Thanksgiving is around the corner, and all 30 teams in Major League Baseball have something to cherish. Here is what every American League team should be thankful for.
New York Yankees: Middle Infield Duo
The Yankees 2020 middle infield projects to be DJ LeMahieu and Gleyber Torres. LeMahieu arguably had the best season of his MLB career in 2019, hitting .327 while playing three positions. Meanwhile, Torres hit 38 home runs in just his second big-league season. From an offensive standpoint alone, these two form one of the best middle infield duos in the sport.
Tampa Bay Rays: Young Starting Pitching
Yonny Chirinos is 25, and Blake Snell and Tyler Glasnow are 26. These three, as well as the rest of the Rays pitching staff, make for a youthful, well-versed, and potent unit. For a low-payroll organization to have an influx of youth on its pitching staff is a blessing. The aforementioned hurlers will only improve and continue to shape the Rays’ identity.
Boston Red Sox: Left Side of the Infield
You’d be hard-pressed to find a left side of the infield that produced more offense last season than Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts. They combined for 65 home runs and 232 RBIs while finishing with .311 and .309 batting averages, respectively. They’ve become integral sources of offense and fixtures at their positions for the Red Sox.
Toronto Blue Jays: Young Infield
The Blue Jays have a killer young infield on their hands. Rookies Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, and Cavan Biggio had captivating 2019 campaigns. Guerrero dazzled with his power and put on a show in the MLB Home Run Derby; Bichette posted a .311 batting average across 46 games; Biggio blasted 16 home runs.
Baltimore Orioles: Infield Bats
The Orioles quietly have well-rounded hitters in their infield. Hanser Alberto hit .305 while totaling 160 hits across 139 games in 2019; veteran Jonathan Villar is a reliable two-way player; Trey Mancini occasionally dangles in the infield and is coming off a monster season at the plate (35 home runs, 97 RBIs, and an .899 OPS).
Minnesota Twins: Starting Outfield
The Twins have one of the best outfields in baseball headlined by Eddie Rosario and Max Kepler. The two outfielders are vacuums at their respective positions and combined for 68 home runs and 199 RBIs last season. A healthy Byron Buxton, Jake Cave, and veteran Marwin Gonzalez also make appearances in the team’s outfield.
Cleveland Indians: Shane Bieber
With the Indians potentially embarking on an offseason selling spree, one player that isn’t going anywhere and gives the organization someone to lean on is Bieber. He established himself as the team’s ace in 2019, recording a 3.28 ERA and totaling 259 strikeouts. Bieber goes deep into games, escapes trouble, and appeared in the 2019 MLB All-Star Game.
Chicago White Sox: Left Side of the Infield
The White Sox are one of the up-and-coming teams in MLB, and the left side of their infield is at the heart of such optimism. Tim Anderson is a contact-hitting machine and won the 2019 MLB batting title. Pretty good, right? Meanwhile, Yoan Moncada‘s career has taken a 180, as he hit .315 and recorded a .915 OPS last season.
Kansas City Royals: Starting Infield
The Royals will likely continue to lean on their starting infield moving forward. That aspect of their roster features one of the best hitters in baseball in Whit Merrifield, who totaled 206 hits last season, the power-hitting Hunter Dozier, and, when healthy, Adalberto Mondesi.
Detroit Tigers: Spencer Turnbull
One of the few bright spots of the Tigers’ 47-win 2019 season was Tunrbull. His cumulative figures are yawning, but they don’t take into account the shoulder injury he suffered. Before the injury, Turnbull sported a 3.29 ERA through 16 starts and was keeping the Tigers in games. When healthy, the right-hander can be a leader for this pitching staff.
Houston Astros: Starting Infield
The Astros have the best infield in baseball. Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa, and Yuli Gurriel are premier fielders and hitters. But, um, there’s this allegation going on right now where, you know what, just read the attached link for more on that matter.
Oakland Athletics: Young Starting Pitching
The A’s have a strikingly bright future, mostly due to their young pitching staff. Whether it be Jesus Luzardo, A.J. Puk, Sean Manaea, Frankie Montas, or Chris Bassitt, the A’s are loaded with controllable, budding arms. Their staff is as deep as any other team in the sport.
Texas Rangers: Joey Gallo
Before suffering a midseason wrist injury, Gallo was flat-out raking last season. He was sporting a .986 OPS and totaled 22 home runs and 49 RBIs. Gallo has evolved his towering power into consistent production and showcased defensive versatility, playing both left and center field in 2019.
Los Angeles Angels: Mike Trout
The Angels have the best player in the sport. On to the next team.
Seattle Mariners: Omar Narvaez
The Mariners have a franchise catcher in Narvaez. In his first full MLB season, the 27-year old was a steady force at the plate, posting an .813 OPS while totaling 22 home runs and 55 RBIs. Narvaez is also a reliable force behind the plate, which is vital when a team is filtering young pitchers in and out of the major leagues.