When MLBbro.com acquired the mission statement to cover and spotlight Black and brown baseball players from the past to present to the future, it was a huge undertaking, but a very necessary one. While doing that, the company has grown in reputation and contributions over the last three seasons, particularly after the pandemic.
MLB Still Struggling With African-American Representation
What’s even more impressive about MLBbro.com’s accomplishments and dedication is the small number of Black and brown players represented in the league and seemingly shrinking month to month. It’s challenging to keep track of the elevator between the minors and majors that many of them are constantly on. Certain teams don’t have any Black players, so covering them is also challenging and sad and angering at the same time.
According to MLBbro.com columnist, David Grubb in his weekly “Diamond Cuts” column, at the start of the 2022 season, MLBbros made up only 7.2 percent of the players on rosters on Opening day. This season, that percentage dropped a full percentage point to 6.2 percent.
With injuries to superstars, DFAs (“Designated for assignment” or released) and lack of representation in the All-Star Game, sometimes the mission of highlighting these sensational feats by Black ballplayers is difficult to do.
HOWEVER, when you have two dominant ballers like Judge and Mookie, there’s always something to discuss.
Who’s Hotter? Mookie Betts of the Los Angeles Dodgers or Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees?
Arguably the top two MLBbros in the game, Mookie Betts and Aaron Judge have been tearing up their opponents as of late. Whether it be four home runs in less than 24 hours (Judge) or getting a career high five hits in one game (Betts), it has been a run that has the staff of MLBbro.com wondering who is hotter right now.
Look to the fearless leader of the MLBbro movement, Rob Parker to foreshadow a possible debate going into the final month of the MLB season. Despite Ronald Acuna Jr., Freddie Freeman and Matt Olsen being the front runners for NL MVP, the MLBbro.com founder thinks the MVP is Betts, due to the defensive versatility that he brings to the red-hot Dodgers.
It seems that Betts should get the same recognition that the media gives to Shohei Ohtani for being able to pitch at a high level while leading all of baseball in home runs. Mookie has put in work in multiple positions all over the diamond including the outfield, shortstop and second base. Not only that, but he has also done a credible job at each position.
Despite his defensive prowess, t’s the offensive side of the ball that puts this MLBbro square in the middle of the MVP conversation. Overall, as of this writing, Mookie has a hitting slash of .310/.405/.605 with 34 homers, 89 RBI with 105 runs scored. He tops the majors with a 7.0 fWAR and is near the top with a rWAR of 6.9.
But the fact that Betts has turned himself into an amazing slugger at his size is the next level of his growth. Something that was a topic of conversation on MLB Network.
Mookie Betts is just one HR short of tying his career-high!
Betts is hitting over .440 going into this weekend series against the Boston Red Sox. Hopefully this series will be a continuation of the dominant performances as of late. He hit two homers on LeBron James bobblehead night and followed that up with his first career five-hit performance.
Bottom line, this MLBbro.com tweet says it all…
The Incredible Mr Mookie Betts keeps pounding as the season steadily moves towards October baseball for the LA Dodgers.
After going 5-for-5 in a game that started on Wednesday and ended on Thursday, the MLBbro is batting .567 during his current 11-game hit streak and has hit… pic.twitter.com/tOTV1rm5dk
While the Yankees do need to call 911 like Wyclef, MLBbro.com did have two individuals that could help the Yanks get back on track. But for now, Judge will have to carry the show as he set a career-high with three Bro Bombs against the Washington Nationals. Then the man dusted off another homer for his fourth in FIVE AT BATS in a 24-hour period!
Even though this is considered a sample size season due to his toe injury, his stats, comparable to other MLB players almost doesn’t make sense!
Judge’s HR rate this year at 9.1 AB/HR is better than last year at 9.2! Remember the man broke the American League home run record last year!
Despite missing 54 games up to this point of the season, Judge still leads the Yankees in homers (28) and RBI (55). (Gary Sheffield Jr.’s video makes even more sense now right?)
There are 148 players in the American League who have played more games than Aaron Judge’s 73. The number of players with more than Judge’s 28?…Four.
Baseball is still a business, and the Yankees still have to fill seats in what has turned into a disastrous season. It would be easy for this MLBbro MVP to shut it down and have surgery on his toe. He hasn’t done that. He has earned every penny of his new contract and might need a raise.
All of this while climbing the ladder in the Yankees record books.
Ahead of Mookie Betts’ return to Boston for the first time since being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, he went off!
He is riding the wave of an 11-game hitting streak with hits in 26 of their last 27 games and had the 28th multi-homer game of his career Saturday night. That earned him the top spot on the Week 20 #HighFive list.
He was given the honor of being named Rob Parker’s Home Boi Highlights after the show he put on in front of the Dodger faithful Saturday night.
