It’s always a blessing to the MLBbro.com family when one of the players who we have covered from the beginning of his MLBbro anointment gets his first All-Star appearance. Particularly, a Melanated Mound Marauder.
Since then, he’s been a consistent member of our weekly #HIGHFIVE lists, featuring the top Black and brown MLBbros.
Manager Dave Martinez announced Gray’s All-Star selection in the locker room in front of his teammates.
According to reports, Gray was very emotional and had to take time to gain his composure before briefly addressing his team, who embraced him with “hugs and handshakes” according to mlb.com.
“I kind of just stopped in my tracks. I didn’t think it would be my name,” Gray said. “You dream of playing baseball at this level for years and years as a kid. Being an All-Star is kind of the cherry on top.”
The Youth of MLB Nation Take Over
As one of 26 first-time All-Stars this year, Gray — acquired by the Nationals as one of the cornerstone pieces in the 2021 trade that sent Max Scherzer and Trea Turner to the Dodgers — is reflective of the changing of the guard that MLB is experiencing.
Even Bryce Harper and Mike Trout have company in the popularity department, and they have been the faces of MLB for the past decade.
New blood like Josiah Gray is on the scene.
American League Has 0 Bro Pitchers
While the American League failed to select any MLBbro pitchers for its staff, Gray will be joined on the NL staff by Chicago Cubs veteran ace Marcus Stroman and Milwaukee Brewers elite closer Williams.
Being traded to the rebuilding Nats and its band of Bros was the best thing that ever happened to Gray. He didn’t have the pressure of performing immediately that he would have had with the Dodgers who are contending for a World Series ring every season.
He showed flashes of immense potential in his first season, but struggled a ton at times, posting a 5.02 ERA over 28 starts last season while allowing an MLB-high 38 home runs over 148 2/3 innings.
But in between those rough starts, Gray tossed some gems and showed ace possibilities when he toted the mound. He used that first season as a launching pad to great things. He made some adjustments, stopped relying on his four-seamer so much, and through 17 starts this season, Gray has a 3.30 ERA and he’s allowed just 12 homers over 95 1/3 innings.
He’s the unquestioned ace of the Washington Nationals staff and will continue to grow as his team’s talented nucleus and budding minor league prospects mature.
Josiah Gray Looking Forward To Being Around Legends At MLB All-Star Week
It still hasn’t hit Jo Gray that he’s now among baseball’s elite at his craft and he needs to start acting like it because as much as he is in awe of the greats, there’s a growing legion of young fans who look at the guy we call ‘Sway’ Gray, in the same way.
“It’s going to be so cool just to see all the guys there,” Gray said. “Just to meet maybe like Aaron Judge or getting to shake hands with Mike Trout or Shohei Ohtani. I’ve faced them a few times, but just to see them up close and personal, and kind of be on the same level, will be really cool.”
It will also be cool when he steps on the mound in Seattle and makes some history of his own, while continuing the tradition of melanated mound marauders who have risen to the top of the game.
Mookie Betts has now been in the league for nine seasons. It seems like it wasn’t too long ago when he was a rising star in Boston. Now, the 30-year-old continues to rack up accolades and is always the topic of conversation around the league. How can you not like a player like the five-tool talented Betts? He can do it all out there on the field.
Mookie Betts Trying To Get More Blacks On Baseball Field & In Front Office
Now that Betts has established himself as one of the game’s premiere talents, he also is one of the few MLBbros who publicly expresses his desire to address the racial disparity on every level of baseball. He wants to be an agent for promoting baseball to the Black communities and inspiring the next generation of MLBbros.
Mookie Betts Continues To Post Hall Of Fame Numbers
Betts had an impressive 2022 season. He finished with a .269 batting average, a career-high 35 home runs, 82 RBI, and 117 runs scored. He led the team in home runs and was tied for first in runs scored. Going into the postseason, the Dodgers were one of the favorites to win the title. This was Betts worst postseason as far as hitting. He finished hitting .143 in the four games he played. He’s sure to come back stronger in 2023.
Other than the disappointing postseason, this brother rebounded from an injury-ridden 2021 with a typical productive explosion. We got a chance to see that power he possesses at the leadoff spot. You can argue that he was one of the best leadoff hitters in the game this season. A true franchise player that is the cornerstone of any team he’s on.
Betts is an all-around athlete who can get it done at the plate and on the field. He was named to his sixth all-star team this season and also won his sixth Gold Glove Award. And let’s not forget how strong of an arm this man has too. He has an absolute rocket out there in right field. He can evern play second base.
Mookie Betts Has Rifle In Outfield, Can Play Infield
You better believe those players know better to run on Betts when a ball is hit out his way. He finished with eight assists in right field and made some unbelievable plays out there in right too. Next year will be season 10 for Betts and don’t expect our MLBbro to lose a single step out there on the field.
One thing he has to stay away from is injuries, and if he can do that, then he’ll continue to rack up the accolades and make all-star teams. Betts’ unique abilities are proven by certain statistical accomplishments. He has stolen 10 or more bases in his last eight seasons. He finished with 12 this season and was only caught twice.
Don’t be surprised if you see him steal another 10 plus bases, even at his age. When it’s all said and done, Betts will be a Hall of Famer and will go down as one of the most successful players in history. It’s really hard to not mention the multiple World Series winner when you discuss the top players in baseball. And it’s been like that for the past few years.
If you ask Betts, he will tell you two titles is not enough, so as long as he’s playing, he’s going to do his best to help put his team in a position to win games and win another World Series.
Byron Buxton made a huge impact for the American League in his first All-Star Game.
With the game tied 2-2 in the top of the fourth inning, Buxton stepped up to the plate and delivered a memorable hit. He smashed a fastball off Tony Gonsolin to left field to give the AL a 3-2 lead and that was all the team needed.
The AL went on to win 3-2. Buxton was one of the heroes in his All-Star debut. That’s how you make an impression in your first All-Star Game. It’s been an up and down season for Buxton as he got off to a slow start.
Going into All-Star break, Buxton hit .216 with 43 RBI and 23 home runs. While his average has been low, he’s shown the power he possesses at the plate. You got to see that on Tuesday.
Before leaving for All-Star break, Buxton talked about how important it is for him to stay healthy.
“I know what I’m capable of doing. Just staying on the field is the biggest situation,” he said in an article from USA Today.
It’s going to be really important for Buxton to remain healthy during the second half of the season. Rocco Baldelli, manager of the Twins, knows that Buxton wants to do his best to be an everyday player for his team.
“It’s been a strenuous, truly 24-hour-a-day job for him to take the field each day,” he said. “He’s not looking for any breaks right now. He’s trying to take the field.”
“Buck’s doing pretty well, but it’s still going to be something we’re going to have to pay attention to going forward,” Baldelli said. “If there’s 12 days, 14 days in a row? At this point, he’s going to play most of those games. I don’t think he’s playing all those days if there’s no days off built in.”
Going into the All-Star break, the Twins held a two-game lead over the Cleveland Guardians for first place in the AL Central Division.
It’s going to be a battle for the top of that division. For the Twins to be successful, Buxton will need to play in as many games as possible.
The Twins next game isn’t until Saturday against the Detroit Tigers, so Buxton and his teammates have a little bit of time to get some much-needed rest.
Buxton wants to go out there and help give his team a chance to win the pennant and he has the skillset to do just that.
“You just make sure you’re being smart and being the best person, you can be to give your best version that you can, day in and day out,” Buxton said. “Days are good, days are bad, but each and every day for me is a good opportunity to try and get a win for my teammates.”