As we get closer to Opening Day, there have been a ton of moves made by many teams. Some come with confusion, some with frustration and others with disapproval. That being said, with there only being 60 games to be played in 2020, it’s best to be informed so that you can make a decision for your team quickly and confidently. Here are some of the most recent changes and fall outs to the Major League rosters.
1.) Gavin Lux Optioned
Dodgers have optioned Gavin Lux.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) July 21, 2020
* – as such, he won’t be able to start the season with the big league club as he will be with the Taxi Squad off-site.
Chris Taylor and Kike Hernandez will be platooning at 2B. Both are avoidable in most drafts and should only be used in the deepest of leagues if that.
Lux will be up at some point this season, as his bat is too good. This move does give the Dodgers an extra year of control if that’s their motivation, but there’s also the unfortunate possibility that he has COVID. Chances are that Lux wasn’t your starting 2B, as he was the 17th highest-drafted second baseman in July. However, if he was your starter, here are some other options with a higher ADP that could be on your waiver wire:
Cesar Hernandez: has hit leadoff for most of the Indian’s Intrasquad games and will give you consistently everyday at-bats with stats similar to Lux.
Daniel Murphy: should start for the Rockies and could provide sneaky upside with a non-injured hand.
Kolten Wong: similar stats to Lux, yet more speed makes him and his everyday at-bats intriguing.
2.) Oakland Rotation Woes
— The Athletic Bay Area (@TheAthleticSF) July 7, 2020
Tough news for the Oakland #Athletics who place prized young starter A.J. Puk on the injured list with shoulder strain and in LA to see specialists.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) July 20, 2020
The Oakland A’s came into the season believing that their depth at pitching was a strength. Before their first game, they’ll have to put that theory to the test, as already their rotation looks depleted. Frankie Montas remains their ace, while Sean Manaea, Mike Fiers, Christ Bassitt, and Daniel Mengden round out their starting five.
The biggest winner here is Bassitt, who looked solid last season. Over his 28 games played, he finished 10-5 with a 3.81 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP. His 23.0% strikeout rate and 7.7% walk rate were both above the league average. He increased his curve and change up to a combined 20% usage rate and held batters to a .170 batting average with both. The A’s play at home for five games to start the season (3 vs the Angels, 2 vs the Rockies) before heading to Seattle for four games. There’s a chance that Bassitt pitches well more than once.
While we don’t know for certain how Luzardo will handle battling back from COVID, we do know that he was asymptomatic and that he felt well while self-isolating. Furthermore, he has said that he feels great being with the team and should be back on the field soon. Manager Bob Melvin has said he will start from the bullpen and go from there. For now, I would hold onto him.
A.J. Puk is a completely different story. He was immediately placed on the IL following the shoulder strains, and Melvin was concerned and frustrated for Puk because of the injury history of his young starter. Already previously recovered from Tommy John surgery, Puk now has shoulder strains that may not go away anytime soon. He’s definitely someone to keep on your IL, because the talent is there with the chance he gets healthy. That said, he may leave a hole at the end of your rotation. Some starters off the waiver wire could include:
Elieser Hernandez: just won a starter’s spot for the Marlins and has the stuff to back it up.
Spencer Turnbull: went through a complete lifestyle change in the off-season, trying to get himself healthier and more adept to surviving a long season. He’s looked great at camp, had a terrific first half in 2019, and is going almost undrafted.
Kim to close in St.Louis?
Kwang-Hyun Kim will start the season in the bullpen and likely will close.
Carlos Martinez is in the #STLCards rotation.
— Anne Rogers (@anne__rogers) July 21, 2020
The Cardinals’ rotation fills itself out with Jack Flaherty, Adam Wainwright, Dakota Hudson, Miles Mikolas, and Carlos Martinez. Kwang-hyun Kim leads the pack in that bullpen for saves, over Giovanny Gallegos, Andrew Miller, and Ryan Helsley.
Carlos Martinez, when healthy, pitches well. With a career ERA of 3.36 and just under nine strikeouts per inning, he’s definitely someone to not only add but also start for your team. If he’s available (which I doubt), he’s a must-add now. On the flip side, there were a lot of Ryan Helsely and Giovanny Gallegos speculation adds over this past weekend within the industry as many leagues had their first FAAB’s of the season. All of those purchases are, for now, sunken costs, as Kim comes out the clear winner here. As the 472nd player drafted in July, I touched upon him briefly here, and I actually like his stuff going into 2020. I never did think he’d end up the closer, but it is what it is.
Scrounging around for saves isn’t easy, and chances are all of the closers and closers by committee have been drafted and snagged up from the waiver wire. My advice would be to look for the next in line from the teams listed here:
Games played to start the season without a off day.
Possibly the backup closers from these teams could get a Save or two.
— Jeff Zimmerman (@jeffwzimmerman) July 15, 2020
Closers won’t be going back to back too often, and the next in line, whoever that is on those teams, should at least get opportunities.
4.) History Is Made
Last, but certainly not least, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the history that was made on Monday night:
Alyssa Nakken, the first female coach in MLB history, is coaching first base for the @SFGiants 🙌
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) July 21, 2020
Well deserved for a lot of reasons, Nakken joined the Giants in January and became the first female to have a full-time coaching job in major league history. After her promotion, she talked about her sense of responsibility for showing women everywhere about how they can coach in baseball. Congratulations to her for being a pioneer in something that has been male-dominated until now. Hopefully, she is the start of many deserved opportunities to come for women everywhere as all people have equal rights to follow their passions and see those dreams turn into reality.