Michael Brantley has brought the juice to the Houston offense since returning from a hamstring injury on June 8th. He now leads all of Major League Baseball in batting average and his Astros sit in first place in the American League after winning nine of their last 10 games.
Brantley left for the Injured List and returned as a man possessed. Entering Tuesday night’s game Brantley is 24-for-47 with a .511 batting average, seven doubles, 14 RBI, 11 runs, six walks, a triple and a home run in 12 games this month, catapulting him to first place in the Majors with a .350 batting average.
It’s no surprise to us that Brantley, or as we call him, “The Professional, ” is getting the job done at the plate. He has been one of the most consistent hitters in baseball throughout his 13-year career. Brantley is a career .299 batter and has been to four All-Star Games. This season Brantley is leading the American League with 21 doubles and his .350 average is .10 higher than second place in baseball.
Brantley’s play over this past weekend against Tim Anderson and the Chicago White Sox put the entire league on notice. The Astros broke out the brooms at home as they swept their four-game set. Michael got the party in H-Town started Thursday night with a three-run home run in the first inning. He finished the series hitting 5-for-16 with six RBI, three runs, a double, triple and that three-run shot.
Michael Brantley is absolutely destroying baseballs this season. This 3 run bomb raises his average to .347 on the year pic.twitter.com/va9Xo5dePO
Since his June 8th return from the Injured List, Brantley has eight multi-hit games and four games with multiple runs batted in, all while his Astros have a record of 11-2. They have the best record in the American League and are two games behind the San Francisco Giants for the best record in baseball.
Brantley was a member of the 2019 Astros team that reached the World Series but lost in seven games to the Washington Nationals and former MLBbro World Series MVP Howie Kendrick. He, along with manager Dusty Baker have some postseason demons they must deal with. A championship ring for both this season would solidify their careers and put some much-needed respect on their names.
Cincinnati Reds pitching prospect Hunter Greene had fans and team executives on the edge of their seats as he began his first Triple-A start for the Louisville Bats by imposing his will on opposing batter.
Now he’s breathing down the back of MLB competition and chomping at the bit to start flaming batters.
The Cincinnati Reds’ top prospect gave up four home runs and a walk for the Bats, but he also gave hitters the gas face with eight strikeouts in a 6-5 defeat at Omaha.
The 2017 second-overall pick threw 46 of his 73 pitches for strikes to finish his rollercoaster ride of a day by striking out the side in order in the fourth inning.
Don’t buy too much stock in the home run narrative, as in all actuality, we know that hitters eschew at the plate when facing such exorbitant pitches. Instead, hitters will stick their bats out over the plate to stop the mortification with hopes of making contact.
Guys with mega-high velocity are generally relievers, not starting pitchers.
Since 2008 only five pitchers sniffed the 104-mph mark in Major League history, including closer Aroldis Chapman, who did it 67 times in his illustrious career, and fellow MLB bro Jordan Hicks, who did it 12 times.
Top prospect Hunter Greene has been promoted to the Bats!
Greene dominated on the mound during his time with Double-A Chattanooga. He fanned 60 hitters in 41 innings while allowing only 27 batters to hit safely, leading to a 5-0 record and a 1.98 earned run average.
Those accumulated stats were Greene’s first game action since 2018 after he missed all of 2019 due to Tommy John surgery and 2020 due to the pandemic.
Before receiving the call to the Reds Triple-A affiliate, Greene, in his final outing, struck out nine in six shutout innings for the Chattanooga Lookouts.
Reds manager David Bell addressed the following about the possibility of Greene making the jump to the show.
Bell told Cincinnatti.com, ” I don’t think that’s unreasonable for any guys in Triple-A.” He added, ” He is getting close.”
Greene is more than close to making his jump to the pro level. The race is on between him and Vanderbilt sensation Kumar Rocker as to who will become the next great Black pitcher.
The results of his debut may not have been overwhelming, but Greene still impressed the masses with his velocity during his final three innings before getting pulled. With performances such as this under his belt, Greene, sooner rather than later, may force the Reds hand to make the call.
