In 2020 there will be several teams banking on bounce-back starters to rekindle their MLB postseason hopes. Here are 3 such starting pitchers to watch for.
Weekends without baseball are officially a thing of the past. This coming weekend will kick off the spring training slate as every team will begin what their hope is a regular season that ends with an MLB postseason appearance.
While the most talented teams are usually the clubs that play beyond September, health usually plays a big part in determining which teams separate themselves from the pack.
In 2020, there will be three teams counting on bounce-back seasons from a starting pitcher to help fuel their postseason chances. One of those teams made the wild card game in 2019 and that is the Oakland Athletics.
The other two teams, the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Angels, will be looking to get back to the postseason to begin the new decade. The Padres have not made the postseason since 2006 and the Angels are looking to clinch a playoff berth for the first time since 2014.
Here is a look at which starting pitcher that is for the aforementioned clubs.
Sean Manaea (1.21 ERA in 5 starts in 2019)
After undergoing labrum repair surgery in September of 2018, Sean Manaea made his return a year later in September of 2019 against the New York Yankees. Manaea made five starts in the 2019 regular season before starting the American League wild-card game against the Tampa Bay Rays. Manaea did not fare well as he pitched just two innings allowing four runs on three home runs.
The A’s will be counting on Sean Manaea to guide them back to the postseason in 2020, and despite being just 28 years old, Manaea is the second oldest starting pitcher in the A’s projected opening day rotation. The only starter that is older will be the veteran journeyman Mike Fiers. Despite never topping 200 innings in a season, Sean Manaea has averaged just over 25 starts a season when 2019 is excluded.
In 2020, the Athletics’ rotation will benefit greatly from a healthy Sean Manaea. While the A’s rotation features talented youngsters such as Jesus Lazardo, a stable veteran pitcher like Manaea could put the A’s over the top in their quest for another postseason berth. With the division-rival Astros losing Gerrit Cole in a quiet off-season, the A’s suddenly have a chance to win the American League West. If Manaea can pitch to his career average of a 3.77 ERA, the A’s are a good bet to make the MLB postseason in 2020.