It is not “Angels in the Outfield” helping the San Diego Padres (29-17) to a first-place record in a loaded National League West Division. It’s two Brothas in the outfield, sorry Kevin Costner.
Those MLBbros are centerfielder Trent Grisham and left fielder Tommy Pham who are leading the Padres to the top of their division, making key contributions that might be going under the radar.
The N.L West is one of the best divisions in baseball with three teams at the top of the entire league; the Padres, Giants, and 2020 World Season Champion Dodgers. The Padres are getting it done on the mound as well, ranking first in strikeouts per nine innings. If all three teams stay the course, they will have their sub-regional in the playoffs.
“Offense wins games and defense wins championships” is one very popular expression. Trenton “Gresh” Grisham 24, from Burleson, TX is one of the leaders in defense for the Padres and in 2020 was one of the 12 best defenders in all of baseball, obtaining a Gold Glove for his defensive efforts.
He has continued that trend into 2021 and combined with Tommy Pham and right-fielder Will Myers, the Padres outfield is another defensive lock. Grish is also batting .301 and is giving the Padres enough firepower offensively.
Thomas “Phamtastic” Pham 33, from Las Vegas, NV is the other anchor in the Padres outfield and is playing well despite coming back from injuries suffered in 2020 that still somewhat hinder him to this day. In October, Pham was stabbed in the back after leaving a club.
That injury coupled with a wrist injury might be impeding his ability to hit the ball well at this moment and his batting average is .195, but the MLB season is long and he has plenty of time to improve upon that statistic. His veteran leadership is going to be something that the young, ambitious Padres will need if they want to make a deeper postseason run this season.
The outfield superheroes were not affected by the recent Covid-19 outbreak that hit the Padres and they were spared from catching the virus. The only downside to the Padres defense is that they lead MLB with over 22 errors and they will need to shore that up if they want to make a serious run at a World Series title.
In baseball, you need a strong infield and an even stronger outfield because you have more ground to cover and you have to turn on the jets with regularity. The Padres have some burners in the outfield.
Manager Jayce Tingler noted that Pham is “special” and “competitive in everything that he does.” Pham is also always looking to improve at any opportunity. The steady veteran is looking for a shot at a title.
The second-year Grisham is not only an amazing defender, he’s a strong on-base weapon atop San Diego’s lineup. He’s clearly a long-term solution and future superstar of the Padres outfield. Together they make up an outfield that’s as stingy as Scrooge on Christmas.
Keep your eye out on these players because it’s going to be a shootout in the wild wild west come playoffs.
Baseball is a game of streaks. Over the course of the season, each player is hoping to put together more good ones than bad ones.
And the bad ones do come, even for the best of the best. Who’s hot and who’s not across MLB? Let’s take a closer look.
Aaron Judge, OF, New York Yankees
Ever since our own Rob Parker called out Aaron Judge, the Yankees’ behemoth has been ripping the cover off of the baseball.
Judge entered Monday night’s game with the Texas Rangers hitting a ridiculous .571, with 12 hits in his previous 21 at-bats. Over his last six games, he hit five home runs and pushed the Yankees to a 4-2 record. Judge sent four fans home with souvenirs during New York’s most recent three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles and secured AL Player of the Week honors.
The rest of his numbers are just as impressive. The Judge laid down the law, scoring eight runs and driving in six while striking out only once. His 1.973 OPS topped all hitters in that time.
With these breakout performances, Judge raised his season batting average from .245 to .298, his slugging percentage from .352 to .399, and his OPS from .824 to 1.009. HE also garnered
The Rangers silenced him in a 5-2 win, but if this is the Aaron Judge that the Yankees get for the rest of the regular season, he could be in real contention for the AL Most Valuable Player award for the first time since 2017.
Tim Anderson, SS, Chicago White Sox
No one in Major League Baseball is hitting the ball better than Tim Anderson. Anderson extended his hitting streak to 12 games as the ChiSox battered the Minnesota Twins 16-4 on Monday. After going 2-for-5 with two runs scored, Anderson is hitting .448 during his streak. He’s had multiple hits in seven of those games.
It’s no coincidence that the White Sox began winning games once Anderson got back to playing like the Silver Slugger award winner he was in 2020.
