He’s also the son of former University of Richmond basketball standout Kenny Wood.
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.
— MLBbro.com (@MLBbrodotcom) August 3, 2022
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.
Trent Grisham walk-off home run! pic.twitter.com/kPKBBVdi5U
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) August 3, 2022
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.
The days of forecasting, guessing and debating about player movement finally ended at the trading deadline on Tuesday as the deal between the Washington Nationals and San Diego Padres stole the headlines and news cycle.
It was no surprise to anyone that Juan Soto was on his way out of Washington after turning down a massive 15-year, $440 million offer from the Nationals. It wasn’t a question of when Soto was leaving as opposed to where he was going. With the Padres having a cache of young talent to offer the Nats, that was the tipping point to make the deal.
The deal, which has not yet been totally finalized at the time of publication, is as follows:
The San Diego Padres receive:
Outfielder Juan Soto and first baseman Josh Bell
The Washington Nationals receive:
Left-handed pitcher, Mackenzie Gore and outfielder, Robert Hassell III, Shortstop C.J. Abrams and Outfielder, James Wood. One more player to be named later.
Went on SportsCenter to talk about the Juan Soto blockbuster. We will have much, much more on our trade deadline special today from 4 to 6 p.m. on ESPN. pic.twitter.com/WigOpc8fFU
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) August 2, 2022
While Juan Soto is the undisputed headliner that was no surprise, it is a mild surprise that our MLBbro, Josh Bell was added in the deal even though we had monitored possible moves for over a month. MLBro.com had San Diego on the radar as one of Bell’s possible destinations.
Speaking of Eric Hosmer, he is the reason that the deal is not officially complete yet. He rejected the trade with his no trade clause and either has to sign off on the deal or a third team has to be a part of the deal. Most recent reports have him waiving his no-trade clause and going to the Red Sox in a deal.
With Eric Hosmer out of the Juan Soto trade after rejecting a deal to Washington, the Boston Red Sox swooped in and will acquire him from San Diego, sources tell ESPN. The finances are unclear: Padres could pick up a chunk of money — or could send along a prospect with Hosmer.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) August 2, 2022
Josh Bell Is The X-Factor
The undisputed jewel for right now in this deal is our MLBbro, Josh Bell. While Soto has put 21 balls in the seats with 46 RBI, he is hitting .an uncharacteristic 246 for the season, which makes Bell’s short-term contributions all the more impressive this season.
Our MLBbro is hitting a career high .301 with 14 homers and 57 RBI. The former 2019 All-Star has produced 127 dingers with 454 RBI over his career. The Padres may have collected the best hitter in the open market in a virtual steal. A change in mechanics and mindset this year allows him to be a better opposite field hitter while cutting down strikeouts.
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) May 14, 2022
Now while San Diego’s odds of winning a World Series has shot through the roof, the Nationals sit at the bottom of the MLB standings and have officially started a total rebuild, having lost four of their last five games. That doesn’t mean Washington did not accomplish their short-term goal of getting young talent to develop.
Two MLBbro prospects are arriving in Washington by the names of C.J. Abrams and James Wood.
Abrams was San Diego’s top prospect and was ranked sixth in the MiLB rankings in 2021. After spending time in the Double A affiliate San Antonio Missions last year, he was called up this season and has impressed many with his defense and his willingness to use the entire field at the plate.
Our 21-year-old MLBbro has hitting slashes of .231/.280/.322 in 134 plate appearances. This small sample size should not be used as an indictment of his budding potential. The Nationals are very well known for their player development and Abrams should flourish with more opportunities on the field to finish the season.
This analysis is basically the minor league prospect version of the Juan Soto/Juan Bell analysis above. While C.J. Abrams is the coveted acquisition with unbridled potential, James Wood could be the diamond in the rough that could become a star in the future. Even though James is in the Single A ranks, he is tearing up the league with a hitting slash of .337/.453/.601 with 10 homers. This includes a three homer, seven steal stretch in 21 games after returning from a wrist injury.
