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MLB’s Best Brothers: Willson, William Contreras top the list of duos

By Jordan Shusterman
FOX Sports MLB Writer

Baseball bloodlines are a really actual factor.

Whether it’s father-son combos reminiscent of the Griffeys, Bondses and Guerreros or big-league brothers reminiscent of the DiMaggios, Niekros and Alous, baseball historical past is stuffed with familial connections which have impacted the sport throughout generations.

This weekend, the scorching-hot Atlanta Braves head to Chicago for a three-game set in opposition to the Cubs. It will probably be the second assembly between the groups in 2022, the first of which gave us one of the coolest moments of the season: brothers William and Willson Contreras exchanging lineup playing cards earlier than the sport.

The upcoming second showdown between the Contreras Bros. obtained me considering: Where do they rank in the present Baseball Brothers hierarchy? Have they ascended to the top of the rankings? How many active major-league brothers are there, anyway?

To reply these questions, we should first set up who’s eligible for the Big-League Brothers Power Rankings. For functions of this train, we’ll restrict the list to brothers who’ve each appeared in the main leagues in 2022. That means we gained’t embody any units of brothers with one nonetheless enjoying and the different(s) retired; apologies to the Seagers and Molinas, amongst others. 

This additionally eliminates pairings who’ve had just one brother seem in an MLB sport in 2022, even when the different is an energetic participant in the minor leagues or overseas. Here are some examples, with the brother who has appeared in MLB in 2022 in daring and older brother listed first:

* OF Josh (WAS) and OF Richie Palacios (CLE)
* INF Christian (OAK) and OF Tim Lopes (COL)
* RHP Jordan (COL) and LHP Justus Sheffield (SEA)
* C Tyler (PIT) and OF Scott Heineman (SEA)
* RHP Jimmy (CHW) and RHP Peter Lambert (COL)
* 1B C.J. (COL) and Kevin Cron (Kia Tigers of KBO)
* 2B Kolten (MIL) and INF Kean Wong (LAA)
* RHP Kyle (CIN) and OF Bradley Zimmer (TOR)
* RHP Michael (Mexican League) and RHP Huascar Ynoa (ATL)
* OF Preston (ATL) and Kyle Tucker (HOU)
* INF David Fletcher (LAA) and OF Dominic Fletcher (ARI) 

Also, we’re excluding potential future big-league brothers duos, pairings through which one or each aren’t in the main leagues but.

* SS Carlos (MIN) and C JC Correa (HOU)
* OF Ronald (ATL) and SS Luisangel Acuña (TEX)
* RHP David (PIT) and RHP Will Bednar (SFG)
* 3B Josh (TEX) and 2B Jace Jung (Texas Tech; projected first-round choose in 2022)

All proper, now that we’ve set the parameters: There are 12 units of brothers who’ve each appeared in MLB in 2022. Let’s rank ’em!

12. LHP Brian and INF Colin Moran (LAA)

Brian allowed two runs in one-third of an inning for the Angels, and Colin hit .210 in 37 video games for the Reds earlier than being optioned to Triple-A, however hey, it’s two brothers showing in the massive leagues in 2022! It counts!

11. INF Dee Strange-Gordon (WAS) and OF Nick Gordon (MIN)

Dee was not too long ago DFA’d by the Nationals however has had a incredible profession, and Nick, the Twins’ first-round choose in 2014, made his MLB debut final season and appears to be creating right into a useful utility participant for Minnesota.

10. RHP Cole (MIA) and RHP Beau Sulser (BAL)

Cole spent the earlier two seasons with the Orioles earlier than being traded to Miami in the offseason. Beau got here up in the Pirates group and made his MLB debut with Pittsburgh earlier this season earlier than being claimed off waivers by Baltimore.

These two be part of Kyle Hendricks as the three alumni of Dartmouth College to look in the massive leagues in 2022. Smart dudes! 

9. RHP Phil (HOU) and INF Nick Maton (PHI)

Nick made his MLB debut with the Phillies in 2021 and tasks as a helpful bench piece for Philadelphia transferring ahead. Phil has been a superbly serviceable, middle-inning reduction choice for a number of years now and not too long ago threw an immaculate inning for the Astros.

8. INF Ramón (BAL) and INF Luis Urías (MIL)

Luis has lengthy been extra well-known, having made his MLB debut with the Padres at age 21 earlier than being traded to Milwaukee, the place he has change into an vital contributor at a number of infield spots. But give credit score to Ramón, who has quietly developed right into a strong utility participant after spending 2013-18 enjoying in the Mexican League, discovering his method again into affiliated ball and finally making his MLB debut with the Orioles in 2020. 

Again, these are two brothers in the massive leagues! They don’t must be All-Stars for it to be an unimaginable achievement!

7. RHP Daniel (COL) and RHP Luke Bard (TB)

Daniel’s unbelievable comeback story after being away from the sport is well-documented, and it has been awfully enjoyable watching him reestablish himself as a better with Colorado

Luke pitched in components of three seasons for the Angels and most not too long ago resurfaced in the massive leagues with Tampa Bay, with whom he’ll undoubtedly change into one of the greatest relievers in the world as a result of, properly, it’s the Rays. If/when that occurs, the Bards may transfer up a couple of spots on this list.

