With a new week, comes a new 2020 Final Edition post. I guess I forgot today was monday, and didn't realize til like noon, after I'd already done the custom post for today. No worries. I guess I'll just do these 9 as the overnight post tonight.
Anyway. Next 9 cards. Honestly, some pretty big guns as far as the 2020 season are concerned are in here.
Card #091- Noe Ramirez, Los Angeles Angels
Since 2018, Noe Ramirez has been one of the most consistent, reliable relief options in Anaheim. Where Parker, Robles and Middleton have fallen apart, Ramirez has stayed strong. 2020 was no exception, with a 3.00 ERA in 21 games, including 14 Ks. Ramirez is hoping for a similar role with the Reds in 2021.
Card #092- Johan Oviedo, St. Louis Cardinals
As hazy as the starting pitching, at least the back half, seemed to be in St. Louis last year, a rookie start from Johan Oviedo did seem to put things into more perspective. Oviedo wasn't perfect, as evidenced by his 5.47 ERA over 5 starts, but he does seem to have some good mechanics and strikeout material that would probably benefit for a more comfortable year at it. It's not certain that he'll have a role in the 2021 rotation, but he could sneak in and make another case for himself very soon.
Card #093- Ronald Acuna Jr. ASG, Atlanta Braves
Due to a minimized role in the outfit schematic, Ronald Acuna Jr. would not notch a starting outfield spot [we'll get to the surprising keeper of the CF spot in a bit]. But he would still make the team, because...I mean, Acuna's still one of the best players in the game, and even 8/10 Acuna is still worthy of being on a potential ASG roster.
Card #094- Josh Fleming, Tampa Bay Rays
After the injury to Yonny Chirinos, the Rays tried several things in order to fill his roster spot. The latest and, arguably, most successful fix to it was rookie hurler Josh Fleming. In 7 games, he hit a 2.78 ERA with 5 wins and 25 Ks, a pretty impressive run at things. Despite this, he was only used in relief during the postseason, and his ERA ballooned while facing better lineups like Houston and LA. Not sure if the Rays will need him as a rotation piece this year.
Card #095- Kevin Pillar, Colorado Rockies
After a pretty good start for the Red Sox, Kevin Pillar was traded to the Rockies at the deadline. I'm still not quite sure why the Rox had so many deadline deals, especially considering their drop-off that had begun even before the deadline. The Denver air did help his pop a bit, as his average grew to .308 in 24 games, with 13 RBIs and 28 hits. If anything, he was a refreshing addition to a team whose productivity was winding down. He's slated to play for the Mets this season in their overloaded roster, so hopefully his contact abilities continue.
Card #096- Corbin Burnes, Milwaukee Brewers
This is probably the most shameful exclusion from the Topps sets in 2020. Corbin Burnes could have been in flagship, but Topps was too fixated on Adrian Houser. While they weren't looking, Burnes had a mightily impressive breakout last year, with a 4-1 record, a 2.11 ERA and 88 Ks in 12 games. This was a rotation presence that didn't become too apparent until late in the season, moving the Brewers towards the playoffs just when the eyes of baseball weren't paying attention. Shamefully, Burnes wouldn't get his chance to start during the postseason, as the Dodgers didn't give the Brewers a chance to.
Card #097- Bryan Garcia, Detroit Tigers
After a miserable seven game debut in 2019, Bryan Garcia became the relief asset the Tigers needed right as Joe Jimenez began to lose his luster. Garcia came alive in 26 games, with a 1.66 ERA and 4 saves, giving the Tigers ninth inning security for the first time since Shane Greene left, and being the next step towards competing in maybe 4 years. Garcia is looking at the closing gig in 2021, and hopefully he has similar luck this year.
Card #098- Ty France, Seattle Mariners
One of the biggest pieces of the Austin Nola trade, Ty France was an infield prospect that had been blocked twice, first by the arrival of Manny Machado and then by the signing of Jurickson Profar [and subsequent call-up of Jake Cronenworth]. There was no room for him in San Diego, so he made it to a team that had plenty of room and started hitting beautifully. In 23 games, he hit .302 with 13 RBIs and 26 hits, plus a 0.5 WAR that made him the fifth-best Mariners hitter to still be on the team by the end of the season. France may have the DH position this year, and will turn this into a campaign to keep playing as well as he did last year.
Card #099- Lucas Giolito ASG, Chicago White Sox
In a season where he would throw a no-hitter and have an unforgettable postseason start, it's only fitting that Lucas Giolito would be welcome on a potential 2020 All Star team. Gio's stuff has only improved in the last 3 years, and has become one of the premier arms in one of the most burgeoning rosters in baseball. With Lance Lynn and Dallas Keuchel bolstering him this year, hopefully he'll continue his dominance and maybe make another ASG team.
We start the 100s on Friday. One very big rookie to start and some interesting ones follow.