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ALTERNATE TIMELINE: June 16th, 2020 MLB Preview

For my article today, I’d like to bring us over to an alternate timeline. Let’s see what the MLB might be looking like on this day if we were able to have a full season. Keep in mind these stats are made up and meant to make things interesting with breakout and struggling players. Please enjoy and comment any alternate timeline storylines you would like to see addressed! Maybe we can make this a consistent thing if the MLB doesn’t play in 2020.

Well, we’re almost halfway through the season and it’s been a good one so far! Unfortunately, my Sox are not in great shape, but there’s still plenty of baseball to be played. With a full slate of games on the docket today, let’s take a look at each matchup and where the teams are at this point in the year:

Giants (28-43) @ Nationals (38-33)

Stephen Strausburg has been having a nice season so far (6-3, 3.26 ERA), continuing a nice streak of health from last year (knock on wood). The Nationals have definitely felt the absence of Anthony Rendon, but Juan Soto and Trea Turner are both continuing to showcase their talents and keep the team in the playoff hunt. Starlin Castro has also been a nice surprise this season, when he’s been healthy. The Giants Jeff Samardzija has had his difficulties so far, posting a 5.09 ERA, but the rest of the Giants squad hasn’t faired much better, outside of surprise Maricio Dubon (.306 AVG).

Marlins (28-43) @ Phillies (39-32)

A struggling Caleb Smith (5.23 ERA) will be on the mound for the Marlins vs. Aaron Nola (3.17 ERA). The youth movement and recent signings have shown some promise for the Fish, especially on the field, but they’ll definitely need to get some more pitching in order to challenge a very good NL East in the future. For the Phils, Rhys Hoskins has improved his average from last year (.267), but is missing some of the power he’s known for (10 HR). That hasn’t stopped the team much. They’ve shown to be a more complete team than we thought they would be this year. My wife’s proud to call herself a Phillies fan for the first time in 2008.

Yankees (45-27) @ Pirates (31-40)

On the oppose side of the Marlins, the Yankees have shown themselves to be the powerhouse we all thought they would be this year. Last year’s star Gio Urshela has come back down to earth some. But he’s still been solid for the Yankees (.274 AVG and .813 OPS vs. .314 AVG and .889 OPS in 2019). Let’s be honest, this team is built for offense. They have defensive questions all over the place, but that’s not as important in the MLB today. James Paxton (3.88 ERA) faces off against Trevor Williams (4.12 ERA), and will look to quiet the bats of Josh Bell (18 HR) and Adam Frazier (.853 OPS)

Rays (42-31) @ Blue Jays (36-36)

Tyler Glasnow (3.40 ERA) takes on Anthony Kay (3.02 ERA in AAA). This is Kay’s first game in the MLB this year thanks to injuries to Trent Thorton and Ryan Borucki, but signs are pointing to seeing both back on the mound soon. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is playing more to his potential this year, hitting .285 with 20 HR so far on the year. On the other side, Yoshitomo Tsutsugo has been on a tear since forcing himself into the DH spot, hitting .323 with 8 HR since taking over the duties on May 13th. Things aren’t looking good for Ji-Man Choi, who might find himself riding the bench once he’s back from his bicep injury (.215 AVG). Regardless of where they end up at the end of this season, both teams should have bright futures ahead of them.

Orioles (24-48) @ Indians (38-35)

Surprisingly, the Orioles stole one from the Indians last night, holding on to a 3-2 win after a home run from Chris Davis (6) in the 8th. Davis has had a relative resurgence this year, hitting just over the Mendoza line to this point (.203 AVG). There’s not much else to say about the Orioles. They’re bad, and definitely hoping to get some strong prospects to set them up for the future. They’re hoping the package they got from the Angels for Trey Mancini will continue to boost their farm system. The Indians continue to have trade rumors swirling around pretty much anyone of note. But for now Francisco Lindor (.292 AVG, .864 OPS) is here. We’ll see if that changes as the trade deadline looms. Carlos Carrasco (3.78 ERA) will be pitching tonight vs. Alex Cobb (5.08 ERA).

