Michael Brantley has been one of the best hitters on the planet through the first three of weeks June, while attempting to be the only current player in the Majors with an average of .300 or over for five consecutive seasons. Baseball’s silent assassin, “The Professional”, earns the top spot in Week 11 of our #HighFive List.
1. Michael Brantley
This month Brantley is batting .390 with a .525 slugging percentage and two home runs, including a grand slam last week against the White Sox.
Brantley, a five-time All-Star, has been one of the best at making solid contact this season.
His 24% contact rate is the second-highest rating in the league at producing hard contact this season, only trailing teammate Yordan Alvarez’s 26.5%. Other MLBbros Mookie Betts (22.2%) and Aaron Judge (21.4%) follow Brantley on that list.
Brantley has a hit in 15 of 16 games played this month, including eight with multiple hits.
In 21 of his last 22 appearances, he has not allowed a run to score.
Williams and his Brewers will welcome the Toronto Blue Jays to Milwaukee this weekend.
4. Money Michael Harris II
Michael “Money” Harris II has been the perfect fit for Braves Country since he was promoted to the Majors on May 28th. He makes the #HighFive for the second time in his short career.
The Atlanta native and Stockbridge High School graduate was ranked as the Braves top prospect at the beginning of the season. He will lose that title soon as he has shown he won’t be leaving the Big Leagues anytime soon.
Over his last seven games, Harris is hitting .333 with a home run, three RBI and four runs scored while giving Braves fans a glimpse into a future outfield that includes him and superstar outfielder Ronald Acuna, Jr.
Despite his late start, Harris II is already in the conversation for this year’s National League Rookie of The Year award. He already has one of the higher WAR ratings among all rookies.
This weekend Harris and the Braves welcome the Dodgers to Atlanta for the first time since defeating them in last year’s National League Championship series.
5. Taylor Trammell
When opportunity knocks you have to answer. That’s what Taylor Trammell has done since joining the Mariners in late May after a hamstring injury delayed the start of his season.
Trammell is getting significant playing time with the injury to Kyle Lewis as well as other struggles in the Mariners outfield and Trammell has made the most of it.
Over his last seven games, he is batting .313 with a .625 slugging percentage, four walks, a home run and four runs scored. This weekend Trammell and the Mariners will be in L.A. to take on the Los Angeles Angels.
Washington D.C.’s next ace Josiah Gray takes the No. 1 spot on our first #High/Five list of the season.
Josiah Gray is going to be the nation’s capitals next ace and he wants that crown sooner rather than later.
After starting off 2022 showing why he was rated as a top prospect for the Dodgers last year, he leads the wave on this years first #High/Five list.
The Nationals traded away Max Scherzer and Trea Turner, two pillars of their franchise, for Gray and another prospect at last season’s trade deadline. They believe the deal will be worth it in the future.
In his last 10.1 innings he has allowed just one run and struck out 13 hitters. Gray also gave up only four hits and won both starts.
He’ll look to continue his winning ways Sunday against the San Francisco Giants.
Hunter Greene is already a superstar. He’s one player that needs to be on the mound in this year’s All-Star Game, in his hometown of Los Angeles, to show the world.
Greene had one of what will be many MLB moments in just his second career start, on the Dodger Stadium mound last Saturday night.
He broke the Major League record for most pitches thrown over 100 MPH in a game (39), finishing the game throwing 5.1 innings, striking out six, and only allowing two runs against one of the baseball’s best lineups.
Greene began his career facing two tough opponents. He got the win in his debut versus the World Champion Braves striking out seven in five innings and only giving up three runs.
The No.2 overall pick in the 2017 Draft will have another tough test this Friday as he takes the mound against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Josh Bell has been one of the best hitters on the planet and continues to shine during his time in D.C. He’s already earned the honor of being named in Rob Parker’s Homeboi Highlights.
Going into Thursday, Bell ranks 13th in the Majors in batting average and has collected a hit in every game he has played in every game this season except two. He has five multi-hit performances already.
Bell has an OPS of .977, a .354 batting average, drawn eight walks, hit two home runs and drove in 11 RBI this season.
Jazz Chisholm Jr.
