According to reports, Houston Astros outfielder Michael Brantley resumed baseball activities on Sunday for the first time since being placed on the 10-day injury list for knee soreness, retroactive to September 11.
After watching him swing the bat and get in some glove work, Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker spoke to the media on Sunday and gave an informative declaration for the 2021 all-star opt-out. Baker told Mark Berman of Fox 26 that Brantley is coming along pretty good.
He said, “We miss Brantley. The other guys have been doing a good job, but we miss Michael Brantley. He is a quality player, (a) quality defensive player who adds balance to our lineup with another lefty because you know we are right-handed strong right now. You don’t know how much you miss a guy until he is gone.”
Brantley traveled to Anaheim for a four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels yesterday. Although the timetable for his return isn’t exact, the earliest he could be activated is Wednesday, September 22.
The 34-year-old has a long history of injuries dating back to his days in Cleveland; Before this stint, he spent 15 days on the IL earlier this season with some hamstring discomfort. Besides that, with the Astros, he’s been relatively healthy.
Brantley is still hunting the American League batting crown with a little over 10 games remaining as he is ranked second in votes behind Toronto Blue Jays slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
To qualify for the batting title, a player must make at least 502 at-bats. The big-league outfielder posted an average of .315 at the plate with an on-base percentage of .367 and a .441 slugging percentage in 493 plate appearances.
Baker indicated to the Houston Chronicle that Brantley’s return would come into play when he regains his pro form as Sunday was the first time, he swung a bat since he sustained the initial injury.
Baker implied, “It is a matter of communication when you talk to (Brantley). At this point in your career, you know yourself, and you know what it feels like to have your act together. Some guys get it quickly, and some guys, it takes a long time. Some guys never lose it. That is rare. So, we will see.”
In an era that places emphasis on slugging percentage, exit velocity and several other metrics meant to enhance run production, there are many who question the importance of a high batting average.
Despite these recent naysayers, MLBbros like Houston Astros outfielder Michael Brantley and Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson continue to show the value of having a batting champion in the lineup.
On Friday, both Brantley and Anderson, along with fellow MLBbro Cedric Mullins, held three of the top five spots for batting average in the American League.
By Saturday it was a completely different story.
With less than 20 games to go, will any of the bros be able to catch Starling Marte for the batting crown?
Cedric Mullins has been killing all season in a Baltimore Orioles lineup that doesn’t afford him much protection. He’s on his way to a 30-30 season despite playing on a team void of superstar talent.
While winning the crown would be dope, this late season stretch represents more than a batting title for Anderson and Brantley.
Both of their teams are in first place and with each team’s magic number under 20, the only scoreboard watching necessary will involve each other.
The Tampa Bay Rays currently hold a 5-game lead in the American League, which means at this point the Astros and White Sox are battling for second.
The Astros are 5-2 against the White Sox this season, so in order to secure that second spot, the White Sox will need to make up some ground on Houston.
Unfortunately for Chicago, Anderson has been mostly unavailable in September. After racking up 10 hits, 5 RBI and hitting an impressive .323 over his last 7 games played, Anderson was placed on the IL with what has been described as hamstring soreness.
Anderson’s presence has been missed at the top of the lineup, as the team has struggled to score runs against quality opponents at times.
Over their last five games as of Saturday, the White Sox have hit just .250 (9-for-36) with runners in scoring position.
Even with his team struggling to score and his average sliding in the ranks, Anderson remains focused on the main goal; a deep run in October.
Three of the best hitters in baseball will be representing MLBbro Nation after being selected as All-Star Reserves Sunday. Michael Brantley, Cedric CM Storm Mullins and Mookie Betts are making the trip to the Mile High City after being voted on by their fellow coaches and peers.
Mookie Betts of the Los Angeles Dodgers is the lone Bro representing the National League All-Star team. Although his numbers aren’t the eye-popping MVP caliber we have gotten used to seeing from him, he is still the best Bro in the game. Betts missed time after being hit in the arm with a pitch but has been finding more success at the plate lately. He has 10 home runs, 31 RBI, a .247 Batting Average and is fifth in the National League with 21 doubles.
Betts has been getting on base and scoring runs, which sounds simple but is one of the most underrated skills in the sport: If you do not score, you cannot win. He’s scored 49 runs and has a .358 On Base Percentage.
