George Springer & Michael Brantley Injuries Are Crushing Blows For Toronto Blue Jays, Houston Astros Playoff Push

George Springer & Michael Brantley Injuries Are Crushing Blows For Toronto Blue Jays, Houston Astros Playoff Push

Two former World Series Champions and teammates in Michael Brantley and George Springer are expected to miss time down the stretch due to injuries.

Michael Brantley

The understated superstar may see his streak of five consecutive seasons with a batting average of .299 or better snapped because of a shoulder injury that leaves him with no timetable to return.

 

 

When Astros general manager James Click was asked if Brantley would be back at any point this season, he said “We hope so, but with every passing day, you have to kind of take an honest look at it.”

Brantley has not played since June 26th when Houston traveled to the Bronx for what was looked at as a possible future American League Championship Series preview.

They would end up splitting the four-game series. Entering Tuesday, both teams are currently tied for the best record in the American League.

Although the already-loaded Astros bulked up at the trade deadline by adding former Oriole Trey Mancini and Red Sox catcher Christian Vasquez, Brantley’s presence will be missed if he is not available come October.

 

 

Last postseason, Brantley was a key part of their run to the World Series, batting .319 with nine RBI, four doubles and a .724 OPS. In 2020, he hit .346 with a .424 on base percentage, .982 OPS six walks and 11 RBI. In 64 games this season, Brantley is batting .288 with five home runs and 28 runs scored.  

There will be no rush to bring him back until he is fully healthy. Hopefully we get to see one of the best hitters in the game this fall.

George Springer

The Blue Jays win when George Springer is in.  

It could be any time between a few days and a few weeks before one of the greatest leadoff hitters of all time is back in the fold.

 

George Springer Is Stutter-Stepping For The Kids

 

Springer was placed on the 10-Day Injured List over the weekend with inflammation in his right elbow. Some of the moves the Jays made at the deadline bring up questions about how long they could be without him.

The team traded for utility player Whit Merrifield and added MLBbro outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. after he was Designated for Assignment by the Red Sox last week.

Bradley Jr. was the 2018 American League Championship Series MVP and reunited with Boston after spending a season in Milwaukee.

He could never get much going at the plate, as he was only hitting .210 with a .257 on base percentage this year, but defensively he is still one of the best in the Majors.

In his career, Springer has hit 51 leadoff home runs which is fourth-most all time in Major League history. Rickey Henderson is at the head of the table with 81 during his 25-year playing career.

Despite having seven other All-Stars players since 2021, the Jays win and loss total rides on whether Springer is in the lineup or not.

Since signing a six-year $150 million deal with Toronto, the franchise has a record of 97-70 when he plays and 54-52 when he does not. Springer is eligible to return August 15th when Cedric “CM Storm” Mullins brings his Orioles to “The 6” for a three-game series.

#HIGHFIVE | Top 5 Black and brown MLB Players (Week 11)

#HIGHFIVE | Top 5 Black and brown MLB Players (Week 11)

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.

Stick Talk: Michael “The Professional” Brantley

This weekend Brantley and the Astros welcome Aaron Judge and the first-place Yankees to Houston for a four-game series beginning Thursday.

2. Josh Bell

Josh Bell gave the Phillies hell last week with four home runs in three days as he earns the two spot on this week’s #HighFive list.

Since joining the Nationals last year, Bell has eight home runs, 23 RBI, and a .293 average when playing against Philadelphia.

They might have gotten some of the worst of it, but they are not the only pitching staff Bell has been effective against during his tenure in D.C.

Last year was a great bounce back for Bell after a down year in 2020. This season he has proven to be one of the best first basemen in the National League.

Bell, batting .348 with four home runs, six RBI and a .870 slugging percentage over his last seven games ranks in the top five for OPS, RBI, average, and runs scored.

Josh Bell’s Unlimited Potential Is Truly Emerging | Washington Nationals Slugger Bringing Big Stick Energy

This weekend Bell and his Nationals take on the Texas Rangers in Arlington.  MLBbro pitcher Josiah Gray will be on the mound for Washington Friday night.

