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 1 hour 19 sec ago (view)
so if the marlins keep covid'ing it up and finish with a 2-1 record do they make the playoffs with their kickass .667% winning percentage?
how does this circus work?
j/k...we're not gonna get to the playoffs.
Cubster 2 hours 58 min ago (view)
No new positives for either Marlins or Cards today. The Marlins are OK'd to play at Baltimore tonight (so far).
Cubster 3 hours 46 sec ago (view)
Cardinal Coronavirus positives include: Yadi Molina, Paul DeJong. Relievers Jr Fernandez, Kodi Whitley. Inf Edmundo Sosa and Rangel Ravelo. 6 members of staff not yet disclosed.
Yadi posted on Instagram (in Spanish). DeJong also released a statement. The team is to fly to StL on Wednesday but need two consecutive days of testing negative before they can travel.
crunch 16 hours 59 min ago (view)
pen manages to string 2 good innings together...in a row!
the cubs are 8-2.
the cards are 2-3. the marlins are 2-1.
we're 1/6th of the way into this and who knows how much longer it will last...
crunch 17 hours 15 min ago (view)
"what i wouldn't give to have a man bun and a 99mph fastball" - JD on staumont
crunch 17 hours 19 min ago (view)
Eric S 17 hours 27 min ago (view)
The Adjunct Professor was dealing tonite
crunch 17 hours 44 min ago (view)
a.mills is good for 140+ pitches, right?
*looks at pen* uh...right?
he was shakey through the first 2ip and stellar since.
Cubster 17 hours 45 min ago (view)
The Cardinals have to test negative for the next two days for the Cub-Cardinal series to happen this weekend (per Len Kasper)
crunch 20 hours 6 min ago (view)
game time delayed 30m
crunch 20 hours 15 min ago (view)
m.soroka (ATL) is having to be helped off the field unable to put weight on his right leg.
it looks like he really screwed something in his calf/foot area that's not specifically the ankle.
crunch 22 hours 5 min ago (view)
bryant(LF) / rizzo / baez / contreras / schwarber(DH) / bote(3rd) / heyward / hoerner / happ
crunch 23 hours 11 min ago (view)
"take off your mask while you eat/drink" indoor venues has been one of the stupidest missteps in this whole thing. i can safely say if i've been hearing this in covid briefings at work for months that government leaders have, too.
it's one of the most disasterous missteps we've taken during re-opening and there is little american appetite for ending it on a government or "personal responsibility" level.
crunch 23 hours 19 min ago (view)
the "field of dreams" game that absolutely no one asked for, wanted, or cared about (STL/CWS) has been cancelled.
Cubster 1 day 13 min ago (view)
MSNBC: 13 members of the Cardinals organization are positive, 7 players, 6 staff.
Sportswriters saying that the Criteria for shutting down the season is 3-4 teams with uncontrolled spread.
Entire series between Tigers-Cards canceled.
Hanging by threads...
Charlie 1 day 20 min ago (view)