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American League

American League: Most interesting rosters heading into 2020

  • CLUTCH Summary: August is one of the mustiest months of the year, but it does signal Major League Baseball being closer to the playoffs.
  • The American League is pretty stacked. The trade deadline is long gone, so we have a better idea of who is where and what teams are going to be good.
  • That said, looking toward the 2020 American League rosters is a real eyeball opener, as a few teams are in a great position to make huge strides. 

Looking ahead to the future always presents an interesting situation of guessing and predicting while having some sort of evidence to base claims off of. With the American League, the amount of sheer talent in prospects and youngsters that are aiming to take over the league is quite amazing, to say the least.

Obviously, the likes of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Yordan Alvarez, Brandon Lowe, and Michael Chavis have all been making news since their call-ups to the show, but there are a ton of other players who have yet to make their MLB debuts that should be hyped up just as much.

With the powerhouse franchises like the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Houston Astros,
Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers, their status as the league leaders does not look to
change all that much for the 2020 MLB season. Built as they are, their financial gains and
aspirations have led them to be dominant so far, and 2020 will be more of the same.

So while those teams should again be on top, this article is more to dive into interesting rosters for 2020, based on potential, youthfulness and any other parts that may make a team interesting.

Minnesota Twins

C Willians Astudillo
1B C.J. Cron
2B Joe Panik
SS Jorge Polanco
3B Marwin Gonzalez
LF Eddie Rosario
CF Byron Buxton
RF Max Kepler
DH Nelson Cruz

SP Jose Berrios
CL Taylor Rogers

For a team that consistently has been relegated to the second-place slot in their own division, the Minnesota Twins have the tools to become an AL powerhouse at the top of the American League Central division. Currently leading that division as the middle of August draws close, their 2020 plan looks to be just as solid as their 2019 results.

A ton of their starting lineup is penciled in to be returning next year, as this team has been financially smart while holding onto their own. Max Kepler just recently signed a very team-friendly deal that keeps him under contract until 2023 for sure with an option for 2024, for example.

Their farm system has a few of its top pieces looking ready to push for their first bids at major league action in 2020, as prized shortstop prospect Royce Lewis, as well as outfielder/first baseman Alex Kirilloff and Brusdar Graterol, look to be close to breaking through. All three are ranked within the top 60 of the league’s best prospects, including both Lewis (7th overall) and Kirilloff (16th) ranking within the top 20.

The only difference in what this team’s lineup could look like in 2020 is their starting second baseman, which is currently held by Jonathan Schoop. While the former Oriole and Brewer has been very solid for this team, they may look to move on to a cheaper veteran with good production, something that Giants castaway Joe Panik could provide.

Making it another year of a one-year deal for their starting second baseman, Panik could show his true worth for this team on their way to surprising a ton of people with how good they are.

Toronto Blue Jays

C Danny Jensen
1B Cavan Biggio
2B Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
SS Bo Bichette
3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
LF Derek Fisher
CF Teoscar Hernandez
RF Randal Grichuk
DH Jose Abreu

SP Nate Pearson
CL Ken Giles

All aboard the youth movement north of the border – the Toronto Blue Jays are going to be super fun to watch in 2020. With 2019 being a year full of growth and planned to be bad, the Blue Jays have a ton to look forward to when the calendar flips to 2020.

Already seeing progress from Guerrero Jr., Cava Biggio, Bo Bichette and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. among others, this franchise has welcomed the youth movement with open arms as it retools and develops to again become a force within the American League East division.

A little wrinkle with the ‘20 starting lineup could present Biggio with more playing time if lined up as the starting first baseman. With Justin Smoak most likely out the door with his largest contract on the team coming off the books, Biggio has enough experience to become the starter over there next season.

Another twist is who is lined up to be the starting designated hitter for Toronto next season, Jose Abreu. Even with the reported mutual interest between him and the White Sox in reuniting after the season closes, Abreu may see his best play to be moving north of the border, where the Blue Jays have a ton of money to spend and a spot as their regular DH waiting for him.

