Sport Six Red Sox Players With Most To Prove In Unpredictable 2020 MLB Season
15 players test positive for COVID-19 after reporting to training camp
The NHL has released a statement reporting that 15 players tested positive for COVID-19 after reporting to training camp. More than 1,450 total tests were administered to the 250+ players in camp. These tests have all been administered following the start of Phase 2 of the return to play initiative, which began on June 8. © Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports The NHL is going to have to determine how many positive tests for coronavirus would be considered an outbreak, as 15 players tested positive after reporting to training camp. What’s more, 11 additional players have tested positive for coronavirus outside of NHL training camps.
The Boston Red Sox, collectively, figure to have a massive chip on their shoulder in 2020.
An underwhelming 2019 season on the heels of an historic, World Series-winning 2018 campaign has tempered expectations among many baseball pundits. Not to mention, Boston lost its popular manager (Alex Cora), best all-around player (Mookie Betts) and best starting pitcher (Chris Sale), among others, over the past few months.
The pressure really will be turned up for several players, for one reason or another. So, let’s examine who has the most to prove in what could be a60-game .
Multiple Blues players test positive for COVID-19
While the NHL isn’t identifying who has tested positive for the coronavirus or which team(s) they play on, it appears that the Blues have been hit by the virus. Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic reports (subscription required) that multiple players have tested positive and their identities have not been disclosed. As a result, the team has closed their practice facility through the weekend with the hopes of reopening on Monday. © William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports Some of the St. Louis Blues players have tested positive for COVID-19.
1. Eduardo Rodriguez
Rodriguez’s season is off to an unfortunate start, as manager Ron Roenicke revealed Tuesday the left-hander has. It’s unclear when Rodriguez, the previously presumed Opening Day starter, will be ready to take the ball, but he’ll be under a microscope when he finally does.
The starting rotation figures to be Boston’s biggest weakness, especially in wake of Sale undergoing Tommy John surgery, yet Rodriguez had the potential to be a stabilizing force. He took a major step forward in 2019, posting a 19-6 record with a 3.81 ERA over a career-high 34 starts and 203 1/3 innings. Now, the 27-year-old needs to show that type of effort — namely, his newfound durability — wasn’t a fluke and that he truly has evolved into one of MLB’s better hurlers.
NFLPA recommends canceling all 2020 preseason games
Of course, the NFL has full authority over whether to schedule preseason games or not, and it’s unclear whether the league will consider the union’s recommendation. As Breer points out, teams would lose out on gate revenue — if fans are allowed in stands, which is a dubious proposition — and local TV money. Plus, the NFL Network usually sees its highest ratings in August, so cancelling the preseason slate altogether would be a tough pill to swallow.Subscribe to Yardbarker's Morning Bark, the most comprehensive newsletter in sports. Customize your email to get the latest news on your favorite sports, teams and schools.
2. Brandon Workman
See above. Workman, like Rodriguez, is out to prove his fantastic 2019 season (1.88 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 13.1 strikeouts per nine innings across 71 2/3 frames) wasn’t an aberration and rather the new norm. The right-hander had a track record of being a somewhat reliable reliever, but he turned a corner while ultimately securing Boston’s closer role after Craig Kimbrel’s free agency exit. Can the Red Sox count on him to lock down the ninth inning again, or will Roenicke eventually revert to a closer-by-committee approach?
3. Michael Chavis
Chavis burst onto the scene in 2019, launching 10 home runs and posting a .967 OPS in his first 28 career major league games, but tailed off as the season progressed. This is a natural path for a 24-year-old rookie, as many pitchers learn how to attack newcomers in time. Now, it’s up to Chavis to make his own adjustments. He figures to form a platoon with Mitch Moreland at first base, and Chavis’ production, or lack thereof, could go a long way toward determining the playing time split and whether the Red Sox decide to give prospect Bobby Dalbec a look later this season.
Does Blue Jays being over 60-man limit suggest more positive COVID-19 tests?
Toronto originally announced a player pool with 58 names, so the addition of these four will put them over the limit. However, as Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi tweets, a team can exceed 60 players if exceptions need to be made due to positive COVID-19 tests. It’s likely, then, that the Jays either have had additional positives in the organization that will remove some players from the 60-man pool or that additional transactions are coming Thursday. Notably, the MLB.
4. Rafael Devers
Just how good is Devers? He was an absolute monster last season, breaking through for 32 homers, 115 RBIs and a .311/.361/.555 slash line. It’s crazy to think he’s entering only his age-23 campaign, which presents a real opportunity for him to show he isn’t just a rising star but rather an elite performer worthy of being mentioned alongside MLB’s best players.
5. Andrew Benintendi
Benintendi, unlike Devers, took a step back in 2019, hitting just .266 with 13 homers, 68 RBIs and a .774 OPS — one year after making a strong push for his first All-Star appearance and two years after finishing second to Aaron Judge in American League Rookie of the Year voting. He also ran less, totaling just 10 stolen bases after back-to-back 20-steal seasons. So, what’s his ceiling? Who is he as a player? The jury’s still out, really, as the former seventh overall pick just turned 26 and there’s room for continued growth. But this season is huge for Benintendi, especially as he inches closer to free agency in 2023.
6. Alex Verdugo
Verdugo was the centerpiece of the trade that sent Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers. No one expects him to produce at Betts’ level — after all, Betts might be the second-best player in baseball behind Mike Trout — but first impressions are important, especially in Boston, and there already are questions about Verdugo’s past, health and overall ability to mitigate the loss of a homegrown superstar.
Minor League Baseball season officially canceled due to coronavirus .
In a statement issued by MiLB, the organization confirmed the cancellation of the season for the first time in its history due to the coronavirus pandemic. pic.twitter.com/XEDFmfHTmI — Minor League Baseball (@MiLB) June 30, 2020 This is sad for everyone involved. Minor league teams are huge parts of their communities, and a lot of smaller cities and towns across the country will miss them a lot in 2020.In addition, hundreds of minor league players and staff are essentially out of work for the rest of the year and are basically reliant on their MLB affiliates being willing to pay them through the end of the year.