Betts had the fifth multi-home run game of his season, hitting two solo shots in the third and then fifth innings, both times shouting out NBA superstar LeBron James with salutes as he crossed home plate.
The Dodgers would go on to win 3-1 and take the series against the surging Marlins.
Los Angeles is now 8-2 over their last 10 games and have a sizable 10 game lead in the National League West.
Since the August 1st trade deadline Bell is slashing .303/.376/.618 with those seven home runs, three doubles and 12 RBI.
Miami entered Thursday two games out of the final National League Wild Card playoff spot as they welcome the scrappy Washington Nationals to town this weekend before a matchup with state bragging rights on the line against Tampa Bay next week.
3. Tommy Pham
Tommy Pham has been a spark plug for the D-Backs since joining them at the trade deadline.
Arizona is one of the younger, more athletic teams in the Majors.
They have a solid pitching rotation but were in need of a right-handed bat to take pressure off the young guys and add more slugging to their lineup.
Pham has been their three-hole hitter since joining the team and this week he came up big: conquering trolling fans and collecting his first walk-off hit in his new threads.
Last Saturday in game one of a doubleheader in San Diego, Pham was recorded having a shouting match with fans behind home plate. That day, he went a combined 3-for-8 with his 13th home run of the year, a triple and a double.
Then came Tuesday where with his team down one with runners on second and third with two outs, Pham singled over the head of Marcus Semien to walk off the Rangers for a 4-3 victory.
4. Aaron Judge
Aaron Judge returns to the #HighFive list after having his first career three home run game Wednesday night against the Nationals. This season has been a disaster for the Yankees, but Judge continues to be the lone bright spot when healthy and available.
He is hitting .279 with a 1.051 slugging percentage and 28 home runs on the season.
Even With A Bum Toe, MLBbro Aaron Judge Is The Show, But He Can't Win Without Any Help
Major changes could be coming to New York this off-season so the question will be can they add talent around Judge to make the World Series contenders again or do they pull the plug and clean house for a much needed rebuild.
5. Tyrone Taylor
Tyrone Taylor, the hottest hitter on the hottest team in the Majors rounds out the #HighFive after a week that saw him slash .500/.565.900 and have a game tying homer.
“He is finally at full strength,” said Brewers manager Craig Counsell when asked what has contributed to Taylor’s recent success.
“Earlier this year he was not healthy. Since he has shaken off the injuries, I think the trajectory will continue to go up for him.”
Wednesday afternoon against the Twins Taylor hit a game-tying homer in the bottom of the 7th inning to even the score at six. The team would go on to win 8-7 in extras, their fifth win in a row and seventh in the last 10 games. The Brew Crew has a chance to spoil Trent Grisham and San Diego’s playoff chances this weekend when the teams meet for a three-game set.
Miguel Cabrera‘s two-run homer on Tuesday was just his second of the season but the 509th of his career, tying him with MLBbro Gary Sheffield for 26th on the all-time home run leaderboard.
The 40-year-old designated hitter is soaking up all the memories on his farewell tour. Cabrera has three seasons before 2023 where he’s hit 10 homers or less, but he’s just two homers away from another ranking bump and three blasts from tying the next MLBbro.
The all-time home run leaderboard is filled with Black ball players.
Barry Bonds stands atop the leaderboard with 762 dingers, a feat that may never be broken.
The commonality between Cabrera and almost all of these players is that they played at least 20 seasons in the Majors to reach their marks. Banks and Thomas played 19 seasons in the bigs.
Significance of Bro Bombers
When Negro League players and Black players breaking the color barrier in the Majors began to get coverage in the newspapers, it was clear the distinction between how the writers would categorize the players. If the player was white, they were often lauded for their intelligence and played the game the right way. But, Black players’ accomplishments were frequently attributed solely to their physical prowess, underscoring a glaring disparity in the portrayal of their achievements.
Amid the suffocating limitations that writers and baseball enthusiasts sought to impose upon them, these remarkable individuals rose to triumph, defying the constraints imposed upon them. And standing tall among these legends, it was Aaron who ignited a fervor, illuminating boundless potential.
“If I was white, all America would be proud of me,” Aaron said almost a year before he passed Ruth. “But I am Black.”
Hank Aaron Breaks Babe Ruth Home Run Record With 715
On April 8, 1974, the Atlanta legend became the new home run king, hitting his 715th homer and surpassing Babe Ruth, who’d held the record for 59 years.
“A breaker of records and racial barriers, his remarkable legacy will continue to inspire countless athletes and admirers for generations to come,” said former president Jimmy Carter, who often attended Braves games with his wife, Rosalynn.
Irrespective of one’s racial or ethnic background, the magnitude of Aaron’s feat in surpassing Ruth was universally acknowledged, serving as a potent source of inspiration for aspiring young Black athletes.