Jazz Chisholm has everything needed to be the face of the franchise for the Miami Marlins. His on and off-field swag, confidence, and skills put him in the conversation to be one of the best second baseman in the Majors.
Known to us as the “Bahamian Blur”, Chisholm Jr. is the eighth Bahamian-born player to play in the Majors. The ninth, Lucius Fox, made his debut for the Nationals a few weeks ago.
Chisholm Jr. leads the Marlins in OPS, slugging percentage, RBI, home runs and slugging percentage. Even more impressive – he has done so after missing some games due to injury.
Chisholm’s batting average stands at .296 this season with an OPS of 1.085 and two home runs.
Before the season began, the Pittsburgh Pirates made it clear they wanted Ke’Bryan Hayes to be a part of their future success by signing him to an eight-year/$70 million deal, making him the highest paid player in their franchise’s history. Over the first few weeks of the season he’s made good on their decision.
Hayes has batted either first or third for a Pirates team that has turned some heads early this season. He has a .326 batting average with two steals and has continually flashed his leather, showing his potential to become one of the best defensive players at his position in the league this season.
Taijuan Walker has silenced many of his haters this season by taking the city that never sleeps by storm. He has the seventh-lowest ERA in the Major Leagues and struck out a career-high 12 batters during his start this week against the Chicago Cubs.
Through the first three months of the season, Taijuan Walker has been the steal of the off season. The Mets were the only team to offer him a contract, which is for 2 years and $20 million with a player option for the third.
“Everything’s worked out well for everyone,” Walker told reporters. “I’m glad the Mets were my only offer.
Taijuan Walker's 2.12 ERA is the second-lowest in history by a Met in his first 12 starts with the franchise.
The lowest: Al Leiter, who produced a 1.70 ERA over his first 12 starts in 1998.
In Tuesday’s start against the Cubs, Walker struck out a career-high 12 batters and lowered his ERA to 2.12 which is good for seventh in the league. It was his third start this season without allowing a walk and he has caught fire since returning from the Injured List.
In the four starts since his return, Walker has thrown 24 innings and struck out 31 hitters.
His Black Knight rotation mate Marcus Stroman has been the Andre 3000 to Walker’s Big Boi. In his last two starts, Stroman has thrown 13 innings with 15 strikeouts and only one earned run.
Taijuan will get the Fathers Day start for the Mets as they travel to the nation’s capital to take on Josh Harrison, Josh Bell and the rest of the Nationals.
2. Mookie Betts
We have high expectations for Mookie, being that he is the best player in all of baseball. He got off to a slow start this season for his standards, but during the past week, Betts showed flashes of his MVP-caliber skills.
He’s hit .318 with three home runs, four RBI, eight runs, five walks and a .727 Slugging Percentage in his last seven games.
Bett’s has four multi-hit games this month and on Tuesday night against the Phillies, it was the 7th inning of a 3-3 game when Mookie stepped to the plate and blasted a solo home run.
It was the first time he hit a homer with Dodger stadium completely full.
Mookie travels to Arizona this weekend to take on the Diamondbacks who will be rocking their city connect uniforms on Friday night.
3. Marcus “Rock Any Park U” Semien
Marcus Semien has kept his hot bat from the month of May going in June. The reigning American League Player of the Month is batting .263 with three home runs this month, including a leadoff bomb Wednesday night against the Yankees’ Garrett Cole.
Through his last seven games, Semien is hitting .286 with three home runs, six RBI, seven runs and a stolen base. He is on track to start at second base for the American League All-Star team and is in the middle of what is a career year leading up to his free agency this offseason.
Bobby Bradley has been rocking out since joining Cleveland on June 5th as they have been riddled with injuries and he has given them exactly what they have been missing: power at the first base position. Thursday Bradley hit his fourth home run in just 10 games this season. He is now batting .375 with four home runs and 11 RBI.
Bradley has also helped the Indians stay afloat in a wide-open American League. Since his call up they have a record of 8-2 and sit in second place in the American League Central, four games behind Tim Anderson’s White Sox while being only a game back of Michael Brantley and the Houston Astros for the final Wild Card spot.
After finishing a four-game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles Thursday, Bradley will travel to Pittsburg to take on Ke’Bryan Hayes and the Pirates.
