Macay McBride—the only known “Macay” in professional baseball history— was one of those relievers that had a single solid year in the majors, only to vanish within a couple seasons (Lee Gardner also comes to mind).
Taken by the Atlanta Braves in the 1st round of the 2001 draft, the local kid— he was born in Augusta, Ga.—was in the majors by 2005. That first year, he posted a 5.79 ERA in 23 relief appearances. By 2007, after posting a 4.96 mark in 38 games, he was out of the bigs.
In between, he was a vital cog in the Braves bullpen, going 4-1 with a 3.65 mark in 71 games in 2006; he later pitched a scoreless inning in that year’s National League Division Series. He made a single appearance at Triple A in 2008, then one more in the independent ranks in 2010, before finally calling it quits.
It seems if one is a minor league relief pitcher, he needs to strike batters out at a exceptional rate, post a superhuman ERA for an extended period, or at the very least, rack up a ton of saves, to earn a big league promotion.
Basner did none of the above, so despite spending part or all of four seasons at Triple-A, he never reached the majors. His career was not without highlights, however.
With the rookie-level Danville Braves in 2003, during his first year of pro ball, he went 4-1 with a 1.83 ERA in 19 appearances, averaging 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings. The next year, he averaged 9.7 whiffs per 9 frames. Those years were the outliers, however, as his career rate was 7.6 K/9 IP.
In 2009, his penultimate campaign, he had a 2.88 ERA in 54 games for the independent Somerset Patriots. Unfortunately, his career totals paint a less rosy picture, as he went just 27-32 with a 4.26 ERA and 609 hits allowed in 568 2/3 innings overall.
Gregor Blanco, nicknamed “White Shark,” was a two-time World Series champion, having played for the 2012 and 2014 Giants. For a backup outfielder, he racked up an impressive postseason resume, playing in 40 games with 134 at-bats and 21 runs scored, though he hit just .179.
His primary calling card was his speed — in 1,060 regular season games, he had 122 stolen bases, with as many a 26 in a season (2012). A couple years later, he swiped 13 bags, while hitting a career-high .291. He last played in the big leagues in 2018, having spent 2019 in the Mets system. He retired in February 2020.
The week of August 14 to August 20 saw many hot performances from the likes of Freddie Freeman, Luke Voit, Max Fried and Nestor Cortes. Were any of them good enough to earn their man the title of Stud? Let’s see …
Offensive stud: Freddie Freeman (1B, Braves). Freeman narrowly edges Max Muncy, going 14-for-26 with 3 home runs, 7 RBI and 8 runs scored in the past week. His slash line of .538/.600/1.038 and OPS of 1.638 are a big reason the Braves are surging right now—they’re now 10 games over .500 and 4 games up in the National League East. For Freeman’s part, his run brings his season average to .300—not too shabby, considering it was in the .220s in June.
Offensive dud: Gavin Lux (IF, Dodgers). Now we’re just piling on. He’s held this title for four straight days. It doesn’t help that Los Angeles isn’t playing him, but that’s part of the reason he’s still here. His performance (0-for-6, 2 E) was so anemic, the Dodgers are afraid to put him on the field.
Pitching stud: Max Fried (SP, Braves). All the Braves stars are cranking right now. Like Freeman above, Fried started out the season poorly, posting a 6.55 ERA through his first five starts and into July, his ERA was 4.71. But that’s all in the past now: Last night, Fried tossed a complete game shutout and has allowed just 1 run and no walks over his past 15 innings. When Fried pitches, the Braves win—since 2019, he’s 35-13, a .729 winning percentage. Last year, he didn’t lose a single start, going 7-0 and finishing 5th in Cy Young voting.
Pitching dud: Jorge Lopez (SP, Orioles). Lopez holds an 18.56 ERA over the past week, so it’ll be difficult for him to shed this title. In 5 2/3 innings, he surrendered 11 runs on 13 hits and 4 walks—but on the bright side (?) only two of those hits were home runs. Since late July, his ERA is 8.84.
Dishonorable mention: Adam Ottavino (RP, Red Sox; 1 1/3 IP, 3 BB, 2 WP, 1 HBP, 6.75 ERA).