UNC Baseball: MLB Tar Heels Update (8/26/20)

The MLB regular season is at the midway point, so it's time for another MLB Tar Heels update.
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The Major League Baseball season started just over a month ago (Friday, July 24) and yet we already find ourselves at the mid-point of the 2020 regular season. 15 teams (exactly half of MLB) have completed half the regular season (30 games). A further nine teams will make it to the 30-game threshold in the next two days (assuming no cancellations).

The teams that have already completed half their games:

American League

  1. Boston Red Sox
  2. Chicago White Sox
  3. Cleveland Indians
  4. Houston Astros
  5. Kansas City Royals
  6. Los Angeles Angels
  7. Minnesota Twins
  8. Oakland Athletics
  9. Seattle Mariners
  10. Tampa Bay Rays

National League

  1. Arizona Diamondbacks
  2. Colorado Rockies
  3. Los Angeles Dodgers
  4. San Diego Padres
  5. San Francisco Giants

PLAYOFFS

As we move into the final month of the season, keep in mind that the playoffs will be expanded this year. Rather than the usual 10 total teams (five per league), there will be 16 teams (eight per league). In typical seasons, the playoffs are comprised of

the three division winners plus two wild card teams (the next two best records, regardless of division) from each league.

This year, the make-up of the playoffs will be the top two teams from each division plus two wild cards from each league (again, regardless of division).

If the season ended today, the playoff teams would be:

American League

  • East – Tampa Bay Rays / New York Yankees
  • Central – Minnesota Twins / Cleveland Indians
  • West – Oakland Athletics / Houston Astros
  • Wild Cards – Chicago White Sox / Toronto Blue Jays

National League

  • East – Atlanta Braves / Miami Marlins
  • Central – Chicago Cubs / St. Louis Cardinals
  • West – Los Angeles Dodgers / San Diego Padres
  • Wild Cards – Colorado Rockies / San Francisco Giants

PLAYER UPDATES

One of the issues of this COVID-19 altered baseball season is keeping up with what teams are where, what teams are actually playing, who is on rosters, who is at a teams’ “alternate site”, etc. That’s why we’re here to help. Throughout the abridged MLB season, we’ll be keeping you regularly updated on the progress of UNC alums in the majors.

Currently, there are nine players in the majors (with the recent addition of Matt Harvey):

  1. Daniel Bard | Colorado Rockies | Relief Pitcher
  2. Zac Gallen | Arizona Diamondbacks | Starting Pitcher (#3 in rotation)
  3. Brian Goodwin | Los Angeles Angels | Outfield (starter)
  4. Matt Harvey | Kansas City Royals | Starting Pitcher (#5 in rotation)
  5. Andrew Miller | St. Louis Cardinals | Relief Pitcher
  6. Colin Moran | Pittsburgh Pirates | 3B / 1B / DH (starter)
  7. Kyle Seager | Seattle Mariners | 3B (starter)
  8. Jacob Stallings | Pittsburgh Pirates | Catcher (starter)
  9. Trent Thornton | Toronto Blue Jays | Starting Pitcher (#4 in rotation)

Daniel Bard | Rockies | Relief Pitcher | #52

Bard has now appeared in 13 games for the Rockies. Although his numbers have slightly fallen off, he continues to be a strong arm for the Rockies out of the bullpen. If the Rockies are to hold onto one of the Wild Card slots (or even climb into the top two in the division), Bard will need to continue to be a core member of the relief core. Bard’s biggest asset so far has been his control: Over the course of his 13 innings, he’s surrendered just one walk but has struck out 15.

Stat line:

1-2 | 4.15 ERA | 1.15 WHIP | 13.0 IP | 14 H | 6 R | 6 ER | 1 HR | 15 SO | 1 BB | .275 Opp. BA

Zac Gallen | Diamondbacks | Starting Pitcher | #23

I’ve written about Gallen a couple of times over the past several weeks. He is currently tied for the all-time MLB record number of starts to begin a career allowing three or fewer earned runs (21 games). Gallen gets his shot at breaking the record on Thursday. His ERA and WHIP continue to drop, but unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to record a decision. The D-Backs are 4-2 in games that he’s started this year.

