The glovework wasn’t helping his case for more playing time either.
His difficulties on the defense took center stage when he misjudged a ball in the leftfield vs. the New York Yankees, leading to a concussion.
Peace does not come without conflict.
After finishing his collegiate career with the Florida State Seminoles, the 27-year-old slashed .344/.481/.570 with an OPS of 1.051 and 27 long balls. A dominant college career led to Stewart getting selected 25th in the 2015 MLB Draft.
Like most draftees, Stewart stayed committed to his craft as he spent three years in the Minor Leagues.
Stewart struggled to adjust to pro pitching and had down years in 2015 and 2016, before he eventually taking his game to the next level by slashing .279/.389/.448 during Single-A ball.
He continued his climb during the 2017 season as he raked .278/.378/.481 in 457 digs in the dirt. He continued to display serious power potential and set a career-high for the Bowie Baysox with 21 home runs.
Numbers such as those had fans and the team executives clamoring for the organization to call up the new bird.
So, in 2018, as the entire league expanded their rosters during the waning months of the season, DJ did what most baseball fans dream of by making his debut in the show.
2019 brought a plethora of injuries for the young sensation, and 2020 was the pandemic – shortened season in which Stewart spent most of the year balancing acts with the Orioles while also receiving rehab stints before eventually going on a tear.
When he gets rolling, their are few players who can match Stewart’s power surge.
During the early parts of September, he hit six homers in as many games.
Those kinds of numbers re-shined the spotlight on Stewart as the Orioles outfielder flashed potential by displaying power & grace at the plate.
For the black & orange, Stewart was repackaged ahead of the 2021 season like a newfound toy as his hot streak started against the globally known Yankees franchise, as mentioned earlier.
Unless the team calls up more competition, Stewart will have less to worry about as, like anything worth fighting for, consistency is the key to success.
Let the power slugger that runs like a gazelle continue to get more opportunities against big-league pitching to where he can hone his craft and come into his own as the spark is prevalent; he just needs something or someone to help light his fuse.
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.
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.
Marcus Semien came into the 2021 season with one goal.
After a disappointing 2020 ended with the Oakland A’s declining to tender Semien a new contract, the nine-year MLB vet signed a one-year, $18 million deal with the Toronto Blue Jays looking to prove that his 2019 top-3 MVP finish was no fluke.
So far, Semien has met and exceeded expectations for the Blue Jays. He shook off an early slump and started raking from the lead off spot, earning the opportunity to represent Toronto in this year’s All-Star game.
The quick adjustment combined with his return to 2019 form at the plate, all while learning a new position, has provided the steady hand a young Blue Jays team needs if it wants to compete in a loaded NL East.
It’s particularly impressive when you consider Marcus has been able to accomplish all of this despite the Blue Jays being banned from their home ballpark.
Baseball players are big on their routines. Those who have been around the game for years would even go as far as to categorize it as ritualistic. From pregame meals to the route they take to the ballpark, for many athletes this set routine plays a part in their everyday success.
Unfortunately for Semien and the Blue Jays, the Canadian Government enacted a strict travel ban that forced the team to find a temporary home. In one of the most ridiculous solutions in recent memory, the Blue Jays have split time between two minor league ballparks in completely different states.
The Blue Jays began the season at their spring training ballpark in Dunedin, Florida before transitioning to Sahlen Field in Buffalo, NY. Neither of these ballparks is fit to host Major League Baseball, and the players have noticed the difference between their “home” ballpark and the road.
“I’ve enjoyed being on the road this year, just because we’re playing in big league stadiums,” Semien told Toronto media. “It’s a little different here … I do enjoy living here off the field but I think a lot of us wish we were in a big league ballpark. So yes, when you go on the road you may get boo’d or no one cheers for you, but that’s how it is here in Dunedin too.”
The fan experience in Buffalo was much better than in Dunedin, but you still had the same issue; a Major League ball club in a minor league park.
Fortunately for Semien and the Blue Jays, the Canadian Government has finally allowed them to return home to the fan (and hitter) friendly Rogers Centre beginning July 30th. The question now is how much will Semien benefit from the change?
After what has already been a phenomenal season, a strong finish to the 2021 campaign will finally land him the long-term contract he’s proven he deserves.
With those numbers you think he would be a shoe in to make the All-Star team. But unfortunately Crawford did not. The abundance of shortstop talent made him the odd man out.
Not being selected to the All-Star Game had Crawford feeling some type of way. “I was hurt. I still am,” Crawford told mlb.com when he was not selected. “I thought I had a shot to definitely be there. It’s a shame. I really wanted to represent Seattle…”
Though Crawford wasn’t selected to play in the All-Star Game, he knows that there is a lot more at stake this season.
Crawford has emerged as a leader in his third season with the Seattle Mariners. He is becoming a well-rounded, highly-confident player.
“I know I can compete with the best of them now, so I’ve just got to stay healthy,” Crawford said.
“My first game here in ‘19, I was just trying to stay quiet, show these guys what I could do and stay out of the way,” Crawford said. “And now I feel like this is my team. And I feel that energy. Guys come up to me. I want them to come up to me. And I want to be that guy because I’ve always been that leader-type role, and I’m ready for it. This is my team. I want to lead us to the promised land.”
Our MLBbro is ready to help lead his team to the playoffs and he’s determined to build on the success he had during the 2020 season.
Through 96 games, Crawford has a .270 batting average with five home runs and 31 RBI.
Though he didn’t make the All-Star team, Crawford is going to continue to show why he’s one of the top players in the league and he’ll be a Bro you definitely need to know during the second half of the season.
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:
"Keep talking shit!" -John Nogowski
"Nobody is fucking talking shit to you!" -Marcus Stroman
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
He was hitting .271 before the break and had another hit streak earlier in July. Harrison had a four-game hitting streak from July 6th to July 9th.
So far July has been a good month for Harrison, especially at the plate.
While Harrison has been having success at the plate, he’s also been having a little fun with the fans.
In a series against the San Diego Padres, Harrison had some interaction with some fans.
“It’s good banter,” Harrison said on the MASN postgame show July 7th. “Nothing, you know, that’s too harsh. Good talk. They’re cheering for their team, but I’m talking trash back. I don’t really get to get out there too often, so when they talk trash, [the way] my family grew up, if you can dish it, you’ve got to be able to take it. I’m just giving them a little taste of their own medicine, and I think I got them a little bit.”
For Harrison, he enjoys the interaction and it’s all part of the game to him.
“Given how last season was, no fans, being back out there, it just feels good to have them out there, whether they’re rooting for you or not,” he said.
“They’ve been good sports, trying to get me out of my game, thinking they’re getting in my head. It’s always a lot easier to have the last laugh with the win.”
The fan interaction is a plus for Harrison and he’s been doing his thing at the plate too.
Having fans in attendance makes the game that much better and the atmosphere is one to remember.
Harrison is in his second season with the Nationals and he’s become a fan favorite, especially during the past few months this season.
He is a player you want on your team because he brings experience and is a leader in the dugout.
This is why the Nationals went after Harrison, his ability to hit the ball adds value to their lineup and he can play the infield or outfield.
Harrison is a player you want to keep an eye out for especially this second half of the season. He can help the Nationals in a big way.