MLBits: Braves Streak But Albies Goes Down, Strasburg to the IL, Draft Prospects Opting Out? Like Vlad Like Vladito, More

The Atlanta Braves are the hottest team in baseball in the month of June. Yeah, the Yankees have been humming along as they have all season, and the Blue Jays are charging hard behind them. The Phillies have been nearly unbeatable since they canned Joe Girardi.

But, the Braves have not lost in the month of June and are approaching their franchise-best winning streak, after rattling off 12 straight in the win column. However, they’ll have to chase that record without Ozzie Albies after he fractured his left foot in Monday night’s victory over the Nationals.

Braves Winning Streak Reaches 12, Albies Fractures Foot

Monday night was a mixed bag of results for the Atlanta Braves. On the one hand, they beat the Nationals 9-5 to record the 12th consecutive victory, just three wins away from their franchise-best mark for consecutive wins. The 2000 Braves that featured the likes of Chipper Jones, Andruw Jones, Rafael Furcal, Greg Maddux, and Tom Glavine rattled off 15 straight wins from May into June. Ah, the good ol’ TBS Superstation days where we could tune into the Braves and their loaded roster every night. Fun times.

On the other hand, Ozzie Albies has to leave the game after suffering a fractured left foot in the victorious effort. Albies, a core piece of this Braves team, has eight home runs and 33 RBI with a .694 OPS and 1.1 fWAR in 62 games. Albies has played in all 62 games this season for the Braves and has played in at least 156 games in all but two seasons for the Braves (Albies played 29 during the shortened 2020 season and 57 in his rookie campaign in 2017).

An emotional Dansby Swanson tried to discuss what Albies means to the team and what it will be like playing without his partner up the middle for the foreseeable future:

If the Braves can win their final two games against the Nationals in this series, they’ll have a chance to tie and break the mark set by the 2000 Braves when they’re in Chicago this weekend to take on the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Stephen Strasburg Heads Back to the IL

Stephen Strasburg made his long-awaited return to the Nationals last Thursday and was greatly by the Marlins, who tagged him for seven earned runs over four and two-thirds innings of work. Strasburg took the loss, and his bounce-back start will have to wait as the Nationals placed the oft-injured pitcher on the IL for the 15th time in his career.

His 4.2 innings of work last Thursday brings his total number of innings pitched since the Nationals won a World Series in 2019 and gave Strasburg a massive seven-year, $245 million deal to 31.1 innings pitched.

Strasburg has now had 10 of his 13 seasons interrupted by injury, and it’s tough to see his long list of previous ailments that have plagued the career of one of the most talented pitchers we’ve seen in the last 20 years.

Barry Svrluga wrote a nice story on the latest Strasburg injury and where it takes the mind of a Nationals fan:

Prep Southpaw Makes an Unheard of Decision

American Heritage (FL) left-handed senior Brandon Barriera made an unheard-of decision to opt out of the remainder of his final prep season to protect himself for the MLB Draft next month, and ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel believes that Barriera’s decision will be one that becomes common practice among the elite prep talents of the diamond.

McDaniel recalls watching fellow prep star and projected first-rounder Dylan Lesko on February 24, two months before Lesko left a game with forearm soreness that would result in Tommy John surgery that will knock Lesko down draft boards, boards he was once projected to be a top-ten pick on next month.

Six days after Lesko left that start in Georgia, Barriera (ranked right behind Lesko on most rankings) notified scouts that he was making two more starts (as impromptu showcases) and then shutting it down. Barriera skipped his final turn in the rotation during the regular season and the playoffs where he could have made a handful of starts.

Honestly, good for him. Having spent many years coaching travel baseball at the high school level in a paid capacity, I’m all too familiar with how some coaches abuse their pitchers’ arms. Suppose you’re a projected first-rounder or a projected draft pick at all who is already committed to a school (Barriera is a Vandy commit). In that case, there’s no reason that your high school or travel coach should have the opportunity to have you chuck 115 pitches in seven innings and risk damaging your arm, which is, at that point, your ticket to continue chasing your dreams and for many, your meal ticket.

You can read more about Barriera’s decision and how it might affect the high school ranks of the future in Kiley McDaniel’s story at ESPN:

Odds and Ends …

  • White Sox closer Liam Hendriks and his wife Kristi wasted no time flexing their philanthropy muscles when they arrived in Chicago before the 2021 season. Still, one of the big questions that Hendriks had for the White Sox when they were negotiating the three-year, $54 million deal that brought him to Chicago was whether or not they had a Pride Night in place or in the works. Hendriks has embraced being the face of the White Sox’s efforts to support the LGBTQ+ community. The Athletic‘s James Fegan spoke with Hendriks about his efforts:
  • Detroit Tigers starter Eduardo Rodriguez informed the club that he will not be rejoining the team right now due to personal reasons. The Tigers have placed Rodriguez on the restricted list for the time being. Rodriguez signed a five-year, $77 million deal with the Tigers this offseason and hasn’t pitched since leaving his May 18 start against the Rays with a rib cage strain.
  • This is an absolutely bonkers statistic:
  • https://twitter.com/hgomez27/status/1536542093384065024?s=20&t=Ybzn_AV5yicZbPyCxP3EDA

  • A similarly ironic father-son statistic that we’re reminded of today:
  • Joey Votto jumped on social media this spring and has quickly become moderately popular on TikTok (where he has 162.8K followers and nearly a million likes). On Monday night, he obliged the request of a young fan in the stands who wished to do a TikTok with the Reds’ first baseman. Jim Day for Bally Sports Cincinnati detailed the exchange:
  • Here’s one of the wilder strikeouts you’ll see in baseball:
  • The flashy up-the-middle connection on a double play is one of the more underrated highlight-reel plays in baseball:
  • Matt Cain threw the 22nd perfect game in MLB history on this day 10 years ago. Cain joined Phillip Humber and Félix Hernandez as one of three pitchers with perfectos during the 2012 season. Hernandez’s perfect game in August was the last one we’ve seen.
  • The Yankees and Mets top the latest power rankings over at MLB.com. Nice to see a two-team city so dominant right now. Definitely not Chicago.
  • I’ll leave you today with this WILD stat courtesy of Sarah Langs:
  • written by

    Patrick grew up in Chicago's Bridgeport and Garfield Ridge neighborhoods before moving to the Western Suburbs of Chicago before eventually relocating to the Las Vegas area with his family in 2023. He started with Bleacher Nation in 2021 and has spent time as a Staff Writer and on the Chicago Blackhawks beat. He is currently a writer and editor at Bleacher Nation covering the Chicago Bears and the NFL at large and the author of the Bleacher Nation Newsletter. Patrick is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA).

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