Dee Strange-Gordon Signs Minor League Deal| Could Be A Steal For Chicago Cubs

Dee Strange-Gordon Signs Minor League Deal| Could Be A Steal For Chicago Cubs

By Jaelen Ogadhoh| MLBbro.com Intern

 

He’s led the MLB in steals in the past, but MLBbro Dee Strange-Gordon may now be a steal free-agent pickup for the Chicago Cubs.

On Wednesday, Strange-Gordon agreed to a minor-league deal with the Cubs, reports MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal.

The veteran infielder will add to the Cubs’ depth chart following infielder Nico Hoerner’s left hamstring strain during Tuesday’s 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. The team announced they were placing Hoerner on the 10-day injured list and picking up outfielder Rafael Ortega from their AA affiliate. 

Strange-Gordon appeared in 33 games with the Seattle Mariners in 2020 and batted career lows of .200/.268/.213. 

 

In February, the 33-year-old briefly signed a minor league deal with the Cincinnati Reds but wasn’t able to land an Opening Day roster spot. He will provide both speed and versatility to the Cubs, having played second base, shortstop, and center field in past seasons.

Over his 10-year career in the majors, Strange-Gordon certainly left his mark. Perhaps his most impressive run was from 2014 with the Los Angeles Dodgers through 2015 with the Miami Marlins, where he earned two All-Star appearances, a Golden Glove and a Silver Slugger Award while leading the league in steals both years (64 and 58, respectively), in triples (12) in 2014, and in batting average (.333), hits (205), and steals caught (20) in 2015. 

 

 

He also had a strong showing in 2017 with the Marlins, leading the league once again in steals (60) and steals caught (16).

With this signing, the Cubs are not only adding a veteran on-field contributor but a proven leader off the field as well.

He is a four-time nominee of the Roberto Clemente Award, the honor bestowed upon the player who best represents the game through their exceptional character, philanthropy, and community involvement. 

He is also on the advisory board of The Players Alliance, a group of over 100 current and former Black baseball players whose mission, in their words, is “building equitable systems in order to change the trajectory of diversity throughout baseball.”

 As with any minor league deal, Strange-Gordon will have to earn his opportunity with the big league club, but the Cubs may have just gotten themselves a steal.

 

Black Knight Face Off: Triston McKenzie and Justus Sheffield Clash On The Bump 

Black Knight Face Off: Triston McKenzie and Justus Sheffield Clash On The Bump 

If you love pitching, there was an exciting matchup on Saturday night in Seattle between two MLBbros who are the future of baseball in a position that is not dominated by “The Culture.”  

The Cleveland Indians featured their 23-year-old right-hander Triston “T Eazy” McKenzie and the Seattle Mariners, who won the game 7-3, countered with another melanated mound marauder in southpaw Justus “Topsheff” Sheffield. 

Both pitchers started in the Indians organization and are important parts of their respective rotations this season and have shown signs of brilliance and also laid some stinkers, which is a natural progression for young arms. Sheffield is just 25. 

 

 

Sheffield got the best of McKenzie in this matchup as Triston surrendered five runs in four innings and left trailing 5-0. He did strike out six batters which suggests that he had good stuff but was just missing on certain pitches. 

Justus Sheffield hailing from Tullahoma, TN has baseball DNA in the blood. He is the brother of Jordan Sheffield, a right-handed pitcher with the Colorado Rockies, and is also the cousin to former MLB player Tony Sheffield.  

He was in command through six innings against the Cleveland Indians lineup, allowing just two runs on five hits and striking out two.  

T-Eazy Is On The Come Up 

Triston is the fifth starter on what is arguably one of the best pitching rotations in baseball. The Brooklyn, NY native was drafted by the Indians in 2015. He was deemed one of the best pitching prospects by MLB Pipeline in 2019 but was unable to pitch that season due to injury. 

McKenzie stands at 6’5″ 170 pounds and generated a lot of buzz in his major league debut in 2020 against the Detroit Tigers, striking out 10 batters in his first six innings. 

He entered Cleveland’s record books with the second-most strikeouts in his first major league start. He finished the shortened and unprecedented 2020 MLB season with a record of 2-1 with a 3.24 ERA over 33.1 innings pitched.

 

This season, T Eazy is off to a slow start, with an ERA close to five. The electric stuff is there, he’s just got to learn how to put it all together. How to pitch.

He made one bad pitch to Dylan Moore in the fourth inning on Saturday, which resulted in a three-run homer. 