Wood is a 6-foot-7 tower weighing 240 pounds with power, athleticism and speed that the Nationals front office can sell to its fanbase with comparisons to a famous player in New York named Aaron Judge.
He’s also the son of former University of Richmond basketball standout Kenny Wood.
Projections have the talented Wood ready for the big leagues in 2025, but don’t underestimate the selling point of this MLBbro. With Washington’s record and offensive fire sale trading away their two best contributors, the franchise may have a lot of explaining to do on what their plans are for the future.
Almost a month to the day MLBbro.com did a feature on the future of Josh Bell (who some believed was playing well enough to participate in this year’s All-Star game) on the potential trade rumors surrounding him. Even though the Washington Nationals were very pleased with our MLBbro’s production this season, it was clear that signing Juan Soto to a long term extension was their first priority. Washington Nationals GM Mike Rizzo made that clear during spring training.
“Josh Bell is a guy that we really like, we made a trade for,” Rizzo said. “We’re concentrating on seeing if we can get something done with Juan Soto first. Like I said before, he’s our No.1 priority and we’re going to attack that one before we move on to anybody else.”
What a difference 30 days make. The Nationals “attacked” and “concentrated” on their No.1 priority to the tune of a 15-year $440 million extension offer which was considerably higher than the 13-year, $350 million offer before the lockout. Soto declined the offer and the trade rumors took off, attaching him to possible teams with the financial resources to afford arguably the most decorated slugger of this era going forward. It didn’t take long for theories of Juan Soto being a pawn in the contract negotiations between the New York Yankees and Aaron Judge…
Trading for Juan Soto wouldn't stop the Yankees from extending Aaron Judge pic.twitter.com/bY8mja2oSh
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) July 27, 2022
For the record, NO ONE on the MLBbro.com staff believes that Judge will don no other uniform other than the Yankees pinstripes due to the fact that he is hitting homers like he has personal
stock in Major League pitching.
If there was a conspiracy theory that the Yankees were trying to use Soto as a bargaining piece, our top MLBBro sent out yet another reminder of who he is and what he accomplishes on a consistent basis.
— MLB (@MLB) July 29, 2022
His four homers against the Kansas City Royals this week sent his home run total to 42 in only 101 games which is the third highest total since 2000 behind Barry Bonds 42 and Luis Gonzalez’s 41, both in 2001.
But with Juan Soto almost certainly to be traded at some point and even though the Yankees are interested, they will never let Judge walk because of a low bridge offer. So, where does that leave Josh Bell?
With Soto’s potential departure, Bell’s stock may have risen considerably since Washington gave him a one year, $10 million deal last offseason just to avoid arbitration. Unlike Juan Soto, our MLBbro is a free agent after this season and his production this season has made sure that he will have numerous suitors up until the trade deadline on Aug. 2nd. MLBbro.com listed the
Los Angeles Dodgers, the San Diego Padres and Minnesota Twins were potential suitors last month. Now it seems that the Houston Astros are in the mix making a strong effort to land Bell according to MLB on Fox.
The Astros are being "fairly aggressive" with the trade deadline approaching, according to @Ken_Rosenthal.
Josh Bell & a catcher/center fielder are currently on their radar: pic.twitter.com/eaPZpsYSEy
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) July 28, 2022
Whether it be the Astros or the Milwaukee Brewers (another team in the hunt) that lands Bell, they will be getting instant production to build a postseason roster. Our MLBbro currently has a .302 batting average with an impressive .877 OPS and 13 home runs in only 99 games.
It seems that Josh Bell understands the business surrounding him and his talk weeks ago with The Athletic’s David Aldridge shows that he enjoys the organization and the DC area.
“It’s one of those things where it’s kind of out of my hands,” Bell said. “We’ll definitely see what happens. But I think the organization knows how pleased I am being here, with the city and all that, and with the community as a whole. I think this organization does pretty much everything. So I’m definitely happy to throw on the Nationals jersey.”