“The former Home Run King wasn’t handed his throne,” said former President George W. Bush, a one-time owner of the Texas Rangers, who presented Aaron in 2002 with the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the nation’s highest civilian honor. “He grew up poor and faced racism as he worked to become one of the greatest baseball players of all time. Hank never let the hatred he faced consume him.”
The inspiration would birth the next king of swat in Bonds.
On August 7, 2007, Bonds clobbered his 756th homer to overtake Aaron on the leaderboard.
“[He was] a trailblazer through adversity and setting an example for all of us African-American ballplayers who came after you,” Bonds gave praise to Aaron.
Can another MLBbro break the record?
The closest active MLBbro to Cabrera’s newest mark is Giancarlo Stanton, with 396 blasts. Stanton has played in the Majors for 14 years and currently averages 23 homers per season, which puts him on pace for 534 homers through his 20th season. His injury history, however, leaves much doubt as to whether he would reach the necessary number of seasons played.
When it comes to power stats, few players can compete with Stanton.
The 33-year-old designated hitter leads the Marlins in total home runs (59) since 2017, and he only played one of those seasons in Miami, with the remainder being for the Yankees.
Stanton has 76 career blasts with a 113 or more miles per hour exit velocity, which is the most tracked by Statcast (2015, including playoffs), ahead of teammate, current American League home run King, and MLBbro Aaron Judge.
The Bronx Bomber also has the most 460 or more-foot homers tracked by Statcast (2015, including playoffs) with 18.
Judge has the best chance to surpass Stanton and Cabrera. After his historic 2022 campaign, he currently averages 30 homers per season while only having played eight years in the Majors thus far, which puts him on pace for 602 career homers through 20 seasons of play. That would place him 10th all-time, just seven homers shy of tying Sammy Sosa.
When it comes to mainstream media, the spotlight and focus when it comes to a superstar’s injury is about the severity of the injury, the length of time on the injured list and the date of return. Since Aaron Judge tore his ligament in his toe, the New York Yankees waited patiently for his return, which was at the Baltimore Orioles last Friday.
Aaron Judge Is Back Against Baltimore & He Speaks | Says Toe Is “Not 100 %” But He’s Going All Out
It didn’t take long for the reigning MLBbro MVP to make a major impact and bring hope for the Yankees postseason chances. In Judge’s second game back, he went 3-5 with two RBI and a 442-foot blast into the cheap seats.
However, the most overlooked part of stories like this is the player who gets released so all these great things can happen. In this case, in order for Aaron Judge to return, another MLBbro was designated for assignment. In English, that means let go.
The Yankees released OF/DH Willie Calhoun last Friday. The team had brought Calhoun back to the roster after being on the 10-Day Injured List with a left quad strain.
During his short stint with the Yankees, this bro had a batting average of .239 with five homers and 16 RBI in 44 games. In Calhoun’s career, which includes time with the Yankees, San Francisco Giants (2022) and the Texas Rangers (2017-22), he has a career batting average of .240 with 37 round-trippers and 120 RBI in 301 games.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone had high praise for Calhoun, but as it turned out, he got caught up in the numbers game.
“[Calhoun] did a nice job with us,” manager Aaron Boone said before the Yankees took on the Orioles Friday night. “Really enjoy the person, too. He was a guy that was a lot of fun to be around, while also taking advantage of some opportunities and doing a really nice job with us. So those are the hard decisions that sometimes have to come up in the course of the season.”
What’s next for our MLBbro Willie Calhoun? If MLBbro.com is being honest, Willie Calhoun’s career in baseball is cloudy at best and just unknown at worst.
The Bright Side: If Calhoun can stay healthy, there is potential for him to be a platoon option and occasional offensive punch coming off the bench as a pinch-hitter.
Assuming that he makes it through waivers without any takers, Calhoun can go the free agent route (Think Aaron Hicks’ situation) and possibly get signed to a team directly. If a contender doesn’t make a splash at the trade deadline, a cheap low-risk option could be ideal for our MLBbro for an audition.
At 28, Calhoun is still young. Maybe a change of scenery with more opportunities (As if Willie Calhoun was going to start over Aaron Judge or Giancarlo Stanton!) can save his career.
The Dark Side: If Willie Calhoun wants to keep his Major League Baseball career going, he’s going to have to find a way to stay healthy. Injuries are close to derailing his career. Remember he was just coming off the 10-day IL when he was DFA’d.
His career high for games played in a season is only 83 with the Texas Rangers back in 2019.
The message is clear here. If a team does give Calhoun a chance, it might be his last if he brings the injury bug with him. His resume is dominated by his injury history and it may scare teams that are thinking about signing or trading for him.
Retroactive as of Friday, the New York Yankees have seven days to either trade Willie Calhoun or place him on waivers. Let’s see how this plays out next week.