 

 

He met a similar fate against the Chicago White Sox on May 1st, 2021.  McKenzie struck out six batters and gave up only one hit, the one hit was a Grand Slam to Tim Anderson.  McKenzie was pulled after two innings after he threw 57 pitches and walked four. 

Justus Sheffield Puts The Clamps On Cleveland 

Sheffield was the 31st pick in the first round, of the Cleveland Indians in 2015, one year before Triston McKenzie was drafted by the same organization.  Justus spent time in the Yankees organization for a season but has found a home with the Seattle Mariners. 

The 25-year-old stands at 5’10”, and weighs 195 lbs. He is the third man in a six-man pitching rotation that features another black hurler, Justin Dunn.  

Justus had a successful rookie campaign in 2020 finishing 4-3, with a 3.58 ERA over 55.1 innings pitched.  Seattle is excited about their pitcher who is finding his stride after Covid ravaged the 2020 season and hampered the development of many major leaguers.  

 

 

Justus came into the season with some personal goals for the 2021 season. The goals for Topsheff were perfecting his changeup and to last six innings of every start, a goal that he reached six times out of 10 outings in 2020.  

He reached that goal on Saturday night. 

Baseball is known for its stats and two black starting pitchers facing each other is a rare one indeed. This isn’t the last time these two bruthas will clash. Tristan and Justus will once again have the opportunity to make the ancestors proud by putting on a show and allowing the world to see what these Black arms can do. 

I can assure you that little Black boys will watch tonight’s game and see “Black Excellence” on display and know that one day, they can be a pitcher in Major League Baseball too. 

HOT STICKS: Kyle Lewis Is Batting .548 In His Last Three Games

HOT STICKS: Kyle Lewis Is Batting .548 In His Last Three Games

At the start of the 2021 season, the Seattle Mariners were without their star outfielder Kyle Lewis.

With seven hits in his last 13 at-bats, it’s safe to say that he is back to being the Lewis that won the 2020 AL Rookie of the Year and made an immediate impact on the Mariners

 

 

The injury to Lewis was something the Mariners did not want to hear at first, but the team knew that he would be back sooner than later.

 

Mark Gray Goes First To Third, Rounding The Bases On Key Injuries To Top Black Stars

 

Lewis suffered a deep bone bruise in his right knee after running into a wall during spring training. Just as he was starting to heat up at the plate, the injury bug struck.

But hey, you control what you can control. And for Lewis, that meant working on getting that knee back to 100% so he could return to his team.

 

 

Our MLB bro made his 2021 debut on April 20 against the LA Dodgers and after missing the team’s first 17 games, the webmaster was grateful to be back on the field.

“It’s very special,” Lewis said in an article from The Seattle Times. “I never take it for granted being able to play. And so anytime I’m able to run out there with the uniform on, it’s always special, especially after being out for a little bit. Definitely a lot of energy, a lot of adrenaline going. I was happy with it, and just excited to get out there.”

His first hit of the season came against the Boston Red Sox on April 23. Lewis was making his third appearance on the season and he saw the ball well that game.

His first homer came three days later.

 

 

Let’s be real here, it’s not easy standing in that batter’s box and trying to hit off a major league pitcher after missing extended time.

You have to get your timing down and make sure you’re seeing the ball well. For Lewis, he’s still making strides to get to where he was last year when he led the Mariners in home runs (11) and OPS (.800).

On Sunday night, in a loss to the Texas Rangers, he collected another two hits and raised his batting average to .258.

Recently, the Mariners have been pleased with Lewis’ performance at the plate.

There was a stretch where he recorded a hit in six straight games and he’s currently on a three-game hitting streak.

 

 

Through his last seven games, he’s batting .375 with nine hits, one home run, and a .542 slugging percentage. This is the Lewis that Mariners fans have been waiting to see.

His best game since his return came on May 7 against the Texas Rangers. Lewis went 3-for-5 with a double.

That was his first three-hit game of the season, and what did he do the next game? Oh nothing much, just follow that up with consecutive two-hit performances.

It’s not surprising to see that Lewis is quickly finding his groove. He is a high-level hitter and possesses a lot of power at the plate.

 

 

As the season progresses, Lewis will continue to make improvements at the plate and he will flex all of his five-tools on a daily basis as he continues to rise the ranks of MLB’s top players.

JP Crawford Is More Than Just A Flashy Web

JP Crawford Is More Than Just A Flashy Web

J.P. Crawford is making a strong case to win back-to-back Gold Glove Awards with a stellar start defensively to this season.

