LaMonte Wade Jr. showed out at the plate this past week as he homered in back-to-back games, recorded his first career multi-home run game on Sunday and had a go-ahead game-winning hit against the defending-champion Los Angeles Dodgers in Wednesday’s game.
Wade Jr. has been a spark plug for the San Francisco Giants, best team in the National League, and will be a key piece in determining one of the toughest division races in baseball.
After this week, You can bet Minnesota Twins’ fans are having nightmares about the day they dealt Wade Jr. to the Giants.
Over just Saturday and Sunday alone, he bested his home run total of two in 42 games combined during his two seasons in the Twin Cities.
On Saturday, Wade Jr.’s sixth-inning home run was one of lone bright spots in the Giants 10-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Then Sunday, Wade crushed the fifth pitch of the game thrown by JT Brubaker’s for his second career leadoff home run.
Not sure if the word “crushed” does that swing enough justice, because the ball landed at one of the deepest parts of Oracle Park.
Wade Jr. would catch Brubaker slipping again in the third inning for home run, number 12 of his season; this one barely missed splashing inside McCovey Cove.
He finished the game going 3-for-5 with those two bombs, a double, two runs and two RBI.
Our esteemed colleague Kevin Moore told you back in June that Wade wasn’t going back to the minors.
LaMonte Wade Jr. Is The Real Deal & He’s Here To Stay
The month of July started slow for Wade Jr., but he has been picking things up lately.
Over his last seven games, he has his batting average at .375, an insane 1.083 slugging percentage, four home runs, seven RBI, six runs, three walks and a stolen base.
Wade Jr. has fit nicely with a Giants’ roster that is resilient, scrappy and accustomed to playing winning baseball.
Late into Wednesday’s game against the Dodgers, Wade Jr. capped a four-run rally in the top of the ninth inning with a two-run RBI single to right field.
That clinched a series win for the Giants, who took three out of four games from a divisional rival who is going to be on their tales throughout the remainder of the season.
Wade Jr. still has a long way to go but his .936 OPS shows he is hitting the ball hard while still being selective with his swings enough to reach base.
His Giants will have an off day on Monday before they get ready for what will be one of the toughest stretches of their season: defending home field against the Dodgers and then welcoming the first-place Astros to San Francisco for a weekend set.
Even though the Bros put on a post-All-Star week hitting clinic, the Met’s durag-rockin’ Black Knight from Long Island AKA Marcus “Stro Show” Stroman takes the top spot in Week 15 of our #HighFive list.
1. Marcus Stroman
Marcus Stroman had two very interesting starts this week, but we will start with the one that may be the best of his career:
Wednesday he was both a hit and a walk away from perfection against the Cincinnati Reds. In eight innings he struck out seven batters while only allowing one hit and one walk. What might have been most impressive is he accomplished this in just 90 pitches, on a day the Met’s bullpen needed off in the worst way.
Out of the 26 hitters Stroman faced, he threw a first-pitch strike to 21 of them. He became the first Mets pitcher with an eight-inning shutout allowing just one hit or fewer since Jacob DeGrom in 2016.
His Black Knight partner Taijuan Walker and former Cy Young rotation mate, Jacob DeGrom, got the accolade of being named 2021 All-Stars this season, but Stroman has been the one holding it down with consistency in the rotation.
He is one of 13 pitchers to make 20 starts this season and carries a 2.58 ERA.
Now, to Stroman and the Pittsburgh Pirates executing a classic WWE impression:
After getting Pirates John Nogowski to line out in the fifth inning of Friday night’s game, Stroman pounded his glove and tried to fire up his dugout. Nogowski took exception to that, and after, words were exchanged and the benches cleared. No punches were thrown, but it might not be a good idea to have those two in the same room for a while.
In that game, he finished five innings allowing just two runs and striking out three.
2. Mookie Betts
Lately, Mookie Betts has gotten back to being one of the best hitters in all of baseball and before a hip injury caused him to miss a few days this week, he was on an absolute tear.
In his past five games before only appearing only as a pinch-hitter Monday night, Betts was 12-for-16 at the plate for a .750 batting average. Over that stretch, he had three home runs, four doubles, eight RBI and 12 runs. That earned him a spot on Rob Parker’s Home Boi Highlights.
Home Boi Highlights | Mookie Betts
Betts has been out of the lineup during the Dodgers’ series against the first-place Giants and manager Dave Roberts has not ruled out him requiring time on the Injured List.
3. Tim Anderson
Ever since Tim Anderson saw his name left off of the original All-Star Game Roster, he became a different animal at the plate, showing why he has a batting championship in his trophy case.
Despite having his 16-game hitting streak snapped on Tuesday, he is batting .323 with three home runs, four RBI, eight runs and two steals. That leaves him currently sitting in 10th place for the league’s batting title.
Tim Anderson Is Scorched Earth As Hit Streak Balloons To 16
This weekend Anderson leads his White Sox into the city of current title town Milwaukee to face the Brewers in what will be one of the best series this season in baseball.