Very classy words to describe a team with the worst record in the major leagues. But if Bell is traded, it’s almost certain that he will be moved to a winning situation and playing games that matter, which is something that he is definitely ready for.
“I feel like it’s one of the things that you strive to be in as a kid,” Bell told reporters. “It’s a scenario where the game’s on the line, you want the bat in your hands, you want the opportunity to win it. So that’s what makes this game fun.”
What’s going to be fun for baseball fans is this upcoming weekend with the trade deadline fast approaching on Tuesday.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are on an epic run to distance themselves from their divisional rivals, the San Diego Padres. Remember about six weeks ago when the Padres had whittled the Dodgers’ NL West lead down to 1.5 games?
Well, the alarm clock sounded, and Los Angeles went on a winning streak that produced 19 wins in 21 contests. Not only have the Dodgers extended their division lead to 11.5 games, but they have pulled within percentage points from having the best record in baseball behind the New York Yankees.
But while All-Star, Mookie Betts deservedly commands the headlines in Dodger Nation…
It is well known in sports that midseason moves that stay under the radar can be the final piece to a championship team. MLBbro.com is starting to believe that Trayce Thompson is that piece if the Dodgers make it to the World Series in late September to early October.
Let’s check the scenario of the Los Angeles Dodgers prior to June 20 when Thompson arrived. The Dodgers were below .500 in a 17-game stretch with a 7-10 record that included losses to the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Cleveland Guardians and a painful sweep by the San Francisco Giants.
What made things worse, Mookie Betts was injured, and AJ Pollock was let go. When the Dodgers acquired our MLBbro from the Detroit Tigers for cash considerations, it was strictly a stopgap move to add outfield depth and considering his brother Klay had just won the NBA championship recently, a little PR marketing wouldn’t hurt either.
— MLB (@MLB) July 24, 2022
But Trayce Thompson has become more than just a fill-in for Mookie Betts or a cheap marketing stunt. Our MLBbro has become a factor that is not only a positive on the field but in the front office where checks are being written for this championship run.
To start, Thompson’s play has been so impressive that the franchise has options to protect their franchise player by allowing him time in the infield to protect his ribs if needed.
Starting with the 25 games that Thompson has played, he has shown he is the two-way player who can be on the postseason roster in a few months. His 0.5 oWAR, 0.3 dWAR, 115 wRC+ with four defensive runs saved shows that he can make plays that can affect games much like his superstar teammates.
Trayce Thompson goes into the stands for a wild grab! pic.twitter.com/jMvp2dFrgE
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) July 24, 2022
His batting slashes of .284/.360/.493 with two homers and 13 RBI is exactly what the Dodgers are looking for with role players giving out maximum production that can be sustained at opportune times.
This production could change how much the Dodgers are willing to spend as we approach the trade deadline on August 2. With Juan Soto on the trading block after turning down a 15-year $440 million offer from the Washington Nationals, the Dodgers are one of the few franchises with the resources to acquire him.
But is it worth it to spend the type of money to get Soto and deplete the young talent coming in the future while Thompson is doing exactly what the franchise needs, and dominating baseball the past month, for a fraction of the price? Now the Dodgers have the option to get a less expensive left-handed hitter who feasts on left-handed pitching and can platoon with Thompson for the rest of the season into the playoffs.
While Trayce’s star is rising, humility has not left his DNA as he credits his coaches for his success via Dodgerblue.com.
“I know I was in Triple-A most of the year, or for a good chunk of the season, but I feel I’ve been in a good spot,” Thompson said… “And honestly, I feel like I have been searching a little bit here. But I feel like my at-bats have been a little consistent, but they can definitely get better.”