Ken Giles is still arbitration-eligible and looks to be a solid contributor for this team as their closer in 2020, and rookie Nate Pearson looks to be climbing fast through the team’s farm system and is on track to become a regular contributor in their starting rotation that is in desperate need of an infuse of talent.

Houston Astros

C Francisco Cervelli
1B Yulieski Gurriel
2B Jose Altuve
SS Carlos Correa
3B Alex Bregman
LF Michael Brantley
CF George Springer
RF Kyle Tucker
DH Yordan Alvarez

SP Justin Verlander
CL Roberto Osuna

Wash, rinse repeat – the Houston Astros are going to get even better in 2020. Having built themselves up from having consecutive 100-plus loss seasons, they now are the cream of the crop in the AL, and it does not look like that is going to change.

With players like Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman, George Springer, and Justin Verlander all under contract for at least next season, they are set up yet again to make a deep, deep run into the playoffs with the reasonable goal of winning the World Series more than within reach.

Needing an upgrade at the catching position, this team has a ton of money already locked up in their current roster, so a cheaper upgrade like Francisco Cervelli, who has dealt with injuries during his 2019 campaign with the Pittsburgh Pirates, would be a good start.

Heralded rookie sensation Kyle Tucker is primed to take over the starting right fielder position for Houston in 2020, especially with the season-long struggles that Josh Reddick has dealt with. Tucker, along with fireballer Forrest Whitley, looks to be ready to make big contributions for this team in 2020.

Chicago White Sox

C James McCann
1B Justin Smoak
2B Yoan Moncada
SS Tim Anderson
3B Yolmer Sanchez
LF Eloy Jimenez
CF Adam Engel
RF Adam Eaton
DH Welington Castillo

SP Lucas Giolito
CL Alex Colome

Even with 2020 being a year too early to be deemed a competitor, the Chicago White Sox are on a great path to finally get back to the playoffs. Riding on the backs of Yoan Moncada and Eloy Jimenez, this team has the right youthful pieces to begin the upward trajectory.

James McCann has been a revelation for this team as their starting catcher, is under team control due to arbitration eligibility, which is very helpful for the White Sox to manage costs.

As previously noted, Abreu may not return as the team’s starting first baseman, which would end a very productive career in Chicago for him. Needing a cheap solution at first, the White Sox would be smart to sign the player that the Blue Jays did not resign after getting Abreu, so Justin Smoak would be a smart, one-year addition.

Welcoming Adam Eaton back to the White Sox would also be good, as it would shore up their defense in the outfield while giving this team another good-hitting outfielder who is comfortable playing for the White Sox.

Tampa Bay Rays

C Mike Zunino
1B Ji-Man Choi
2B Brandon Lowe
SS Willy Adames
3B Joey Wendle
LF Tommy Pham
CF Kevin Kiermaier
RF Austin Meadows
DH Jesus Aguilar

SP Blake Snell/Tyler Glasnow
CL Jose Alvarado

Led by recently-extended youngster Brandon Lowe, the youth movement is in full force down in
the Trop. While young, their team is solid up and down and is currently locked into the Wild
Card race in 2019.

A very young infield will have a ton of growing pains, but with Lowe eventually healthy,
combining him with Willy Adames up the middle will be very deadly, both in the field and at the
plate. Supported by Joey Wendle and Yandy Diaz at the corners, the Rays are looking good for
the future.

Recently-acquired Jesus Aguilar is under team control for a few seasons, so he is a solid buy-low addition for the team, and his defensive impact at first base can be good to help spell Ji-Man Choi whenever needed. For now, he projects more as the team’s designated hitter for 2020.

In the outfield, veterans Tommy Pham and Kevin Kiermaier are supported by youthful corner
outfielder Austin Meadows, who was acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Chris Archer
deal, along with Tyler Glasnow. For pitching, Blake Snell is already the team’s ace and looks to
remain that way, and Jose Alvarado is a great young arm who profiles very nicely for this club, even with the injuries he has had to deal with in 2019.