6. RHP Trevor (MIN) and RHP Tylor Megill (NYM) 

Tylor appeared primed for a mega-breakout in the absence of Jacob deGrom earlier this season earlier than he hit the injured list himself, however he’s again now and continues to seem like a professional frontline pitcher. Trevor has settled in as an honest middle-relief choice in Minnesota after struggling immensely in his debut season with the Cubs in 2021. 

If Tylor can get again to what he seemed like for the Mets in April and keep that for an extended interval of time, the Megills will transfer up these rankings quickly. 

5. 1B Yuli (HOU) and OF Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (TOR) 

At first thought, I assumed the Gurriels would rank a lot increased, however in his age-38 season, Yuli’s offense has taken a pointy decline that’s tough to disregard. However, Lourdes stays one of the most underrated gamers in baseball and is an important cog in a Blue Jays offense with no scarcity of big-name stars who are likely to get extra of the consideration. 

The youthful Gurriel began slowly this yr however has actually picked it up as of late. Since going 0-3 on May 23, Lourdes has hit .400/.471/.567 in 68 plate appearances and raised his OPS by greater than 100 factors. 

4. C Austin (SDP) and RHP Aaron Nola (PHI)

Like the Gurriels, the Nolas doubtless would’ve ranked increased a pair of years in the past, however Austin’s offensive manufacturing has underwhelmed in 2022. Still, he’s an above-average defensive catcher who’s succesful of doing harm at the plate on the proper day, and his youthful brother continues to be one of the extra reliable top-of-the-rotation starters in the National League.

3. LHP Taylor (SDP) and RHP Tyler Rogers (SFG)

These two get bonus factors for being the solely twins on the list — and only the 10th set of twins ever to reach the big leagues. Taylor has been glorious since he arrived in San Diego through commerce from Minnesota, and he presently leads MLB in saves, with 20.

Tyler, in the meantime, has struggled mightily for the Giants in comparison with his breakout 2021, however his submarine fashion nonetheless provides an uncommon search for Gabe Kapler out of the bullpen.

2. RHP Edwin (NYM) and RHP Alexis Díaz (CIN)

While the Rogers brothers have ascended up this list due largely to their funk and deception, the Díaz brothers have skyrocketed virtually to the top of my rankings because of their pure stuff and overwhelming velocity. Edwin has been recognized for years now as the nearer with some of the greatest, however his youthful brother has quietly been working his method by means of the Reds’ system and emerged this yr as one of Cincinnati’s most dependable bullpen weapons.

Alexis presently boasts the highest average spin rate of any four-seam fastball in baseball. Meanwhile, Edwin has a four-seamer with the seventh-highest average velocity of any four-seamer in MLB and is again to wanting like one of the best closers in the world.

1. C Willson (CHC) and C William Contreras (ATL)

Before this season, I’d’ve put the Contreras brothers close to the center of the pack, contemplating what we then knew about the two backstops: Willson had confirmed All-Star upside however was coming off a merely strong season through which he completed 12th in fWAR and seventh in wRC+ amongst catchers with at least 300 plate appearances.

William, in the meantime, had seen his prospect inventory steadily enhance as he climbed the minor-league ladder in the Braves group, but it surely remained unclear whether or not he was monitoring as a strong backup or as a professional beginning catcher at the big-league stage.

It seems that we drastically underestimated each of them.

Willson, in the remaining yr of his contract with the Cubs, has been by far the best hitting catcher in baseball in 2022. He has hit .276/.396/.536, and his batted ball information backs up the slash line, too, as he ranks in the 97th percentile or above in average exit velocity, hard-hit rate and xwOBA. And he hasn’t simply been a very good hitter for a catcher; he has been one of the best hitters in the entire league.

But really, if you happen to lower the minimum plate appearances to 100, there’s one catcher who has by some means been even higher offensively than Willson: his brother. The youthful Contreras continues to be splitting catching duties in Atlanta with Travis d’Arnaud, however he has completely mashed when in the lineup. The 24-year-old continues to be rocking an OPS over 1.000 and has hit extra house runs (9) in simply greater than 100 plate appearances than Matt Olson (eight), Joey Gallo (eight) or Nick Castellanos (seven). 

William’s improvement right into a professional offensive power mixed with Willson’s establishing himself as the gold normal at the place they share made this rating a simple name. These two are the greatest brothers in Major League Baseball.

And whereas the stats converse for themselves, you may recognize all of it much more once you hearken to Willson discuss how particular it’s for them each to be in the massive leagues at the identical time.

If the first half of this season is any indication, they’ll be competing in opposition to one another for years to come back. And that’s fairly rattling cool.

Jordan Shusterman is half of @CespedesBBQ and a baseball author for FOX Sports. He lives in D.C. however is a big Seattle Mariners fan and loves watching the KBO, which suggests he would not get so much of sleep. You can observe him on Twitter @j_shusterman_.

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