Whether it be with his glove or bat Byron Buxton is a showstopper, the only question was whether or not he could stay healthy enough to be in the lineup. Tuesday night Buxton started his 88th game of the season which makes it the most he has played in since 2017. Between then and now, some of the injuries he has dealt with include his shoulder, wrist, foot as well as multiple concussions.
Even this season he has had a few different stints on the Injured List, including just a few weeks ago when he returned from the All-Star Break and was placed there after having some issues with his shoulders.
Since returning from that shoulder injury, Buxton has gotten hot at the right time as his Twins are in a fight for the American League Central pennant.
He is batting .291 with a .371 on base percentage, five home runs and eight RBI and three stolen bases since then.
Entering Tuesday, the Twins are just a game back of the Guardians for the top spot in their division, which makes every game from now until October crucial to each team’s playoff hopes.
Buxton came to play over the weekend, however his team lost two of three games.
The next day he hit his 28th homer of the season which is good for the third most in the American League trailing only Aaron Judge and Yordan Alvarez. Buxton has hit a home run in 10 consecutive road series and has hit 55 home runs since he last grounded into a double play. That is the most home runs ever between double plays in Major League history. In his last three games Buxton has a home run and is batting .462 with two hits in each game.
This weekend Buxton welcomes in Marcus Semien and the Texas Rangers to the Twin City for a three-game set.
He hit 13 home runs, 12 doubles and four triples with 48 RBI and had a .304 batting average in 80 games.
Thompson was called up to the Majors on August 4th. Had he not been brought up this season, he could have been selected by any other team in this off-season’s Rule 5 Draft.
His first career hit came by way of a bunt single, during which Thompson registered a sprint speed of 30.1ft/second, the fifth highest home-to-first sprint speed in the Majors this season.
“That’s what I was blessed with, to be fast,” said Thompson when I asked how his speed affects the game. “I try to bring it every time to the field. I want to get good jumps and put myself in scoring position for my team.
The next day in his second game he stole the first two bases of his career. He is still searching for his first career homer, which should have come off of two-time Cy Young award winner and former American League MVP Justin Verlander in the 9th inning of a game vs the Astros.
Although the ball cleared the wall, because it hit a fan and bounced back on the field it was ruled just a double after instant replay.
Thompson was rated as a three-star quarterback for the class of 2017 at McGill Toolen high school in Mobile, Alabama.
He held offers from Auburn, Ole Miss, and Tennessee before committing to Alabama prior to a senior year in which he threw for 3,173 yards and 28 touchdowns while leading McGill Toolen to the 7A state championship game along with current Dallas Cowboys rookie wide receiver Jalen Tolbert.
“Marcus Mariotta was a guy I watched a lot of, but Cam Newton was my favorite player,” said Thompson.
“Playing quarterback helped me be a leader. As the quarterback, you have to know everything, just like in baseball, if you play all three (outfield) positions you have to know where to be. It helps a lot on the competition side of things.”
Thompson’s bid at an every day spot in the lineup for the remainder of this season and into 2023 continues this week with a four-game series against the Oakland Athletics.
Triston McKenzie has molded himself from top prospect to Ace of a playoff team. He showed out in most recent start getting the win after eight shutout innings, allowing just two hits on eight strikeouts against the first place Houston Astros to take the top spot in Week 18 of our #HighFive list.
1. Triston “Dr. Sticks” McKenzie
Since debuting in August of 2020, Triston McKenzie has allowed an opponents batting average of .194 which is the fifth lowest for any starting pitcher who has thrown at least 200 innings.
That is lower than the likes of eight time All-Star Max Scherzer and last year’s American League Cy Young winner Robbie Ray.
In his last seven starts, McKenzie has a 1.70 ERA with 48 strikeouts and a 4-2 record.
Before his last start McKenzie cut his braids and stayed solid on the mound with a fade.
Two former World Series Champions and teammates in Michael Brantley and George Springer are expected to miss time down the stretch due to injuries.
The understated superstar may see his streak of five consecutive seasons with a batting average of .299 or better snapped because of a shoulder injury that leaves him with no timetable to return.
When Astros general manager James Click was asked if Brantley would be back at any point this season, he said “We hope so, but with every passing day, you have to kind of take an honest look at it.”
Brantley has not played since June 26th when Houston traveled to the Bronx for what was looked at as a possible future American League Championship Series preview.
They would end up splitting the four-game series. Entering Tuesday, both teams are currently tied for the best record in the American League.