Stat line:

0-0 | 2.25 ERA | 1.06 WHIP | 36.0 IP | 26 H | 9 R | 9 ER | 5 HR | 42 SO | 12 BB | .202 Opp. BA

Brian Goodwin | Angels | Outfield | #18

The Angels are unfortunately struggling, sitting at 10-22, the worst record in the American League, and the second-worst record in all of baseball. Goodwin has been hitting out the six-spot in the lineup and playing more left field than right.

Stat line:

.253 AVG | 91 AB | 23 H | 12 R | 7 2B | 1 3B | 4 HR | 17 RBI | 12 BB | 33 SO | 1 SB | .343 OBP | .484 SLG | .826 OPS

Matt Harvey | Royals | Starting Pitcher | #33

The Royals signed Harvey to a Minor League deal on July 28 and he made his first start on August 19 against the Reds. Harvey looked solid for the greater part of three innings before surrendering three runs with two outs in the third. The Royals lost the game 5-0. Harvey made his second start on Tuesday against the Cardinals. Once again 2 2/3 innings before the Cardinals struck for four runs (three of which were courtesy of infield hits). Although Harvey didn’t get the decision, the Royals ultimately won the game 5-4.

Stat line:

0-1 | 11.12 ERA | 2.29 WHIP | 5.2 IP | 9 H | 7 R | 7 ER | 2 HR | 6 SO | 4 BB | .360 Opp. BA

Andrew Miller | Cardinals | Relief Pitcher | #21

At last update, the Cardinals had only played five games. They are now up to 19 and currently sitting in second place in the NL Central. Miller has appeared in seven of those games out of the bullpen. Miller is yet to give up a home run this season in 5.2 innings pitched.

Stat line:

0-1 | 4.76 ERA | 1.76 WHIP | 5.2 IP | 8 H | 3 R | 3 ER | 0 HR | 6 SO | 2 BB | .333 Opp. BA

Colin Moran | Pirates | 3B / 1B / DH | #19

Similar to Goodwin and the Angels, the Pirates are really scuffling. They currently own the worst record in baseball at 7-18. Moran is currently recovering from a concussion suffered on Sunday against the Brewers on the first at-bat of the game. While playing first base, a throw from third base pulled him off the bag leading to a collision with Avisail Garcia of the Brewers.

Stat line:

.259 AVG | 81 AB | 21 H | 17 R | 4 2B | 0 3B | 6 HR | 11 RBI | 7 BB | 23 SO | .326 OBP | .531 SLG | 0.857 OPS

Kyle Seager | Mariners | 3B | #15

Seager has been the source of trade talk as a veteran who could come in and really benefit a contender in need of a trustworthy third-baseman. The Mariners are essentially out of the running for the playoffs, sitting fourth in the AL West, so a trade is certainly in the cards. The deadline is next Monday (August 31), so be on the lookout for news over the coming week.

Stat line:

.290 AVG | 107 AB | 31 H | 17 R | 8 2B | 0 3B | 5 HR | 24 RBI | 14 BB | 15 SO | 3 SB | .370 OBP | .505 SLG | .875 OPS

Jacob Stallings | Pirates | Catcher | #58

Stallings has really picked up his offense since we last checked in on him. He managed just three hits in his first 21 at-bats but has hit .414 since then, going 12-for-29 in that stretch. Stallings season average has risen from .143 to .300 in that span. Unfortunately, the Pirates are just plain bad.

Stat line:

.300 AVG | 50 AB | 15 H | 7 R | 2 2B | 0 3B | 1 HR | 7 RBI | 7 BB | 14 SO | .386 OBP | .400 SLG | .786 OPS

Trent Thornton | Blue Jays | Starting Pitcher | #57

Thornton has made three starts this season but is yet to record a decision. More importantly, he is currently on the 10-day IL with an elbow injury. He is first eligible to return on September 3. On Sunday, August 23, Thornton pitched the first inning of the Blue Jays’ game against the Rays, but then exited with right elbow inflammation.

Stat line:

0-0 | 11.12 ERA | 3.18 WHIP | 5.2 IP | 15 H | 7 R | 7 ER | 0 HR | 6 SO | 3 BB | .517 Opp. BA

Make sure to check in on these Heels in action as they continue action throughout the shortened MLB season.

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