It was the culmination of a Father’s Day weekend that saw MLBbros take center stage, show up and show out.
It was poetic that so many Black and brown players had big games this weekend, especially on Saturday.
2021 marks the first year that America has officially designated Juneteenth as a federal holiday.
As with so many things that intersect with the Black experience in this country, there is both pride and sorrow in the holiday.
Black players have been integral to the longevity and appeal of baseball, and yet part of the reason that this very website exists is to shine a light on those who have been overlooked or undervalued throughout the history of the sport.
No one got overshadowed this weekend.
The Black Knights of Major League Baseball were swinging their swords with ferocity and leading their teams to victories.
From the National League to the American League, from newbies to vets, the crack of the bats could be heard across the country.
I don’t envy the job that my colleague Malik Wright will have in compiling his weekly High 5 of the best players of the week. There are enough stats from just the past couple of days that could have three times as many players getting some serious consideration.
Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come, with some balance being restored between offense and defense on the diamond.
Here’s a recap of some of the biggest plays and moments; in case you missed them.
Semien vs Mullins
Marcus Semien and Cedric Mullins put on a show at Camden Yards. The two combined to go 4-for-9 with five runs, five RBI, and four home runs between them. It was a night that was as good as it gets for two certain All-Stars.
Entering Sunday’s games, Mullins, who still doesn’t rank among the top-3 vote-getters among AL outfielders, has been having an amazing month of June. In 15 games, he’s batted .424, slugging .881 with an OPS of 1.389.
He ranks first in the American League in slugging and OPS this month while sitting second in both batting average and hits (25), and fourth in runs scored (15) and home runs (7).
Semien meanwhile has been the steady presence in the Toronto Blue Jays lineup. His five home runs in June have already surpassed his total from May, and he’s equaled his April output.
Two players in top form, showing up and showing out. What more could you ask?
Semien didn’t waste any time in getting the party started in Baltimore, leading off the game with a towering 405-foot blast to left field.
After finishing the series with a 2-1 win on Sunday, the Yankees sit 4.5 games behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL East with plenty of games left to play.
Houston’s Hit Machine
Michael Brantley is on fire.
In 11 games in the month of June (he was out from May 24-June 7 with injury), he’s had seven multi-hit games, and an AL-best .475 batting average. His average has jumped 36 points, from .305 to .341 over that span, putting him in a three-way tie for tops in all of baseball.
Saturday night he delivered more of the same, going 2-4 with two RBI, and a run scored as Houston beat the Chicago White Sox 7-3.
In the bottom of the 10th, it was Crawford standing on second as the designated runner to open the inning. One pitch into the inning, Mitch Haniger’s single brought Crawford home, giving Seattle their 16th come-from-behind win, and their seventh win in eight extra-inning games.
Mitch Haniger Walks it off on the Fiest Pitch of the Bottom of the 10th for the Seattle Steelheads (Mariners) with a Walk Off single to bring home JP Crawford and beat the Rays in Extras pic.twitter.com/as7M1mtcHq
— MLB Walk Offs & Game Winning Plays (@MLBWalk_Offs) June 20, 2021
What made it doubly special was that Seattle was wearing the uniforms of the Negro League Seattle Steelheads. For Crawford, it was a moment he’ll never forget.
“It hit me a little differently today with everything going on with Juneteenth and wearing those jerseys,” said Crawford. “It was just so special to me.”
It was a special weekend across MLB for so many players, both on the field and in their hearts. With the level of talented brothers doing their thing on a daily basis, there’s definitely a lot of content for MLBbro.com to cover and deliver straight to your computer, tablet, or smartphone.
Tommy Pham is doing everything in his power to keep the San Diego Padres in contention.
Over his last 10 games, Pham has affected the boxscore in every way possible. Not only is he hitting .375 (15-40) while scoring 10 runs and knocking in 3 runs and hitting a couple of homers. He’s also coaxed 4 walks and even swiped 2 bags.