“The Professional” swung the hottest bat in baseball during the month of June and makes his fifth All-Star game. After spending time on the Injured List, he clawed his way to the top of the Majors in batting average after hitting .410 with 15 RBI, eight doubles and 34 hits for the month. That puts him at .340 for the year, which after Sunday has him .1 ahead of the Reds’ Nick Castellanos, who appears to be his biggest threat to the batting championship.
Michael Brantley makes the All-Star Team for the fifth time: “It’s an honor. It’s always appreciated. You never do it by yourself.” pic.twitter.com/3KTkTb7Nft
Cedric “CM” Storm Mullins is the best story in baseball, and it is great to see him get the proper recognition he deserves after being selected as an All-Star. He is the lone member of the Orioles to make the All-Star team and is the first Baltimore outfielder to make the team since Adam Jones in 2015.
Mullins became the hit leader in the American League with 101 after going 2-2 in Sunday’s game against the Angeles, including a go-ahead RBI pinch-hit single and then following that with a go-ahead solo home run in the 9th.
The MLBbros decided to turn Week 12 of the season into a seven-day Home Run Derby. They hit a pair of grand slams while mixing in a few game-winning homers in between.
Michael Brantley, however, takes the top spot on our High Five list after batting .500 during the Houston Astros’ current 10-game winning streak and taking the top spot in the race for baseball’s batting title.
If the season ended today, Michael Brantley would take home Major League Baseball’s batting championship, and right now it’s not even close. His .356 average is .16 higher than the closest player.
On June 8, he returned to play after missing time with an injury and he’s lived up to his nickname, “The Professional” at the plate since.
In his last seven games, he is batting .400 with a.500 OBP, 12 hits, nine RBI, six runs and three walks.
Brantley has been the main catalyst in the resurgence of Dusty Baker’s Astros this season. During their four-game sweep of Tim Anderson and the White Sox last weekend, Brantley was 5-for-16 with six RBI, a double, triple and a three-run home run.
Michael Brantley is absolutely destroying baseballs this season. This 3 run bomb raises his average to .347 on the year pic.twitter.com/va9Xo5dePO
Brantley is also the American League leader in doubles and heads to the Motor City this weekend for a four-game set against the Tigers.
2. Tony Kemp
Tony Kemp played a lot bigger than his 5-foot-6 frame this week, earning the second spot on our High Five list.
In 35 games since May 8, when Kemp was hitting .190, he is 34-for-95 with a .358 batting average. He has seven doubles, two triples and four home runs in that span.
Two of those homers came last weekend in the Bronx. In the sixth inning of Friday night’s game, he hit what would end up being a game-winning three-run home run. He would then follow up with a first-inning shot the next day.
Long has eight RBI in his last seven games with a .609 Slugging Percentage. Injuries have played a major role in the Mariners’ season, including to Shed but he’s getting playing time now and making the most of it. Seattle will have a fun matchup this weekend as they play on the South Side of Chicago.
4. Cedric Mullins
I may never watch baseball again if Cedric Mullins is not an All-Star this season. He’s been doing everything he can to climb up the top of the fan vote, but with a few outfielders currently sidelined with injury, he could easily find himself starting the game in center.
In a weekend series against May’s American League Player of the Month Marcus Semien and the Blue Jays, Mullins added to his legend in the Charm City. He hit four home runs and had six RBI in a two-day span.
This month, Cedric is 26-for-73 with a .356 batting average, five doubles, seven home runs and 12 RBI. He now sits ninth in the Majors in batting average. His O’s will get their shot at revenge against Semien and the Blue Jays after they lost last weekend’s series.
5. J.P. Crawford
The Gold Glover takes the five spot on this week’s #HighFive list, but it has everything to do with his performance at the plate.
Last week, he was named our Home Boi Highlight after riding an eight-game hitting streaking with a .351 average with seven RBI, six runs and two home runs including a grand slam Saturday night in the Mariners Seattle Steelhead Negro League throwback jerseys.
Crawford’s hitting streak reached 10 games after going 2-for-4 with a double Wednesday night. During that span, he has four multi-hit games and eight runs batted in. All signs are beginning to point to him being named the Mariners’ representative for this year’s All-Star game in Denver.
Last year’s Gold Glove award winner at shortstop deserves his shine and his chance to showcase his talents on one of the biggest stages in baseball.
This weekend’s Mariners vs. White Sox matchup will feature two of the most exciting shortstops in the game, J.P. and former batting champion Tim Anderson who just celebrated his 28th birthday on June 23.