The 2020 26th Man
As most of you know, MLB is planning to implement a few rules changes in 2020, one of which is the addition of a 26th man (who cannot be a pitcher) to the active list rosters Opening Day through August 31st.
Because all MLB clubs carry 13 pitchers (usually five starters and eight relievers) during the regular season, clubs have been limited to a four-man bench (National League) or a three-man bench (American League where there is a DH), and there just isn't room on the roster to carry a speclialist or a player with a limited role or function until rosters expand in September.
But back in the day it was typical for clubs to carry only ten or eleven pitchers, so a six or seven-man bench was common, and some of the players on the bench could have a very specific role or specialty that we don't see as much today (at least not until rosters expand in September).
In deciding who might make a good 2020 26th man, it's possible that we could see a throwback to the old days of roster construction.
Here are the three types of bench guys we might now see for a full season with the implementation of the 26th man rule:
1. TYPE 1: Ace pinch hitter.
This type has to be able to hit "cold" off the bench and be able to handle high velocity FB and high-spin breaking balls from the best relievers in the game (both lefty & righty). Ideally this player can play defense, too (at least passably), but it isn't necessary. Mainly he just needs to get a big hit in a game situation when his club most needs one.
This type generally would have more value on a National League club (where there is no DH), but he could be a fit on an American League team that features a defense-first player (most-likely a SS or a catcher) with limited offensive skills in the lineup.
EXAMPLES: Tommy LaStella circa 2018, but also guys like Lenny Harris, Manny Mota, Smoky Burgess, Jerry Lynch, and Moose McCormick from bygone eras.
2. TYPE 2: Pinch-runner who can steal bases pretty much at will.
Like the type 1 player, it is helpful if this player can also play defense (usually OF), but his main job is to pinch-run and steal a base (maybe two) in a game situatiion where a run is needed to tie or win a game.
This is the type of player clubs will often add in September (when rosters expand) or in the Wild Card game (when only one starting pitcher is needed), but now it can be for the entire season.
EXAMPLES: Terrance Gore (acquired by the Cubs in 2018) and Quintin Berry (acquired by the Cubs in 2015).
3. TYPE 3: #3 catcher.
Like the pinch-running specialist, a third catcher is the type of player who is added when rosters expand in September, but now a third catcher can be available for the entire season. This type of player can be a plus if a club's top two catchers are both good hitters (as is the case with the Cubs right now) and the manager wants to be able to use the #2 catcher as a pinch-hitter without a second thought whenever necessary.
It is a bonus if the #3 catcher can play other positions as well, but it isn'r absolutely necessary. Ideally the third catcher would also be the "emergency" pitcher in a blow-out or in extra innings after all of the available relievers have been used.
crunch 2 days 2 hours ago (view)
a 22 month old.
a'ite. i'm done with Earth. going to Pluto. don't bother visiting or calling. later.
Cubster 5 days 6 hours ago (view)
Jason Schmidt signs with Dodgers, 3/44.
crunch 5 days 7 hours ago (view)
20 year, 800m contract incoming...front loaded 150m over the first 2 years with a player opt out after that...
videographer 5 days 13 hours ago (view)
Darth Vader to rescue Carlos Correa's bruised ego.
crunch 5 days 14 hours ago (view)
carlos correa has hired scott boras...
bradsbeard 6 days 9 hours ago (view)
The IFA market isn't exactly an equal access thing. Not only do the Cubs have a slightly smaller bonus pool than some teams, players are often linked to teams through their trainers well before they are able to sign. It's not like when these kids are 14 that the teams know for sure that they have a top of the class player on their hands two years in the future.
Wrigley Rat 6 days 10 hours ago (view)
Cubbies.4ever - I read that the Cubs strategy with international free agents has been to spend most of their bonus money on young, position players and then take chances on cheaper, older pitching prospects who have been late bloomers (taller, stronger, more command of pitches, etc.). They are also grabbing guys at the end of the international signing period and signing them to future service contracts. They have six pitchers that were signed last year to future service contracts, and only one position player.
cubbies.4ever 6 days 11 hours ago (view)
Cubs IFA Signings are heavy on SS (given SS usually can play many positions as the develop), but only 1 pitcher. Given it's still early. Also disappointing that their best signing is #18. Gone are the days of Soler, Eloy, Torres, Marquez, Amaya etc. I believe Christian Hernandez last year was highly rated though.
Wrigley Rat 1 week 4 hours ago (view)
One more international free agent signing announced today: Daniel Benschop, OF, Aruba
bradsbeard 1 week 9 hours ago (view)
I hope all is well with AZ Phil. Hasn't posted in a few weeks and typically would expect him to have a post up tracking IFA signings. Maybe he's waiting for something official from the Cubs (who don't seem to have announced any of the signings officially)?
Cubster 1 week 12 hours ago (view)
Les Grobstein dies at age 69. Encyclopedic Chicago historian and longtime sports talk overnight radio host, plus a controversial listen. https://www.robertfeder.com/2022/01/17/les-grobstein-1952-2022/
Cubster 1 week 12 hours ago (view)
Hernandez ranks 18th on MLB's International prospect list. Sanchez ranks at #43.
Tribune article today on the Cub https://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/cubs/ct-chicago-cubs-alexis-hernan...
CubsCentral08 1 week 2 days ago (view)
List is up to 12 now
Adan Sanchez, C/3B, Panama
Alexis Hernandez, SS, Dominican Republic
Jefferson Rojas, SS, Dominican Republic
Josefrailyn Alcantata, OF, Dominican Republic
Carlos Altuve, C, Venezuela
Josias Ramirez, OF, Dominican Republic
Moises Febrillet, SS, Dominican Republic
Albertina Belliard, OF, Dominican Republic
Yidel Diaz, C, Dominican Republic
Freylin Silverio, RHP, Dominican Republic
Sandy Sanchez, SS, Dominican Republic
Darlin de Leon, SS, Dominican Republic
Wrigley Rat 1 week 2 days ago (view)
In addition to those signed today, it's worth noting that seven players were signed to future-service contracts during the last international free agent signing period, and are expected to make their system-debut this coming season (most likely in the Dominican Republic). Those players are:
- RHP - Luis Angel Reyes
- LHP - Kevin Valdez
- RHP - Jensi Ramirez
- RHP - Yafrerlyn Vasquez
- RHP - Eligio Paredes
- RHP - Jair Jimenez
- OF - Edward Vargas
Wrigley Rat 1 week 2 days ago (view)
The Cubs added four more International Free Agents so far today:
- Josias Ramirez, OF, Dominican Republic
- Moises Febrillet, SS, Dominican Republic
- Albertina Belliard, OF, Dominican Republic
- Yidel Diaz, C, Dominican Republic