3. Devin Williams

Devin “Airbender” Williams is coming for the title of best reliever in the Majors this season. Based on his last 15 innings it would be hard to argue against it.

Williams has gone 15 innings without giving up a single run while striking out 23 and only walking three hitters.

The last time Willams gave up a run was May 10th when one of the worst teams in baseball got him for three runs.

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.

#HIGHFIVE | Top Black & brown MLB Players (Week 10)

#HIGHFIVE | Top Black & brown MLB Players (Week 10)

Few people on this planet play the game of baseball better than Byron Buxton.  The five-tool outfielder for the Minnesota Twins has been a constant force for the team everyday he is penciled in the lineup.  He takes the top spot in Week 10 of our #HighFive List after winning the American League Player of the Week award for the second time in his career.

1. Byron Buxton

 

“I’m just trying to go up there and hit line drives through the ball,” Buxton told reporters.  “Through it, not over it. Just stick with that kind of mentality.  They just keep carrying it a little bit further.”

Buxton now has 18 home runs this season tying him for second most with reigning Home Run Derby Champion Pete Alonso.

Byron Buxton was named the American League Player of the Week after hitting five home runs with an OPS of 1.095, seven RBI with an average of .333.

One statistic that shows Buxton’s speed and power is his 44 home runs since he last grounded into a double play – most homers between a double play since they began being tracked in 1940.

Buxton has five home runs, eight RBI, seven runs scored and a .240 average over his last seven games.

After helping the Twins win two out of three games against J.P. Crawford and the Seattle Mariners will take Minnesota to the desert for a weekend series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.


2. Michael Brantley

 


Michael Brantley is batting .429 through the first two weeks plus of June and has a hit in every game helping him earn the second spot on our #HighFive List.

The five-time All-Star has put himself in the elite category of hitters throughout his career.  He is one of the only players to have a batting average .300 for the last four consecutive seasons – and hit .299 in 2017.

 

Michael “The Professional” Brantley’s Calming Influence Makes the Houston Astros A Family Culture


This season Brantley has drawn more walks (28) than strikeouts (24) so far.
Over his last seven games he’s hitting .385 with four RBI, four walks and six runs scored. This weekend Brantley and his Astros welcome the Chicago White Sox into Houston.

 

3. Aaron Judge

 

Just keep the “All Rise” soundbite on loop for the rest of the season.  Major League Baseball’s current home run leader continued the campaign for the first MVP award of his career this week earning him the third spot on our #HighFive List.

Judge hit his 25th home run of the season Wednesday night off of American League Cy Young contender Shane McClanahan. Judge iss officially on pace for 65 home runs, just seven less than Barry Bonds 73 in 2001.

He has homered in six of his last 11 games and became just the second player to hit 100 home runs in the current Yankee Stadium.  Only Mark Teixeira has more (113). On his current pace, Judge could officially become that stadium’s home run king by July.

 

Here Comes The Judge To Put MLB On Notice, Chasing Down Yankees Greats

 

Judge is batting .296 with three home runs, four RBI and seven runs over his last seven games.

This weekend, Judge and the Yankees have a huge series in Toronto against the Blue Jays.

 

4. Taijuan Walker

 


Taijuan Walker deserves some respect on his name after his 10-strikeout performance against the Angels on Sunday Night Baseball this past weekend.

Walker went six innings, allowing just one earned run on six hits during his third start on the Mets west coast road trip. Those 10 K’s were the most for Walker since 12 last June.

 

Taijuan Walker’s Career Year Is Flying Under The Radar Despite NY Mets Success


The 2021 All-Star has been solid on the mound this season. He’s got an 3.08 ERA with 35 strikeouts and a 4-2 record for a Mets rotation that has been hampered early with injuries.

If you take away a rough outing against the Phillies back in May, Walker’s ERA would be at 2.44 and he would probably be getting major consideration for his second-consecutive All-Star berth.