Chicago is 17-7 over its last 24 games and sits on top of the AL Central standings. Anderson has 34 hits in those games, with four home runs, 14 RBIs, and 20 runs scored. Only Yordan Alveraz and Josh Rojas have higher batting averages over the last month. Tim also ranks third in MLB in hits and stolen bases in that span.
What happened to Jackie Bradley Jr.? It seemed like he was beginning to turn his career around last season in Boston. He set career highs in batting average (.283) and OBP (.364). His slugging percentage was its highest since 2016 when Jackie made his only All-Star Game appearance.
However, this season his stick has fallen off a cliff.
His batting average has done a complete 180. Actually, Jackie’s looking up at 180. His .153 mark at the plate is the worst of his career, as is his .229 on base percentage. He did hit one offensive milestone in May.
The rest of the month has been a disaster with Bradley posting just two hits. He’s gone hitless in each of his last six games. The two hits this month also equals the total number of multi-hit games he has this season. And over the last 30 days, his batting average has fallen nearly 100 points.
Whatever your faith is, light a candle for Jackie Bradley Jr.
Willie Calhoun, OF, Texas Rangers
With parts of five seasons under his belt, Willie Calhoun is trying to stick with the Rangers this year. He hasn’t played in more than 83 games in any season since making his debut in 2017. Nothing has been a bigger factor in that than his inconsistent hitting.
Calhoun has been better in 2021, hitting .278 entering Monday’s games. He seems to have broken out of a slump with a homer and two hits on Monday, but this past week, as Texas ran off six straight losses, Calhoun once again hit a rut.
In five games since May 10, he was 1-for-18 with three strikeouts. His only hit was a solo home run in a one-run loss to the Houston Astros.
Considering his play earlier this season, however, he seems to be trending in the right direction overall. It certainly looked that way when he took Gerritt Cole deep over the centerfield wall to help the Rangers snap that losing streak.
Our MLB bro is a versatile player who can finesse almost every position on the field. One day you might see him playing right field and the next day he’ll be playing second base.
This season, Goodrum got off to a rocky start at the plate. For the month of April, he hit .191 with an on-base average of .257 and 31 strikeouts.
Those are some numbers that will have fans pulling their hair out. But this is a long season and Goodrum went into May looking to turn things around. There was little doubt that he would get it going. He’s known for wrecking shop when he’s in the zone.
On May 1, Goodrum had an impressive performance against the New York Yankees, going 2-for-3 at the plate with a home run and a stolen base. That’s the performance Goodrum needed to turn his slump around. He put together a six-game hitting streak during the early part of May and had two multi-hit performances during that stretch.
This is the player that the team and fans have wanted to see all season and now he’s starting to become the productive player that the team knew he could be. They just needed to let him play his game.
Bro I love Niko Goodrum, Dude is my favorite player
In this past series against the Chicago Cubs, Goodrum was held hitless in three games. But before that series, he was hitting .361 during the month and he has been one of Detroit’s top hitters.
He’s currently batting .230 with 10 RBI and four home runs. He’s also Top 15 in MLB in stolen bases with 6. Tigers’ manager AJ Hinch has been pleased with Goodrum’s performance at the plate and on-base during May.
“It’s great to see him getting on base,” Hinch said of Goodrum in an article from The Detroit News. “He’s on pace to steal a lot more bases.”
Goodrum has also had success being down in the count. When you put the bat on the ball good things happen.
“Some two-strike hits, too, that’s been nice to see,” Hinch said. “He’s making that adjustment. A little while back he started choking up for a little more bat control. He’s understanding more about hitting in lanes and picking pitches he can handle.”
Before Goodrum joined the Tigers, he spent part of the 2017 season with the Minnesota Twins. He only appeared in 11 games that season, recording one hit. The Twins selected Goodrum in the second round of the 2010 MLB draft.
After 2017, Goodrum elected to become a free agent and that’s when Detroit was quick to grab him. He makes things happen between the lines.
All he needed was an invitation to the Tigers’ 2018 spring training camp where he put together an impressive performance.
He hit four home runs during spring training and the Tigers decided to add him to the 25-man opening day roster.
Since then, Goodrum has improved his game and has made a case for himself on why the Tigers should keep him around.