The 2021 season has not been going too well for Jackie Bradley Jr. at the plate. Bradley Jr. is in his first season with the Milwaukee Brewers and is batting a career-low .154 through 59 games.
Yes, you read that batting average right. In his last four games, he is 1-for-13.
This is something the Brewers did not see coming when they signed him in early March. The speedy outfielder came off an impressive COVID season in which he batted .283 through 55 games with 54 hits, seven home runs, and 22 RBI.
Despite his struggles at the plate, the Brewers are not giving up on Bradley Jr. whose stick was flaming in April. He had an eight-game hitting streak and had a hit in 11 of 12 games.
Brewers manager Craig Counsell recently talked about Bradley Jr.’s struggles at the plate, but he still has faith in the one-time All-Star.
“Jackie’s struggled offensively and he hasn’t been able to get out of it. I still think he’s helping us win because I still think he’s playing defense and playing a plus defense,” Counsell told MLB.com.
“We’ve seen it the last two weeks of playing against other teams, the differences a center fielder makes. Those are doubles and triples and runs, essentially, on plays that he makes. We’re also in a situation where, at this point, Jackie’s the best option.”
So even though his bat hasn’t come along recently, Bradley Jr. still is a valuable asset to the Brewers. Our MLBbro knows how to control the outfield and his defense is a plus to his overall game.
A positive thing to look at is Bradley Jr. is not letting his performance at the plate affect his overall game. It’s evident that Bradley Jr. has been in a slump and Counsell is certainly aware of that.
“But he’s struggling. He’s struggling offensively and we do need to be better offensively,” Counsell said. “He’s frustrated, there’s no question about it.
“He’s better than this, there’s no question about that. But we just haven’t been able to help him get going, and that’s frustrating on our end.”
No one enjoys a slump and for Bradley Jr., he will have to put the extra time in to get on the right side of the hitting spectrum. But the good thing is that his manager and team believe in him and that he can turn things around.
This brother is a good player and has had success in the league throughout his career.
As the season progresses, Bradley Jr. will continue to get opportunities to end his slump at the plate. When he’s seeing the ball well, Bradley Jr. is a problem at the plate. With his power and speed, he can be a nightmare to opposing pitchers and teams.
These next few months will be important for Bradley Jr. The Brewers know the potential he has at the plate and they will stay patient to see if the former Gold Glove winner can make an impact with his bat, too
“I made the catch, felt the ‘hammy’ grab,” he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Once I went to go throw it to first (base), it kind of went a little more. I felt the pull a little more. That’s just where we’re at right now.”
“Very frustrated that it happened, especially when we were playing well, and I was actually starting to feel really well myself at the time. It’s unfortunate, but back to the drawing board.”
Cain will return no sooner than the start of July, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. Manager Craig Counsell described Cain’s hamstring strain as “a significant injury.”
If you’re looking for a silver lining to a frustrating situation, with Cain out, MLBbro Jackie Bradley and 27-year-old rookie Tyrone Taylor will be tasked with filling in at center field. Bradley is trying to revive his bat and eventually assume a starting center field position somewhere. Taylor is playing in his first MLB season after a 10-year minor league journey, so he’s hungry and looking to prove he should stick around.
Before the injury, Cain was starting to turn things around at the plate. In his last two games before going on the IL, he had four hits in five at-bats.
These nagging injuries date back to spring training. The 35-year-old went into the season dealing with an injury and in mid-April, he injured his right quadriceps and was placed on the IL for two and a half weeks. It seemed as if nothing was going right for him.
One part of Cain’s game that has contributed to his success is the use of his legs. In the field, he has the ability to run down fly balls.
In 2019, he won a Gold Glove Award in center field.
A healthy Cain is a player you want on your team. In addition to his leadership and World Series pedigree, he can smoke the ball too.
In his first season with the Brewers, he made the All-Star team and finished the season with a .308 batting average, hitting 10 home runs and 38 RBI.