Walker’s next start will come Saturday at Citi Field against the Jazz Chisholm Jr. and the Miami Marlins.

5. George Springer

 


George Springer had reached base safely in 24 consecutive games, before the streak was snapped Wednesday against the Baltimore Orioles.

It was the longest streak in the Majors at the time. Despite it being snapped, Springer is still having one of the best comeback seasons in baseball.

Due to injuries, Springer only played in 78 games last season which was his lowest total since his debut season in 2014.

Baseball’s most explosive leadoff hitter is on track to make his fourth-career All-Star team as he is batting .271 with 12 home runs and 33 RBI as he tries to keep a Blue Jays team that came into the season with high expectations above water.

 

This weekend Springer and his Jays have a huge matchup with #HighFive member Aaron Judge and the New York Yankees.

Michael “The Professional” Brantley’s Calming Influence Makes the Houston Astros A Family Culture

Michael “The Professional” Brantley’s Calming Influence Makes the Houston Astros A Family Culture

One of the more overused cliches not only in baseball, but all professional sports is teams talking about establishing a strong culture and a family atmosphere. While it’s a sexy soundbite for every MLB team during spring training, only the championship contenders understand how to build one and ride it to the top of the standings.

The Houston Astros are one of those teams that understand this concept to the point that they are sitting comfortably at the top of the AL West.

 

While the Astros’ manager has set the overall tone of the ball club, it has been MLBbro, Michael Brantley that has provided the veteran leadership that has trickled down to the young players on the roster.

Brantley is riding a nine-game hitting streak. During this period, he has slashed .400/.475/.543 with a home run and 5 RBI.

 

Our MLBbro is offensively playing the game in an old school manner, sacrificing himself by driving in runs and putting the ball in play on groundouts. 

But moments like this show Michael Brantley’s effect on the Astros.

 

How many times have you seen a player jokingly chase down a teammate after a home run? But it’s an occurrence that comes with having fun and keeping things light during a very long baseball season.

After Yordan Alvarez hits a two-run homer against the Seattle Mariners, he speeds out of a normal home run trot to chase down our MLBbro to home plate. 

But that’s the story of Michael Brantley this season. 

The 14th year veteran was not on the 2017 World Series roster, but you would never know it with all of the respect he has earned since joining the team in 2019. With the losses of Carlos Correa and fellow MLBbro, George Springer, it seems that Houston hasn’t lost a step in their contention to get back to the World Series. 

The Astros two World Series runs in the last four seasons can be attributed to the team’s attention to detail and hustle. Nothing was more evident than last month when the Astros were playing the Detroit Tigers with a winning streak on the line. 

 

 

Brantley not only hits a rope down the right field with his team trailing 2-1, he has the presence of mind to get to third base when the throw goes home. 

Brantley spoke to Paper City Magazine about his effort after the game.

“Oh absolutely,” Brantley says when he thinks he has a chance at a triple when he hits the ball. “Put your head down and keep going. I know Jose’s at first and he can run very well. My job’s to get to third base with one out.

“And obviously a lot of things can happen from there.”

Brantley has always been a .300 hitter, but our MLBbro’s mental aspect of the game is slowly getting the recognition that it deserves. 

 

 

For the Astros’ to continue to thrive in the post George Springer and Carlos Correra era, they will need Brantley to continue to mentor players to their highest level much like he did Springer before he left to go to Toronto. 

 

 

Brantley’s newest mentees, Kyle Tucker, the aforementioned Yordan Alvarez and Jeremy Pena are the new blood of the franchise and their growth is buoyed by our MLBbro’s ability to show them how to perform in big time moments.

But don’t get fooled by the “mentor” moniker believing that Brantley is not a major part of the Astros offense. He has stayed healthy and has put together a streak of .300 seasons since 2014 when he played 100 games or more in a season.

Our Mlbbro, Michael Brantley has kept the American League’s most winning team the last few seasons relevant by being the heart and soul of the team starting in the dugout up through the front office.