But don’t sleep on Crawford’s bat; he is currently having a career year at the plate and has reached base safely in 25 of his last 28 games.

Last season, Crawford became just the second Black shortstop in American League history to win a Gold Glove, joining Yankee legend and Hall of Famer Derek Jeter, who won the award five times.

 

 

During the first quarter of the 2021 season, Crawford has been on guard with his glove.  Dating back to April 11th, he has gone 27 straight games without committing an error.

He only has two this season which is good enough for third place in the league, trailing Freddy Galvis, who has one, and MLB Bro White Sox Bat Flipper Tim Anderson, who has yet to commit an error this year.

 

Crawford, however, has played in all 34 games for Seattle this season, while Anderson has missed a few, so we’ll see if T.A. can keep at this pace.


Crawford is also tied for first with 23 turned double plays thus far.

It’s no surprise J.P. has found success defensively, but this season he has answered many people’s questions about his offense with his performance at the plate.

He batted leadoff on Sunday and finished with another multi-hit game, going 2-for-5 and scored a run.  It was his second multi-hit game of the series.

On Friday, he recorded the ninth three-hit game of his career –  including a two-run homer in the fourth inning in a Mariners’ victory.


We have seen Crawford’s batting average climb each year since his rookie campaign with the Phillies and this year continues that trend.

He is batting .264 with 12 RBI and 15 runs scored in 2021.  He has been using the entire field and putting the ball in play as much as possible during his current hot streak to make up for not slugging multiple homers.


Saturday night, Crawford put a ground ball in play with runners on the corners in the first inning that allowed reigning Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewis to dive into home and score.

Later,  he would go on to nearly tie the game after hitting a flare to center with two strikes in the ninth, but a great play saw Lewis thrown out at home.

Seattle has been tested throughout this  year as they have had to play the second-hardest schedule in all of baseball.

J.P. has been a mainstay in the lineup in the middle of the defense through it all as he has yet to miss a game.

He’ll need to continue to lockdown on defense and steadily improve his bat in order to keep the Mariners in contention for what appears to be a wide open American League West.

 

 

 

The Return Of Kyle Lewis Has The Mariners Thinking Audaciously

The Return Of Kyle Lewis Has The Mariners Thinking Audaciously


 

The Mariners have kept the ship afloat without him, but with Kyle Lewis back from a deep knee bruise that kept him off the field for the first 17 games of the season, they look to take the American League West crown and run with it.

 

 

The city of Seattle is one of the best baseball towns in America.  Its fans are no different than the 12’s who spend falls at Seahawks games or the ones who inhabited the SuperSonics arena years ago.  

They are being treated to an excellent brand of baseball on the field. Great pitching, great hitting and all across the diamond, spectacular plays are made on a daily basis.  And it’s being done by some of the best young talent in baseball. 

On Tuesday, the best apple out of that bunch made his 2021 debut. Lewis saw his name in the lineup for the first time in 2021, as he went 0-3 with a walk, in a 1-0 loss to the Dodgers.

The 25-year-old Black Knight hopes to pick up where he left off in 2020 when he became the second rookie in Major League history to lead a team in batting, home runs, run scored, and walks, joining Mark McGwire who did it in 1987 with the Oakland Athletics.  He also was tied for the rookie lead in home runs while leading in walks and runs during the 60-game season. 

 

 

Lewis is no stranger to hardware as he’s filled his trophy case in the last half-decade, en route to becoming a premier center fielder in the game. He won Baseball America’s 2016 College Player of the Year as well as the 2016 Golden Spikes Award to go along with the Southern Conference Player of the Year before being drafted by Seattle in 2016.

He hit the ground running once he arrived in the league.  In his debut on September 10th of 2019, Lewis cranked a home run off 2020 Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer.  He also homered in the next two games,  joining Trevor Story as the only players to hit home runs in the first three games of their career.

 

 

While Lewis was on the Injured list,  the Mariners called up outfielder Taylor Trammell a bit earlier than expected. The rookie is adjusting to MLB pitching and will get to roam the grass at T Mobile Park, alongside Lewis for years to come.  

On Monday night he had his first career game-winning, extra-base hit in a 4-3 victory over the World Series champion Dodgers.

The Mariners’ 11 wins have them currently tied with the Red Sox for first place in the American League.  They are one of the early surprises as they sit in first place in the AL West without the services of their best player. 

As Lewis gets reacclimated to the game, a strong sophomore season can provide the final push the Mariners need to go from pretenders to contenders.