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Ask BD: Callups and the 2020 lineup

MLB: Spring Training-Pittsburgh Pirates at Atlanta Braves Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Will Cole Tucker or Ke’Bryan Hayes start a game for the Pirates prior to September 2019?

Posted by pedropower

I seriously doubt it. In recent years, the team has rigidly stuck with its “plan” until September 1. Clint Hurdle has stubbornly kept playing his favorites right up until then, no matter now obvious it was that the team was going nowhere and that those favorites weren’t coming back. Once the calendar turns to September, Hurdle seems willing to move on and give younger guys some time. Considering how incredibly inflexible the team’s practices are, I can’t see them calling Hayes or Tucker up before September 1.

The possible exceptions would be injuries or, less likely, horrific performance. Tucker or Hayes could get a Jason-Martin-like chance, as Austin Meadows did last year. I doubt there’s anything Erik Gonzalez could do, other than getting hurt, to lose the shortstop job. He seems good defensively, so even if he falls completely apart at the plate, Hurdle’s commitment to the table-pounders will probably keep him in place. As a third baseman, Jung Ho Kang might not get the same leeway, despite his glovework. If his hitting was just too awful, or he got hurt, Colin Moran’s severe fielding issues might force a Hayes callup.

To go off on a tangent, even September callups may become a thing of the past for players like Hayes and Tucker, especially on teams with rookie-phobic managers like Hurdle (if there are any these days). Next year the September roster limit will be 28. A manager like Hurdle will want more relievers to help with the all-important task of managing the bullpen. There won’t be room to give the prospects a callup just to get major league experience.

What’s the starting lineup on Opening Day 2020?

Posted by Joe Bagofdonuts

  1. Adam Frazier, 2B
  2. Starling Marte, CF
  3. Gregory Polanco, RF
  4. Josh Bell, 1B
  5. Melky Cabrera, LF
  6. Elias Diaz, C
  7. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B
  8. Cole Tucker, SS
  9. Jameson Taillon, P

I think there’s at least some chance the LF is Jason Martin, but he’ll have to get a fair amount of playing this year and do well. I can’t see Clint Hurdle going with three rookies on opening day. I put Cabrera in there because he’ll probably be very cheap again.