4. Akil “The Real Deal” Baddoo
Baddoo Mania is back, as he has been putting the throttle down on his campaign to win American League Rookie of the Year. Over his last seven games, Baddoo has three home runs, including two during the team’s four-game sweep of the Texas Rangers.
The energy Baddoo can bring to the leadoff spot has carried throughout the entire Tigers lineup, as they have become one of the most exciting teams to watch in the Majors.
They are the only team to not suffer a loss since returning from the All-Star break as they swept the Twins over the weekend in the Motor City.
Akil “The Real Deal” Baddoo Has Leaped Over Rookie Wall & Is Back To Bashing
5. Josh Bell
Josh has answered the Bell at the plate lately as he lands the final spot on this week’s #HighFive list. Since June 1st he is one of three National League first baseman to have at least seven home runs and a batting average over .300. The other two being All-Star Starter Freddie Freeman and the Cardinals Paul Goldschmidt.
Bell had a seven-game hitting streak snapped after going 0-for-4 Wednesday but homered in back-to-back games to begin the week.
Over his last 15 games, Bell is hitting .286 with 16 hits, eight runs batted in and seven runs.
The Nationals are trying to tread water while trying to get their team back to full strength, but with Bell along with Josh Harrison and former World Series MVP Juan Soto holding down the lineup (and them only being six games back of the Mets for first place in the NL East) they may be in store for a run.
The reigning World Series Champions added another weapon to their arsenal after calling up their number one pitching prospect, Josiah Gray.
The Dodgers added Gray to their Taxi Squad ahead of their crucial series against the first-place Giants this week. Manager Dave Roberts told mlbbro.com he would be activated before Tuesday night’s game, but since he recently made a start for their Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City, the team will likely use an Opener and let Gray work most of his innings out of the bullpen.
Gray wasn’t on the radar for most scouts while he attended New Rochelle High School in New York. He committed to LeMoyne College in Syracuse, New York as a two-way player; being the king of the infield at shortstop and controlling the game as a pitcher in 2014.
“The athleticism that made Gray a shortstop translates well to pitching,” said scouts. “He repeats his delivery well and shows the ability to harness his electric fastball and slider.”
Before his junior season, Gray decided to begin pitching full-time. In 13 starts that season he posted an 11-0 record and a 1.25 ERA.
The Cincinnati Reds selected him in the second round of the 2018 MLB Draft, but he was traded to the Dodgers that same year on his 21st birthday in a deal that sent MLBbro Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig to Cincy.
Scouts are extremely high on Gray’s fastball which can reach up to 97 MPH and “seems to explode at the plate with riding and rising life.” He also has worked to sharpen both his slider and an upper 70’s curveball while at the team’s alternate training site this season.
During the 2019 season, he dominated at each of his three stops in the Dodgers organization on the way to being named their Minor League Pitcher of the Year. He had a 2.70 ERA with 147 strikeouts in 130 innings and an 11-2 record through 25 starts.
Gray had his 2020 campaign lost after the minor league season was canceled due to Covid.
This season Gray has appeared in four games for the Dodgers Triple-A team, the Oklahoma City Dodgers. He is 1-1 with a 2.87 ERA, 22 Strikeouts, two walks all while holding opponents to a .145 batting average.
It’s been a great week for him, as he collected his first career hit last Thursday on an RBI hit to left.
Gray will have every opportunity to earn a prominent role on the Dodger pitching staff whether it be as a starter or out of the bullpen. One thing is for certain, he’ll be pitching under the spotlight and with the eyes of baseball on him as he has entered one of the most competitive division races we have seen.
Monte Harrison showed a glimpse of why Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly believes he has the chance to be the best defensive outfielder in the organization.
Marlins fans have had Harrison under the microscope for years and there’s pressure for him to show they gained something from losing their former Silver Slugger and MVP outfielder MVP Christian Yelich in the notorious trade.
Hall of Fame shortstop Derek Jeter has not shown great promise as a trade negotiator during his tenure as Marlins owner.
He dealt away Yelich to the Brewers in 2018 for Monte Harrison and three other prospects, who each have made little no impact in the Majors.
Yelich would go on to win the 2018 Most Valuable Player award and finish second in the voting in 2019.
Harrison was a three-sport athlete during his time at Lee’s Summit West High School in Missouri.
He had over 1,000 receiving yards and 26 total touchdowns while also averaging over 15 points a game on the basketball court.
Harrison was a four-star recruit and the 33rd ranked Wide Receiver in the nation. He committed to the University of Nebraska before being drafted out of high school by the Brewers in the second round of the 2014 draft.
During his first season in the Brewers system he stole 32 bases and hit .260 in 50 games.
After being sent to Miami in 2018, he played for the Jacksonville Shrimp where he hit 19 home runs and stole 28 bases in 136 games.
That led to him being added to their 40-man roster. He was named to the Futures All-Star game in 2019 where he hit .274 with nine home runs and 20 steals.
Harrison made his Major League debut August 3rd of 2020, but his play at the plate during his time in the Bigs has been subpar. His lack of opportunity has factored into his struggles.
