Darwin Barney is in The Best Shape of His Life

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Or the freakiest. Guy is like 5’10”. How this can work is somewhat perplexing:

Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney put on 20 pounds of muscle over the winter to try to avoid the second-half slump he experienced last year in his first full season. “I’m a little bit overwhelmed from watching him (while coaching in Milwaukee),” manager Dale Sveum said. “He’s a lot stronger and a lot quicker than I thought.

Because we all know how well that works.

Oh well. He has two home runs in 656 major league plate appearances. Let’s see if he can double that this year.

Jackie Bradley, Jr. named ALCS MVP

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Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. was named the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series after his club punched its ticket to the World Series on Thursday night against the Astros.

Coincidentally, the Astros’ Game 5 starter Justin Verlander was ALCS MVP last year en route to a championship.

Bradley went 0-for-3 with a walk in Thursday’s Game 5, but he hit a three-run double in Game 2, a grand slam in Game 3, and a go-ahead two-run home run in Game 4. That’s nine RBI and three extra-base hits across five games. He also drew four walks.

Though Bradley had a solid regular season, he was not near the top of the list most people would’ve expected to win ALCS MVP heading into the series. During the season, he hit .234/.314/.403 with 13 home runs, 59 RBI, 76 runs scored, and 17 stolen bases in 535 plate appearances.