Braves (41-31) @ Red Sox (36-37)

Mike Foltynewicz (3.64 ERA) takes on Nathan Eovaldi (4.13 ERA). Chris Sale has certainly been missed on this team this year, and a recent injury by Andrew Benintendi (.277 AVG) has furthered the Red Sox slide. Alex Verdugo (.879 OPS) has been a nice addition to this team, even if it came at the price of the second best player in baseball. Overall, it’s clear the Red Sox are playing for the future, meaning things aren’t looking good for re-signing J.D. Martinez (.969 OPS). This Braves team, though, might be my favorite this year, even if they aren’t the number one team on paper. Ronald Acuna Jr. (.988 OPS) and Freddie Freeman (1.003 OPS) are leading this team amazingly well, though Dansby Swanson (.685 OPS) has more than disappointed thus far.

White Sox (36-36) @ Tigers (32-38)

Cameron Maybin‘s resurgence (.801 OPS) continues to amaze me. He had a solid year in 2019 with the Yankees in limited time, but continued that trend this year full-time. Otherwise, I don’t know what to make of the Tigers. We’ll see if top prospect Casey Mize (2.95 ERA in AAA) can start to turn this franchise around. The White Sox, on the other hand, are on that track themselves. Yoan Mondcada (.878 OPS) and Tim Anderson (.340 AVG) continue to lead the youth movement in Chicago, and Luis Robert (.800 OPS) is off to a fine start as well since being called up, but we’ll see if that continues. Jordan Zimmerman (4.03 ERA) will be on the mound for the Tigers, facing Lucas Giolito (3.66 ERA).

Mets (37-34) @ Cubs (36-36)

Brandon Nimmo (.947 OPS) is back to his 2018 form, and with all the young power in the Mets outfield, this team should be good for years to come. Peter Alonso is not quite on his home run pace from last year, but is still crushing it (21 HR). This, coupled with his own talent, means Marcus Stroman (3.57 ERA) will have the edge tonight against Kyle Hendricks (4.09 ERA). Kyle Schwarber is struggling so far this year (.669 OPS), so hopefully he can pick back up. Javier Baez (.962 OPS) is, in my opinion, the best shortstop in the NL at this point. Sorry to all the Rockies and Padres fans out there.

Royals (30-42) @ Rangers (35-38)

Maikel Franco is not quite as disappointing as his was with the Phillies last year (.753 OPS vs .705 OPS last year), but the Royals were probably hoping for better when they signed him. Adalberto Mondesi (.807 OPS) is continuing to improve, and should be a nice piece for the Royals for years to come. The whole roster is a mix of over and under achievers, so time will tell what they become. Joey Gallo (.987 OPS) is becoming a true star in this league. The Rangers are probably hoping he can rub off on Willie Calhoun (only 11 XBH). Jakob Junis (4.23 ERA) will be on the mound for the Royals matching up with Kyle Gibson (4.88 ERA). Texas won yesterdays game 6-3.

Brewers (37-34) @ Twins (40-33)

I know Keston Hiura (.678 OPS) is getting valuable MLB playing time, but I selfishly want to see more Brock Holt (.721 OPS). C’mon Brewers, give the people what they really want. Christian Yelich (.879 OPS) still seems hampered slightly by his injury, but Yelich at 90% is better than many players at 100%.Adrian Houser (9-3 record) will be trying to continue his surprising season against Homer Bailey (4.50 ERA). Josh Donaldson (.891 OPS) is still a great player, but age is catching up to him. Meanwhile, Nelson Cruz (.921 OPS) has shown no signs of slowing down, reminding me of David Ortiz‘s last year with the Red Sox. We’ll see if he continues to play beyond this season.