Although the already-loaded Astros bulked up at the trade deadline by adding former Oriole Trey Mancini and Red Sox catcher Christian Vasquez, Brantley’s presence will be missed if he is not available come October.
Last postseason, Brantley was a key part of their run to the World Series, batting .319 with nine RBI, four doubles and a .724 OPS. In 2020, he hit .346 with a .424 on base percentage, .982 OPS six walks and 11 RBI. In 64 games this season, Brantley is batting .288 with five home runs and 28 runs scored.
There will be no rush to bring him back until he is fully healthy. Hopefully we get to see one of the best hitters in the game this fall.
The Blue Jays win when George Springer is in.
It could be any time between a few days and a few weeks before one of the greatest leadoff hitters of all time is back in the fold.
Springer was placed on the 10-Day Injured List over the weekend with inflammation in his right elbow. Some of the moves the Jays made at the deadline bring up questions about how long they could be without him.
The team traded for utility player Whit Merrifield and added MLBbro outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. after he was Designated for Assignment by the Red Sox last week.
Bradley Jr. was the 2018 American League Championship Series MVP and reunited with Boston after spending a season in Milwaukee.
He could never get much going at the plate, as he was only hitting .210 with a .257 on base percentage this year, but defensively he is still one of the best in the Majors.
In his career, Springer has hit 51 leadoff home runs which is fourth-most all time in Major League history. Rickey Henderson is at the head of the table with 81 during his 25-year playing career.
Despite having seven other All-Stars players since 2021, the Jays win and loss total rides on whether Springer is in the lineup or not.
Since signing a six-year $150 million deal with Toronto, the franchise has a record of 97-70 when he plays and 54-52 when he does not. Springer is eligible to return August 15th when Cedric “CM Storm” Mullins brings his Orioles to “The 6” for a three-game series.
Aaron Judge, Cedric Mullins and Mookie Betts are three of the hottest players in the Majors post All-Star break. Here is a look at their numbers and a preview of what’s ahead for them over the last two months.
1. Aaron Judge
Statistically, Aaron Judge’s 2022 could end up being the greatest regular season for a New York Yankee in their franchise’s history and he has shown little signs of slowing down during the first few weeks of the second half.
He ended July by being unanimously voted for his fourth career American League Player of the Month award after slashing .333/.446/.806 with 32 RBI and 13 home runs including the 200th of his career a few Saturdays ago.
Judge began August on pace to hit 67 home runs which would be the most in a single season since Sammy Sosa hit 66 in 2001 and the most by a Yankee since Babe Ruth had 60 in 1927.
Coming down the stretch, the Major League leader in home runs is going to have to stay locked in not only for his pursuit of a record amount of home runs, but also so his Yankees can earn the top seed in the American League.
His outfield mate and fellow MLBbro Aaron Hicks is 0-for-29 since his last hit on July 27, newly acquired Andrew Benintendi has just two hits in 25 plate appearances as a Yankee and Giancarlo Stanton is dealing with an Achilles injury that will be worth watching as we inch closer towards fall.
2. Cedric Mullins
Cedric Mullins set the tone for the Baltimore Orioles after an emotional trade deadline that saw locker room favorite Trey Mancini sent off to Dusty Baker’s Houston Astros.
In his first swing, he muscled an opposite field home run to the left field foul pole at GlobeLife Field.
That hit re-energized the entire roster as they would go on to sweep Texas to begin what is now an undefeated month of August.
Mullins, who last season became the first Baltimore Orioles player to hit 30 home runs and steal 30 bases in a season is now the clear cut captain and catalyst of Major League Baseball’s biggest surprise team.
His O’s came into Sunday just one game out of the final American League Wild Card spot and will have plenty of chances down the stretch against other contending teams to earn their first playoff berth since losing to the Blue Jays in the 2016 Wild Card Game.
Even though the home run pop is not there this season Mullins is still one of the most solid players in the game on both sides of the field.
He is going to eclipse the 30 steal mark for the second season in a row while setting a new career high and he ranks in the top 15 for hits in the American League.
3. Mookie Betts
Everyone in baseball is looking forward to a possible October matchup between the star-studded Los Angeles Dodgers and the league’s newest “super team” the San Diego Padres who just added MLBbro Josh Bell along with All-Stars Juan Soto and Josh Hader.
In addition to DJing in the locker room after victories and some wild home run celebrations Betts, whose 25 home runs put him in the top five in the National League and his 78 runs scored first, has his Dodgers with the best record in the Majors and 9-1 in their last 10.
Over his last 15 games, Betts is batting .299 with nine RBI, four home runs and a stolen base.