Before joining the Brewers in 2018, Cain spent most of his career with the Kansas City Royals. During his time there, he established himself as one of the top outfielders in the game. In 2015 he arguably had the best season statistically of his career. He finished that season batting .307, hitting 16 home runs with 72 RBI. Cain also made his first All-Star appearance that season, too.
So you see a healthy Cain can be beneficial to the Brewers. Even though he’s in his mid-30s, he can still contribute on the field and at the plate.
For Cain, it’s all about getting healthy so he can return to the team in full strength.
“I know what I need to do to get back on the field. I’ve just got to go in there and get it done, allow this thing to heal up,” Cain said. “Hopefully it heals pretty quickly, but who knows with hamstrings? I’ve definitely had my fair share of them in the past. Just trying to get it healed as quickly as possible and I’ll be raring to go when it’s ready.”
Injuries are part of the game and this season Cain has just caught the short end of the stick. If he can return to 100 percent, he will be a valuable addition to a Brewers squad that’s fighting tooth and nail with the Cubs for sole possession of first place in the NL Central.
Relief pitcher Jeremy Jeffress has been out of baseball since his release from the Washington Nationals in March.
Before his initial release, Jeffress and the Nationals had agreed to a minor league contract ahead of spring training. The team informed him that he would be allowed to compete for a spot in the bullpen ahead of Opening Day.
To his surprise, the Nat’s relieved him of his duties after only 13 days of service, which raised eyebrows across the league. Fans and pundits wanted to know the reasoning behind the quick release as the start of the season was less than a month away.
After displaying such dominance with the Chicago Cubs, in 2020, the 33-year-old right-hand reliever had teams vying for his services in the offseason.
Saving eight games for the Cubs, he finished the pandemic shortened season with an ERA of 1.54 in 23 1/3 innings pitched. You can’t have talent like that sitting on the sidelines. No way.
His time in the Nation’s Capital is still head-scratching for most, like the opportunity to showcase his talents became null and void in the blink of an eye.
Could the incidents in his dark checkered past have come to light?
After achieving every baseball player’s dream of being drafted to the league in 2006, Jeffress has found himself in multiple run-ins with the law.
According to reports, he received suspensions for violating Minor League Baseball’s substance abuse policy in 2007, causing him to serve 50 games. He served 100 games in 2009 for the same offense. Both incidents did not involve performance-enhancing drugs.
During his time with the Kansas City Royals, authorities received a call for domestic violence, disorderly conduct, assault, and criminal damage from his then-girlfriend as both parties engaged in an argument that escalated. The plaintiff later dropped all the charges for this incident.
In 2018 Jeffress pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated during his stint with the Texas Rangers during the 2016 season. He received a sentence of three days in jail, in which he received credit for time served.
In July of the same year, Jeffress made his first career All-Star team. While living up to the nickname Bread & Butter, he served up cats as he achieved an ERA of 0,99 while also adding a 0.84 WHIP in 44 mound appearances.
Jeffress told MLB.com about the accomplishment, “It just means that I know I can overcome anything that I go through because I have been through so much. To start the year with a great first half, and to be in this moment right now, and words can’t express how I feel.”
He went on to say, “All the guys believed in me, and they knew from the first day that the results came out that I should have been on there. It is the fact that they stuck behind me. Just kept believing in me and kept giving me advice saying, ‘Continue doing what you are doing, and people will notice your ability.”
And notice is what Washington did when they signed Jeffress this offseason. The organization knew of his past and still gave him a contract.
Front Office Executive/General Manager Mike Rizzo spoke on the situation by providing a very indeterminate response for the quick release by saying it was due to a “personal matter.”
Jeffress took to Twitter to express his frustration over the situation while also pointing the blame at his former agent when he said, “The fact that my ex-agent has ruined my chances on playing this season is killing me. I want to sign with anyone but going home would be a blessing.”
Home for what I believe should be the Milwaukee Brewers as this is the franchise Jeffress had his best years with. With the Brew Crew, his career ERA is 2.66 and 4.76 everywhere else.