Justin Upton was named Rob Parker’s Home Boi Highlight after batting .360 with 10 runs scored and two home runs last week. He recently moved to the leadoff spot in the Angels lineup and raised his batting average from .120 to .232.
Being a relief pitcher in baseball has to be the greatest job in the world. Observing the action from the bullpen, you have one of the best views in sports to watch the greatest game ever created.
Despite that, it comes with a high price as the pressure is on 100 percent, the second you enter the game.
After just the first half of the season, a few of our MLBbro relievers have become diamonds under the pressure.
Here is my #HighFive list of a few current black relievers and how they have fared this season.
Devin Williams, Milwaukee Brewers
The 2020 National League Rookie of the Year got off to a slower start than expected this season after posting a 0.33 ERA in 2020, but has recently stemmed the tide and appears to be back to his dominant self. He currently has a 3.55 ERA with 40 strikeouts in 25 innings.
In six appearances during June, he has only given up one run while striking out 11. He also has only given up more than two hits in an appearance three times this year and has not allowed a home run since April 24.
The Brewers are tied for first place in the NL Central. Williams will need to continue to lock the 7th and 8th innings down in order to get the ball to Brewers’ closer Josh Hader who is one of the filthiest in all of baseball.
David Price, Los Angeles Dodgers
Black Ace Club Member, five-time All-Star, Cy Young Award winner and World Series champion David Price is taking on a new challenge this season as he is coming out of the bullpen for the Dodgers for the first time since his World Series run during his rookie year with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Price is one of the most accomplished Black starters in the history of baseball and for sure in the current generation. His 20-win season in 2012 gave him the green light to enter the Black Ace fraternity but with the Dodgers being loaded with pitching options it was thought that Price would be best used out of the bullpen.
His first two outings this year were a little shaky, but we’ll take that as time spent getting used to his new role. After giving up five runs in his first two starts, only four runners have scored in 14 appearances.
Price has an ERA of 3.74 with 24 strikeouts and a 2-0 record, his most recent win coming on Monday after 0.2 innings of scoreless baseball. He is no longer using speed to blow batters away, rather movement and ball placement have led to many ground balls and fly ball outs for him.
Amir Garrett, Cincinnati Reds
Amir Garrett is literally the biggest reliever in the game. He stands 6-foot-5, 239 pounds, and was suspended earlier this season for seven games after being involved in a benches-clearing brawl against the Chicago Cubs in the beginning of May.
Amir Garrett strikes out Anthony Rizzo, words are exchanged and then both benches clear during the Reds and Cubs game. pic.twitter.com/dGX508V2Gh
— Bally Sports Cincinnati (@BallySportsCIN) May 1, 2021
He saw struggles before his return, but when he arrived he came with a vengeance, allowing only three runs in eight appearances and 10 strikeouts for the rest of May.
After a bump in the road to start June, Garrett has still been a great anchor for the Reds’ bullpen. In his last four games, he has given up one run in three innings and has struck out six. It may take a while to bring his 8.34 ERA down to more of a respectable number. He’ll need to stay dominant and keep his focus on one start at a time.
Taylor Hearn and Demarcus Evans, Texas Rangers
The Texas Rangers are the only bullpen in baseball with multiple Black relievers. One throws for the left side and the other the right, but both get it done by throwing flames in Texas’ heat.
Hearn made the Rangers’ Opening Day roster and has had a Jekyll and Hyde beginning to the first three months of the season. After a few April struggles, he seemed to turn it around in May as he posted a 1.93 ERA with 12 strikeouts in 14 innings.
As the calendar turned to June, Hearns arrow shifted in a downward direction. He has given up six runs in six innings, three of them being home runs.
Evans made his MLB debut May 25 and has instantly become one of the team’s best relievers. He won the team’s Minor League Reliever of the Year award for two straight seasons and he’s showing the batters in the Majors are not much tougher. In 8.1 innings, he has only given up two runs and has 11 strikeouts with a 2.16 ERA.
Resilience is the common characteristic found in the makeup of strong MLB relievers. Evans has that. He’s got guts too.
With the Rangers appearing to be in seller mode as the trade deadline inches closer, Hearn and Evans have the chance to showcase their abilities to be stable pieces in the bullpen for years to come.