…continuing on. Skipping the bullpen for now because I don’t want to be sick to my stomach. Actually, it works better on the word count for each column related to the roster projection, but I prefer to ignore that fact here. The bullpen is truly wretched. And should (WILL?!) make many fans sick this upcoming season.
Unquestioned starter: Christian Vazquez
Bench: Kevin Plawecki
Actual prospects that may contribute this season: None
Additional flotsam possibly seeing major league time this season: Jonathan Lucroy
Comments: Speaking of players unlikely to duplicate their 2019 performance…here comes Vasky!! 10 homers in parts of 4 major league seasons prior to last, then he hits 23. .246 career batting average, then .276 in 2019. Etc.
Actually, I like Vazquez and certainly wanted him playing over Sandy Leon last season at all costs. Just don’t expect any kind of repeat in 2020.
Plawecki. Leon, Lucroy…what’s the difference? I guess if Vazquez is going to catch 85-90% of the games, there is none.
Unquestioned starters: Xander Bogaerts (SS), Rafael Devers (3B)
Questioned starters: Mitch Moreland (1B), Jose Peraza (2B)
Bench: Michael Chavis (1B/2B/3B), Tzu-Wei Lin (2B/SS/3B/OF), Jonathan Arauz (2B/SS/3B)
DL: Dustin Pedroia (2B)
Actual prospects that may contribute this season: Bobby Dalbec (#3, 3B/1B), C.J. Chatham (#13, SS/2B)
Additional flotsam possibly seeing major league time this season: Marco Hernandez, Yairo Munoz
Comments: Devers had a breakout season last year at age 22. 54 doubles, 32 dingers, 201 hits, led the MAJORS in total bases and perhaps more surprisingly, had a .311 batting average (.254 in his first two years). Wow. Is that an early peak, or can we expect more big things going forward?
I think we would all be happy with simply a duplicate season. Devers has always been regarded as a great talent. But to even expect a duplicate season may still be a stretch.
That being said, let’s also see where his head is at, seeing that the Sox brass decided to reward him for last season by renewing his contract for less than 700k. No one asked the Sox to give him a fat long term extension. But to lowball him like that cannot be good. Just ask Mookie Betts how he liked it when the team did it to him.
I’d say Bogaerts had a breakout season as well. But he seemed to be trending that way after his very good 2018.
No question though that he took another giant leap forward. Then he actually signed a pretty team friendly long term extension himself. Surprising, but maybe that was pretty good foresight if he wants to settle here, what with the state of the organization…and the world…these days.
Even if they come back to Earth a bit, I don’t think we will have to worry too much about X and Raffy. Though the additional burden of trying to carry this team could pull them down a bit. Make no mistake, these guys will be expected to be the big producers. What about J.D. helping ease some of that burden, you ask? More on that later.
There seems to be some feel good stories about Peraza coming out now. I am not sure I care. As long as he can play a little defense, I should be good with anyone at that position. Well, except Pedroia, who still doesn’t know when it is time to retire. My feelings on Pedey are well known. So let’s move on…
Moreland was re-signed…and…I am actually ok with it. I can’t believe I just wrote this either. But for 2.5 mil and a 3 mil club option, really not a bad deal. Especially now, with the shortened season likely. He’s useful against right handed pitching, plays good defense, seems to be a good team/clubhouse guy and all that.
We don’t know what to expect from Chavis over a full season yet. Chavis is probably going to spend some time at second and perhaps third base as well. Dalbec is not likely ready this year, if ever. We are at least a couple of years away from Triston Casas (#2 Sox prospect). One more year of Mitch ain’t gonna kill anyone.
Lin makes the team because he is out of options and Arauz because he was a Rule V pick who needs to stay on the roster for the full season or be offered back to the club he was claimed from for half of the purchase price. You really don’t need both, so the expanded rosters at the start of the season, plus some injuries should give the team enough time to decide on which one to keep. Lin has been dabbling in the outfield the past year or so, so this may make him even more useful at the beginning of the season.
Hernandez has gotten some major league time and there is actually something about him I like. No idea why. But he was designated for assignment over the winter himself. No team in the majors appeared to like him as much as I did, so he will be toiling in Pawtucket for the time being. As will Munoz, a late spring signee after being dumped by the Cards. Can’t blame the Cards for dumping him actually. Yairo apparently felt that he wasn’t going to make the team (the first week of March he felt this) and just decided to fly back home to the Dominican Republic…without notifying anyone in the St. Louis organization. That’s a pretty solid way for a fungible reserve to get released, I would say.
I’d say that based on the circumstances, we will not see any of #1 prospect and the supposed jewel of the Mookie trade, Jeter Downs, this season. I am not sure we would have seen him anyway if this was a normal season.
And if you were hoping that Chad de la Guerra or Jantzen Witte were finally going to make it to the bigs, I’d say you’re bound to be disappointed as well. Sorry for this news.
Next: The conclusion…
No preamble this year. The real picks (besides the starters) come out later today. And I am going to beat them…I think for the first time ever.
32 players are selected. 20 position players, 12 pitchers. This time I am not cheating on the numbers. Each team will still be represented. (S) for the starter. Comments below each position.
C: Gary Sanchez, NYY (S), James McCann, CWS
Sanchez is pretty obvious but McCann?? Yup. Actually, there were a few candidates for the backup job. Christian Vazquez (Bos), Josh Phegley (Oak), Robert Perez (Cle) or Omar Narvaez (Sea) would have suited just fine. McCann had the highest OPS of the five. Done.
