I’ve got my fingers crossed, but unless I’m mistaken, every major league team is currently cleared to play baseball games! No small feat in 2020.
With so many games to play, and prospects popping up like whack-a-moles, we’ve got a lot to track, especially with double headers and compressed schedules and on and on. Here’s what I’m seeing around the league.
Pirates RHP JT Brubaker first caught my eye when I saw him hitting 97 in his first start. The results have been inconsistent for Pittsburgh’s 2018 minor league pitcher of the year, but he’s got an impressive assortment of off-speed pitches and has been getting better each time out.
Miami LHP Trevor Rogers made his debut a little under the radar and pitched around five walks to blank the Mets for 4 innings. Whereas RHP Sixto Sanchez is likely a permanent member of the rotation now, Rogers figures to be an up and down innings filler.
Seems important to note Cleveland RHP Triston McKenzie is here to stay, at least for now. The team president told Zach Plesac he didn’t have a spot on the big league club, which feels ominous but could just be service clock positioning.
In Chicago, 3B Kris Bryant is hurt more ways than I can count, and David Bote stands to inherit a good portion of the abandoned at bats. He’s got some swing and miss in his game, but the power is real, and he’s been a streak hitter across his short career. He’s been showing signs of life lately and should be added in most deep leagues if he’s available.
I’ve detailed his development in the Cleveland organization and mentioned now-Detroit SS Willi Castro hitting a moonshot in this space before, so I’m intrigued to see he’s holding his own this year after mostly flailing during his brief 2019 stint. It’s a part-time gig so far, but things change pretty fast for competent defenders with bat skills.
Speaking of hot Willies, have you seen the stick on SS Willy Adames in Tampa? I’ve never been a buyer at his cost v. perceived value in part because his defense always floated his prospect profile, but you can’t argue with success. Well, you could, given his 32.7 % K rate, but striking out is what the cool kids do now, and he’s walking 12.9 percent of the time, up from 7.9 last year but not insanely better than his 9.6 of 2018, his rookie season. Have to say I’m getting some natural progression vibes from a guy who just cleared 1000 plate appearances.
2B OF Sam Haggerty is playing just about every day in Seattle and running just about every time he’s on base. These Ms love their steals. I don’t think he’s an especially good player, long term, but 2020 ain’t a long season, and there aren’t too many SB boosts on most waiver wires.
Reds OF Mark Payton was the only man who ever truly guarded Michael Jordan. Considering he’s 5’8” and was in diapers when Michael ruled the league, I find this impressive, regardless of the memes it’s spawned. On the ball field, Payton looks a little like Adam Eaton. In his five-year minor league career, he’d never shown power until slashing .334/.400/.653 in AAA last year for Oakland, which helped land him this opportunity in Cincinnati. I think it’s telling that he’s already playing a bit in a deep outfield. Probably just a deep flier, but I think he looks good in the box and could carve out a role.
Thanks for reading! I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter and Reddit.