Rockies (32-39) @ Cardinals (38-33)

Jon Gray (4.97 ERA) will be on the mound tonight for the Rockies. Daniel Murphy (.242 AVG, .678 OPS) has definitely not been the player the Rockies thought he was when they signed him last offseason. He kind of represents this underachieving team in that regard. Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story (.968 and .934 OPS, respectively) seem to be the only ones on this team that are actually playing up to their abilities. For the Cardinals, we’ll see Miles Mikolas (3.88 ERA) showing off his stuff. Long time Cardinal Yadier Molina (.704 OPS) is still holding on, but personally I don’t expect him to be starting for any team after this year. Tommy Edman (.906 OPS) has done a great job at the hot corner, taking the majority of playing time away from Matt Carpenter (.821 OPS).

Angels (37-34) @ Athletics (37-36)

Mentioned before, the Angels traded for Trey Mancini two weeks ago, and so far it’s led them to a 8-2 record in the last 10. It’s not that Mancini is that much of an impact player, but it does limit the playing time of 40-year-old Albert Pujols (.213 AVG). Pujols has still delivered in clutch moments this season, like a few weeks ago against the Rangers, but giving him more days off certainly won’t hurt. Mike Trout is Mike Trout, and no one is surprised to see him off on another MVP campaign (.303 AVG, 17 HR, 5.0 WAR), and the addition of Anthony Rendon (.904 OPS) has been stellar. Shohei Ohtani (3.40 ERA) will battle Sean Manaea (3.32 ERA) on the mound tonight. He’ll have his hands full with Khris Davis back to his homerun-crushing ways (23) on top of similarly strong showings from Matt Chapman and Matt Olson (15 and 17 HRs, respectively). Unfortunately, Ohtani won’t be able to counteract with his own bat.

Astros (41-30) @ Mariners (30-43)

This Astros team, despite their controversy, are still a very good team. Jose Altuve (.340 AVG) and Alex Bregman (1.035 OPS) are still all-MLB players, and the rest of the team is solid enough. The rotation took a hit with the departure of Cole. But Justin Verlander (3.01 ERA) is still in the midst of his late-career renaissance. But today they’ll have the ageless Zack Greinke (3.47 ERA) facing off against Kendall Graveman (5.07 ERA). Despite the interest in the Mariners (thanks to Jon Bois and SB Nation), they’re back to their bottom-dwelling ways. Shed Long (.853 OPS) and Daniel Vogelbach (16 HR) have been bright spots. But, there are plenty on this roster that are either not great or underachieving.

Reds (35-36) @ Padres (35-38)

Of all declining MLB stars, Joey Votto‘s (.738 OPS) decline is the one that hurts me the most. Maybe it’s his teams’ lack of success, maybe it’s my time on the Reds back on MLB The Show 16, but either way I feel bad for the guy. Nicholas Castellanos (.879 OPS) has hit well, though his defense is still terrible. Maybe if the DH comes to the NL in 2021, the Reds can make some use of their crowded outfield. I still feel conflicted about that possibility, though. Sonny Gray (5.05 ERA) will be pitching against the Padres’ Zach Davies (3.34 ERA). Fernando Tatis Jr. (.930 OPS) might not have the #1 SS spot, but man is he electric. Tommy Pham (.891 OPS) has been a good pickup for the Padres, even if it hasn’t translated to wins yet.

Diamondbacks (36-36) @ Dodgers (48-24)

I was surprised by the Dbacks trade for Starling Marte (.843 OPS), but it’s worked out in their favor. Ketel Marte (.967 OPS) has continued his tear from last year at a new position. However, it’s the team on the other side of the diamond’s fault they’re only at a .500 record this year. Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts (1.045 and .999 OPS) are a lethal duo, and it’s not even fair for the rest of the league. Gavin Lux (.816 OPS) has also been a nice addition to the team. Mike Leake (4.44 ERA) challenges David Price (4.13 ERA) tonight after a 10-5 win by the Dodgers last night.

MLB Standings as of June 16th, 2020:

MLB 2020 Season Standings - ALMLB 2020 Season Standings - NL

– Pat Shuman (@PShu1996 on Twitter)

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