Nobody panic! Just stay calm and be cool. We have a player with two-way potential on our hands. The Blue Crabs have re-signed Josh McAdams for the 2020 season. As a utility player in 2019, Josh would also serve as a bullpen catcher for Southern Maryland. But when the need arose, the team moved Josh from behind the plate to on the mound. Again, don’t freak out, but McAdams pitched 11 and 2/3 innings in 2019 and walked away with a 1.54 ERA.
To be fair, Josh is really only a pitcher if there is an emergency or a blowout, and his FIP was a deeply concerning 5.50. You could say his ERA was good because of a small sample size. OR we could say sample size was made-up to keep people from being happy. Oh, and Josh plays other positions too. By the end of 2019, McAdams had grabbed a consistent starting role. That doesn’t necessarily project to be the case in 2019. But McAdams should give the lineup some consistent help and post a .265/.310/.380 or similar slash.
The Blue Crabs have made a big move, trading pitcher John Hayes to the New Jersey Jackals for outfielder David Harris for 2020. Harris has dominated in the Frontier and Can-Am Leagues since 2017, winning a Frontier League MVP in 2017 with the Schaumburg Boomers and slashing .334/.376/.554 with the Can-Am’s Jackals in 2018 and 2019. This added pop in the outfield should do a lot to bolster a Blue Crab offense which was last in the ALPB by most metrics in 2019.
Projections: 385 PA, 6 Runs Created, 14 HR, .885 OPS, 3.7 WAR (MLB Equiv. Tommy Pham)
High-end Projections: 420 PA, 74 Runs Created, 17 HR, .905 OPS, 4.3 WAR
Low-end Projections: 280 PA, 37 Runs Created, 6 HR, .760 OPS, 0.7 WAR
The Blue Crabs have re-signed infielder Kent Blackstone. Blackstone began 2019 as a pinch-runner but hustled his way into the role of everyday leadoff man and defensive anchor at second base. All told, Blackstone may have been leading off based on speed alone, as his on-base at season’s end was only .334. It’s conceivable that High Point may continue to search for another second baseman to pair with their new shortstop, Edwin Garcia. For now, Blackstone is listed as Southern Maryland’s primary second baseman, and his projections are optimistic as he settles into the Atlantic League.
Projections: 395 PA, 57 Runs Created, 7 HR, .860 OPS, 3.1 WAR (MLB Equiv. Brandon Lowe)
High-end Projections: 460 PA, 76 Runs Created, 11 HR, .920 OPS, 4.5 WAR
Low-end Projections: 330 PA, 42 Runs Created, 3 HR, .790 OPS, 2.0 WAR
After ten seasons of affiliated ball in the Rangers, Marlins, and Reds organizations, left-handed reliever Victor Payano has signed with Southern Maryland for the 2020 season. Since transitioning from the rotation to the bullpen over the past three seasons, Payano posted 11.0 K/9 in 2017 and 12.7 K/9 in 2018 before dropping to just 7.0 K/9 last season. Payano’s issues missing bats in 2019 may have stemmed from a stress fracture in his right leg and he certainly wasn’t helped by bad luck when the ball was getting hit. Despite posting a 4.70 ERA, Payano’s FIP was down at 3.39 with a 4.02 xFIP. If Victor comes into 2020 healthy, the Blue Crabs have just added a substantial weapon to a bullpen that was buoyed by 14 complete games last season. If we see the best version of Victor Payano, he could turn out to be one of the biggest additions made across the ALPB in 2020.