Trayce Thompson. That is all. pic.twitter.com/8RrUhLoQEW
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) July 26, 2022
“These guys have been awesome working with me. All three hitting coaches, and even a lot of other coaches just talking, just having conversations and obviously all these guys in the locker room. But in my opinion, it can get a lot better. I kind of strive for that every day.”
Our MLBbro and the Los Angeles Dodgers will see how long this relationship lasts particularly on August 3, the day after the trade deadline.
This MLBbro story is an easy, feel-good story about a hometown boy growing up watching his favorite team only to grow up and become a budding superstar years later. It’s a setup that would be a script from a Hollywood movie or an after school special on television.
So here’s MLBbro.com’s version of a script about our MLBbro, Michael Harris II.
Harris grew up less than an hour from Truist Park, the current home of the Atlanta Braves. His favorite players at that time had the same last name of Jones, Andruw and Chipper. As he grew older, Freddie Freeman took the place of the older generation before he left for Los Angeles to play with the Dodgers.
When the Braves selected him in the third round at the 98th slot back in 2019, it really didn’t send shockwaves throughout the franchise or Major League Baseball. Now it looks like it’s a dream come true not just for Michael Harris II, but for the Atlanta Braves. If Harris II can continue on his early pace and improve, not only could he be the biggest steal in 2019, but the biggest steal possibly in the last 25 years.
When you look at the early production of Harris II and his salary, the word steal applies. In his first 29 games, our MLBbro hit .330 propelling him to the top of the list of the best rookies in baseball. Quite an achievement for a player that was promoted to the majors from Double-A on May 31st. Due to his late promotion, he gets the prorated amount of the league minimum ($700,000) which adds up to $20 short of $500,000 for the season.
Naturally when a player explodes on the scene without warning, experts start lining up past players to make comparisons. As of this writing, Harris II is already in the talks for NL Rookie of the Year. Can it be done after our MLBbro started his season in the majors just before the month of June? Yes, he can because MLBbro icon, Willie McCovey accomplished the feat after only 52 games.
Now the more streamlined comparison for Harris II these days is directed at Andruw Jones, who had a similar story by carving his way to Atlanta’s future at a young age. The Braves have now placed our young MLBbro in center field just like they did Jones and will keep him there for the immediate future.
The youngest player in the major leagues is wowing everyone with his instincts that allows him to make plays like a superstar veteran. Those instincts get him to areas to make difficult catches and make powerful throws that have hit triple digit levels from the outfield.
Michael Harris threw a 93.9 mph strike. Just an insane play. pic.twitter.com/ULQqjMBCJs
— Justin Toscano (@JustinCToscano) July 15, 2022
His mindset which he described to Forbes.com shows that his maturity far belies his age.
“I play certain situations in my head,” he said. “And that actually was one of those situations. Before it happened, I actually was asking for the ball to come to me, so I could have a chance to throw the runner out.”
Plays like these not only have him in the conversation of being a top rookie, but for the Gold Glove, an award Andruw Jones has won 10 times in a row during the Braves’ 14-year divisional title run that dominated the 90’s into the 2000s.
MLBbro coach Ron Washington puts the exploits of Michael Harris II in the proper perspective without placing unneeded pressure on the young man with the Andruw Jones comparisons.
“He’s only been with us for a month,” he said of Harris II. “He has talent, and we can certainly see he has some athletic awareness out there. But trying to compare him with Andruw Jones isn’t doing justice to Michael Harris.”
“Let’s put it this way: we’re certainly pleased with the way he’s playing. The talk was he could help us defensively. We didn’t know what we were going to get out of him offensively. So far he’s surprised everyone. At the time he came up, our outfield was in disarray. He solidified it. But to compare him to other people right now doesn’t help. We have to allow him to get his feet wet at the major league level.”
No disrespect to our MLBbro OG, but this Harris II deserves some flowers now. Despite playing less games, he has matched the home run total of Ronald Acuna Jr and Ozzie Albies.
The Atlanta Braves had better enjoy the hometown discount for this MLBbro’s production because time will run out real soon.