He’s batting just .167 for his career over 53 at-bats, including a 1-for-7 clip season.
Harrison’s bat will come around, but what he has proven is that his glove is ready for prime time.
Harrison gave us a web gem of the year submission on Saturday night, when he laid all out and made a diving catch down the right field line to save extra bases and keep a nail biter against the Phillies at a 1-1 tie.
Plays like this come as no surprise to Mattingly, who has been raving about Harrison for years.
“Monte Harrison will be the best outfield defender at whatever position he plays in the outfield,” said Mattingly. “The fans of South Florida are going to love this guy.”
Monte Harrison and his brother Shaquille, who is a member of the Denver Nuggets are in a rare club of brothers in the MLB and NBA; that group includes Klay and Trayce Thompson.
“We just worked our butts off every single day,” said Harrison. We were always those kids that got in trouble, got made fun of and little stuff like that. People thought that we weren’t going to really be anything. We both sat down and were in like, “We can be whatever we want to be, we’ve got to work for it.”
Harrison has been used mostly as a pinch hitter and runner during his time in the Majors this season but with the trade deadline approaching he may get a chance at consistent playing time sooner rather than later.
The people better recognize, these Bros have game.
They have shined as some of the brightest stars in the Majors this season and we are ready to see what they do in the grueling second half chase.
Here’s our “Turnt Up 10” consisting of the top MLBbros through the first half of the 2021 season.
CM STORM gets the MVP belt for the Bros after his first half performance.
The 2021 starter in center field for the American League is one of three players in the Majors to lead his team in batting average, home runs and stolen bases this season.
The other two being Fernando Tatis Jr. and Ronald Acuna Jr.
Mullins, the American League leader in hits, proved he belonged among the game’s elite when he got on base and scored a run to help the American League win the All-Star Game.
2. Marcus Semien
This season Marcus Semien has not only proven he is one of the best hitters in the game, but also that he is one of the most versatile.
Last season he played a damn good shortstop for the Oakland A’s but made the move to second when he got to the Blue Jays.
That paid off well for May’s American League Player of the Month.
Semien will be paid well when he negotiates his next contract during the offseason.
Semien was named the American League starter at second base after posting a .277 batting average with 22 home runs, 56 RBI, an .873 OPS and 10 steals.
3. Black Knights Taijuan Walker and Marcus Stroman
The Met’s have the fourth-lowest earned runs average in the Majors and two of the main reasons for that are their Melanated Mound Marauders (Marcus Stroman and Taijuan Walker).
Stroman has always been a beast on the mound and is one of the most entertaining and agitating pitchers in baseball.
This year he has a 2.75 ERA and 83 strikeouts while Walker has been the best free agent acquisition.
He has the 11th lowest ERA in baseball and was selected to the National League All-Star team.
Taijuan Walker’s New York Mets Move Was Golden
4. Aaron Judge
Judge has put the city of New York on his back this season in an effort to keep them in contention.
He started his third All-Star Game this year and his 21 home runs have him just outside of the league’s Top 10.
Judge will have to do even more for the Yankees to have any legitimate chance at winning a 29th championship.
MLBbro All-Star 2021 Coverage | All Rise For Aaron Judge
5. Michael Brantley
Michael Brantley is as professional a hitter as you will see in baseball.
He is second in the American League in batting average and swatted .410 with 15 RBI and a .566 Slugging Percentage for the month of June.
He was named an All-Star but did not make the trip to Denver.
6. Tim Anderson
It feels good to call Tim Anderson, who is one of the faces of baseball, an All-Star.
At first, he was left off of the All-Star list, but then went crazy at the plate over his last seven games hitting .484 with 11 runs and four RBI.
Anderson currently has hits in 12 straight games.
MLBbro All-Star 2021 Coverage | Tim Anderson
7. J.P. Crawford
Last season’s American League Gold Glove shortstop made his bat come alive in 2021. He was the biggest All-Star snub this season as he posted a first half statline including 92 hits, 31 RBI, 46 runs a .279 average and a 1.4 Defensive WAR which is the highest in all of baseball.
8. Mookie Betts
Despite not putting up his typical MVP type numbers, Mookie Betts was named an All-Star for the fifth time in his career.
However he decided to skip the game in order to rest up for an attempt at winning back-to-back World Series.
Betts is fifth in the league in runs scored and has an .839 OPS.
9. Jazz Chisholm
Jazz is the first Bahamian player in the Majors and a perfect representation of black culture in baseball.
The Bahamian Blur’s swag is unmatched and he is one of the electrifying newbies in the game with speed, power and multi-colored hair choices.
Chisholm would have easily been in Denver for the All-Star Game if not for injuries. He’s batting .257 while slugging 11 home runs and stealing 11 bags.
10. Giancarlo Stanton
Stanton still has one of the most powerful swings in baseball and has hit some of the hardest home runs this season.
He has 42 RBI, 15 home runs and a .270 batting average entering the second half of the season.
The Yankees other “Tower of Power”rounds out our list of the Top 10 Black and brown MLB players so far in 2021.