This month, I give you my most interesting 2,020 players for the 2020s.
. . . Wait, I have an editor on the line.
Fine, since Baseball America won’t just give me 15 pages, I’ll lower my sights. Here are 20 players who will help set the course of the 2020 season.
ANDREW BENINTENDI, RED SOX.
One reason the Red Sox entertained the idea of trading Mookie Betts is the presence of Benintendi, like Betts a complete player. The sweet swinger lost ground in 2019, however, dropping to career worsts in average (.266), on-base percentage (.343), homers (13) and stolen bases (10). With or without Betts, Benintendi’s return to stardom is essential to the Red Sox competing with the Yankees in the American League East.
EDWIN DIAZ, METS. Diaz went from the No. 2 reliever in baseball with the Mariners in 2018 to a dinger machine with the Mets. His ERA nearly tripled as he allowed 15 homers in 58 innings, and he lost the closer role in August. The Mets lost 24 games in which Diaz appeared, an insane number for a closer. The Mets hope to catch the Braves and Nationals this year, and they can’t do it if Diaz is blowing one-fifth of his save opportunities.
JESUS LUZARDO. ATHLETICS. The lefty was supposed to have a big impact on the 2019 club, but injuries held him to 55 innings all year and just 12 in the majors. Those A’s won a wildcard berth again in spite of his absence, but after years of patching together a rotation and using openers, the A’s are ready to have a true ace. Luzardo, who pitches in the mid 90s with an excellent curveball and changeup, just needs to stay healthy to become the best pitcher on the best challenger to the Astros in the AL West.
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February - March 2020