after the game via ESPN.
“He has the ability to do that,” Melvin said. “Hopefully this is a springboard for him. I’d love to get him in the lineup doing what he normally does. That does a lot for your confidence when you’re in a big situation like that. Typically a bunt situation for him; he swings away and hits a homer.”
Our MLBbro’s slump has been well documented this season to the point that fellow MLBbro.com colleague, Rachel L. Hill in her “My Two Cents” segment foreshadowed Grisham being too good for this season-long slump to last.
For that slump to last, our MLBbro is going to have to become more aggressive at the plate. His selectiveness at the plate keeps him swinging at bad pitches but it in turn has allowed him to put the ball into play, something that Melvin thinks can be fixed.
“I think so… He’s just trying to find his way out of a rough start. And sometimes that can be difficult to do, and you search a little bit. You try to get more aggressive. Are teams coming after you for first pitch strikes? And sometimes you have to do things a little bit different. So yeah, I think at times, maybe (Grisham could be) a little more aggressive early in the count.”
It worked well enough over the weekend. Grisham could have been the hero on back-to-back nights with a seventh inning hit that put the Padres ahead before the blown lead in the ninth. While Grisham is not alone with his offensive struggles, maybe his game-saving home run is the spark that he needs.