1B: Carlos Santana, Cle (S), Luke Voit, NYY
Similar to catcher, Santana is clear-cut and then there were others that could have been selected instead of Voit. C.J. Cron (Min…after hitting 30 dingers for TB last year and getting released), Jose Abreu (CWS) or Edwin Encarnacion (Sea/NYY) could have filled this spot too. Voit had the highest OPS of the four. Done.
2B: DJ LeMahieu, NYY (S), Whit Merrifield, KC, Tommy La Stella, LAA
Tail between my legs on DJ. Although his glove is top-notch, I figured his offense was the product of Coors Field when he played half his games in Colorado. Whoops. In my defense, all of the major league teams apparently thought the same, including the Yankees themselves. When he signed in NY, with Gleybar Torres, Troy Tulowitski (until Didi Gregorius was healthy) and Miguel Andujar were supposed to handle 2B, SS & 3B, respectively. So where exactly was he going to play? 1B? Maybe. But they had Voit and Greg Bird already there too. People got hurt, DJ played and then made a lot of people look bad. I will accept that.
Merrifield is the Royal rep, but he has earned it. Even with the lack of steals this year. Hunter Dozier was really the only other KC candidate. But he has missed some time this year and sucked when he came up last year…so maybe it’s just a nice 50-something game run. I just realized Whit has played a bit more outfield this season than second, but I am going to leave him here. His versatility will be nice, as will La Stella’s. Speaking of sucking, La Stella is a journeyman. But thought he belonged. Took him over Brandon Lowe from the Rays, who doesn’t play against lefties and has fanned over 100 times already this year. As a middle infielder…yikes!
3B: Alex Bregman, Hou (S), Matt Chapman, Oak, Rafael Devers, Bos
Bregman was easy, Chapman was the A’s rep and Devers is having a breakout season. Yoan Moncada (CWS) is also having a breakout season, so if you put him over Devers I would not argue. But once again, Raffy has the higher OPS. Don…you get the point. Gio Urshela (NYY)? Nice season, but…no.
SS: Xander Bogaerts, Bos (S), Jorge Polanco, Min
No Francisco Lindor (Cle), who started late and hasn’t quite caught up yet. No Carlos Correa (Hou), who is hurt…again. Tim Anderson (CWS) started out blazing…and still has good numbers…and Elvis Andrus (Tex) is there too, but decided on just these two. Polanco won the real vote, but it looks like X has had the better season…and more established track record. For the record, I did not exclude Gleybar Torres because he is a New York Yankee. I excluded him because he has done a great deal of his damage against the wretched Baltimore Orioles. 10 of his 19 homers are against them, for instance. Enough said…for these purposes anyway.
OF: Mike Trout, LAA (S), George Springer, Hou (S), Joey Gallo, Tex (S), Eddie Rosario, Min, Max Kepler, Min, Trey Mancini, Bal
Trout…yup. The best player on the planet, still. Springer and Gallo were a little tougher. They’ve both missed a whole slew of games. But have been dominant when healthy, so that gave them the nod. TWO Twin outfielders? Yup. Well deserved. Mancini is the Oriole rep. But don’t discount his numbers. Michael Brantley (Hou) and Domingo Santana (Sea) and even Austin Meadows (TB) have cases. Wouldn’t fight any of them. Mookie Betts? Last years’ American League Most Valuable Player? Wasn’t even a consideration for me, despite me being an unabashed homer. While I actually expect him to make the real team, he has…not been very good this year. Maybe the expectations are too high. But SHOULDN’T they be? He looks completely disinterested. I actually didn’t even have him on my initial list. Sorry.
DH: J.D. Martinez, Bos (S), Daniel Vogelbach, Sea
J.D. is not having the same season as he did last year, but he is the clear choice here. Hunter Pence got voted in as the starter in the real world and although he has put up some nice numbers for a surprising Texas team, I just can’t do it. Vogelbach has cooled after a hot start, but we chose him as the Mariner rep over Domingo. If you included Pence and Domingo and dropped Vogelbach and someone else…so be it. There was a pretty tight race to determine a great deal of the American League reserves so I am very interested to see what happens in real life. Can’t go wrong with several players.
P: Justin Verlander, Hou (S), Charlie Morton, Hou, Jose Berrios, Min, Jake Odorizzi, Min, Lucas Giolito, CWS, Mike Minor, Tex, Gerrit Cole, Hou, Matthew Boyd, Det, Trevor Bauer, Cle, Shane Greene, Det, Ken Giles, Tor, Aroldis Chapman, NYY
YIKES!!!!! THESE are the best American League pitchers this year??? For real?? Well, I guess Frankie Montas would have been too. Damn PEDs!!
The list is so thin, that despite starting the year so putridly, and sitting at 3-7, we still considered Chris Sale (Bos) for the staff. His ERA sits at 3.82. But with some of his peripherals (148 Ks in 101.1 innings, 1.03 WHIP and .212 batting average against), he may actually have a shot at making the REAL team. Hey, he has the track record. And has started three consecutive All-Star games. I am not ruling it out.
As for the staff I picked…Verlander is clearly going to start. Morton is #2. Cole’s and Bauer’s ERA are a little high, but hey, it’s the era I guess. Minor, Odorizzi and Giolito? Sigh…Boyd was going to be my Tiger rep until I realized I couldn’t leave Greene and his 0.90 ERA off. Giles has always been shaky, but he has a 1.33 ERA and is the only player I remotely considered from Toronto (my sincere apologies Eric Sogard and I guess Marcus Stroman). Brad Hand (Cle) and Roberto Osuna (Hou)? Perhaps. But these are my picks. As hard as it is to believe…
Next: The 2019 National League All-Stars…