He’s definitely in a soul brother show-glow-groove.
But like all quality ballplayers, Tommy knows he can do more.
Tommy Pham gave the Padres a 1-0 lead with this 1st inning homer:
“The only thing missing from my game is the consistency with the power,” he told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “I’m still working on it. Power comes in bunches. But also, there is a consistency element to it as well. I always feel I want to leave a series with one or two extra-base hits.”
While Pham has only hit 6 home runs so far, his recent offensive explosion hit the breaks on an early-season skid that had him looking like a shell of himself.
“Everyone has a bad 150 at-bats, mine just happened in April. So now I’ve got to do everything I can to make everything level out. It’s a frustrating game. You can do everything right and still not reap the benefits of it.”
This offseason, that last sentence almost came to fruition for Pham in the worst way possible. According to San Diego Police, eyewitness reports say Pham was attacked after asking two strangers involved in an argument near his car to move.
The stab wound was not life-threatening, but lately, fans have made it difficult to put the incident behind him. Pham has noticed an increase in fan rowdiness and has even had his offseason assault used to taunt him.
“Fans have been very disrespectful this year,” Pham said. “I need to talk to the MLB. The vulgarity this year, the gestures, I’ve never seen it at this level. I want to know if this is just because fans have been gone for a year and now they’re back and acting a certain way. That (stuff) shouldn’t be tolerated.”
Pham makes a great point mentioning the fact fans have been away from the ballpark, and recent incidents across sports have seen fans acting out in an unusually bold manner. But while the hiatus may have indeed fueled what’s happening, we cannon write this off as typical “fan behavior”.
Still, the negative doesn’t stop Pham from contributing to everything that makes the sport of baseball great for the community.
CC Sabathia retired from baseball in 2019 after a successful career. Ever since he’s retired from the league, he’s been putting in work and transforming his body.
Sabathia certainly doesn’t look how he did when he was playing. Our MLBbro is out here looking like a bodybuilder and he looks like he can still dominate on the mound.
Though Sabathia had success throughout his career, his weight was something he struggled with.
“My tagline as a baseball player was mass equals gas,” Sabathia said in an episode of Men’s Health’s Eat Like. “And I always thought the bigger I was, the better I pitched. And that was always the case for me.”
At one point during his career, he weighed over 300 pounds. 342 pounds to be exact.
But if you saw a recent picture of him and didn’t know who he was, you would never think he weighed that much.
It’s a process and a consistent routine that Sabathia sticks to daily. And it’s not all about working out, he’s eating healthier as well which is a good balance to have.
As you can see, his hard work is definitely paying off.
According to a Yahoo.com article, Sabathia wakes up around 6:30 a.m. to eat breakfast and then heads to the gym to work out with his trainer.
That is something Sabathia does six days a week and he’s not showing any signs of slowing down.
Sabathia had a health scare towards the end of his career and that prompted a change to his health.
It was in 2018 when he was doing a training session with his trainer.
“I was in there working out, and he was like bro, you’re white,” Sabathia told Menshealth.com. “You need to go get checked out.”
When he went to the hospital, he ended up needing a stent because of a 90 percent blockage in an artery to his heart.
That will wake somebody up for sure and open their eyes to see that a change needs to be made.
Sabathia wasted no time and after he retired, he got to work.
The lefty had an exceptional career on the mound. He played 19 seasons in the league and during that time he won a World Series title and won an AL Cy Young award.
Not to mention he was a six-time All-Star and led the league in wins twice.
He finished his career with 251 wins and 3,093 strikeouts.
Those are some impressive accomplishments and numbers right there and he was doing that weighing close to 300 pounds.
Just think, if Sabathia had the body he has now and was in the league, he could have been even more dominant.
But he still was able to make a name for himself and establish himself as one of the most dominant pitchers to ever take the mound.
It won’t be too long until his name will be called in Cooperstown. But until then you might want to follow his journey because the transformation he has made is a sight to see.