We understand that the Brewers have the reigning National League Rookie of the year/National League Reliever of the year award winner Devin Williams. Still, you can never have too much of a good thing, and looking at the numbers, Jeffress would be a perfect fit to get them over the hump.
Dee Strange-Gordon, the man known as “Lightning,” is ready to strike.
The speedy 33-year old could be an important veteran addition both on the field and the clubhouse for a team looking to make a run to the postseason.
It wasn’t that long ago when Strange-Gordon was terrorizing the basepaths as a second baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Miami Marlins.
From 2014-17 he stole 212 bases and scored 341 runs in 530 games. He was a two-time All-Star, batting .304 and leading Major League Baseball in steals in three out of four seasons. Twice he produced more than 200 hits in a season and he took the National League batting crown in 2015.
Further demonstrating his well-rounded skill set, Strange-Gordon won a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger award as well.
His .309 average with the Marlins remains the second-highest in franchise history.
1. Miguel Cabrera.313 2. Dee Gordon .309 3. Hanley Ramirez.300 4. Kevin Millar.296 5. Juan Pierre.295 6. Cliff Floyd.294 7. Luis Castillo .293 8. Jeff Conine/Christian Yelich .290 10. Edgar Renteria/Gary Sheffield.288 pic.twitter.com/V6QTo1QbBg
But after moving from the NL to join the Seattle Mariners, Strange-Gordon was unable to match his peak production.
In three seasons in the Pacific Northwest, he had fewer stolen bases (55) combined than he had in his final season with the Marlins (60). In 2020 he posted career-lows in every major batting category, and after being released following the season, it looked like Strange-Gordon didn’t have a path back to the bigs.
Strange-Gordon was undeterred. He signed on with the Cincinnati Reds during Spring Training as a low-risk veteran option to compete at shortstop.
Even after a solid spring where he batted .281 with a .361 OBP and four swipes, he was passed over for a spot on the opening day roster for younger options.
When the Milwaukee Brewers came calling with a minor league deal a month ago, he didn’t hesitate to take advantage of the opportunity.
Assigned to the Brewers’ Triple-A Nashville Sounds, Strange-Gordon worked out at second base, shortstop and in the outfield. With injuries mounting across the big leagues, that versatility makes him an attractive option.
The Dee Strange-Gordon of old began to re-emerge in the Music City. He slashed .333/.378/.500 with a .878 OPS in 45 plate appearances.
His speed hasn’t gone anywhere either. Even after that difficult 2020 season, he ranked in the 85th percentile in speed last season.
Unfortunately, the numbers game didn’t work in his favor. The Brewers added infielder Willy Adames from Tampa Bay and his glove, though his bat has been pretty quiet this year.
What are the options available to Dee Strange-Gordon at this point?
The New York Mets have been mentioned as a possible destination. As their injured list gets longer and longer, having someone who can fill in holes like a can of Flex Seal.
New York could use an influx of energy for their stagnant offense, with J.D. Davis, Pete Alonso, Kevin Pillar, and others expected to be out for a while.
Another possible spot could be in Oakland with the A’s. Though the A’s still sit 1.5 games ahead of the Houston Astros, they haven’t gotten much production at shortstop. Perhaps Strange-Gordon could hold it down if Elvis Andrus continues to struggle.
Expanding the radius to the rest of the bigs, there are 10 second baseman with at least 120 at bats batting under .250.
At the very least, Strange-Gordon can help manufacture runs either as a runner or at the plate, and provide range in the field.
His resume and his skill set should get him a landing spot soon enough. When he finds that place, expect Dee Strange-Gordon to hit the ground running.
In the second edition of A Bro Convo W/Telly Hughes, former MLB All-Star Rickie Weeks, who spent 14 years in The Show, steps to the mic.
Weeks discusses how he was able to overcome the stigma of playing at Southern University in Louisiana and become the No. 2 overall pick of the Milwaukee Brewers in the 2003 MLB Draft. While at Southern, Weeks finished his career with a .465 batting average (254 of 546), the highest in NCAA history.