Patriots solidifying middle infield for 2020
ALPB Roundup’s high-end projection for Scott Kelly has him hitting one home run in 2020. I’m willing to bet that home run would be off of a pitcher that calls Taylor Ham “pork roll”. Scott Kelly is going into his 7th season in Somerset after playing 161 games over 4 seasons with The College of New Jersey. Scott Kelly is as Jersey baseball as Jersey baseball gets. Mike Trout doesn’t count after choosing to re-sign in Los Angeles rather than with Somerset. Don’t get mad at me. I don’t make the rules, I just make them up.
Kelly projects to play nearly everywhere in 2020 which means he’ll rack up innings and plate appearances. I’m setting the over/under on positions played in 2020 at 7.5.
After 2 years playing in the Dominican Republic and Mexico, Gustavo Nunez has returned to America, signing with the Somerset Patriots for 2020. The switch-hitting middle-infielder brings 13 years of professional baseball experience to Somerset, and projects to be at the top of the depth chart at either second base or shortstop.
Projections: 365 PA, .245 Avg., 1 HR, .595 OPS, 29 Runs Created, 0.9 WAR (MLB Equiv. Joey Wendle)
High-end Projections: 430 PA, .265 Avg., 3 HR, .650 OPS, 41 Runs Created, 1.8 WAR
Low-end Projections: 320 PA, .240 Avg., 0 HR, .635 OPS, 25 Runs Created, 0.6 WAR
Rockers fill gaps in lineup, rotation, bullpen
Jake Buchanan will be joining the Atlantic League in 2020 as a member of the High Point Rockers’ rotation. Jake brings years of professional experience to a pitching staff that was the league’s best in 2019. Buchanan has the arm strength to pitch every fifth day throughout the season and could have a bit of a rebirth after things began looking a bit stale last season in affiliated ball.
Drake Owenby has been signed High Point Rockers ahead of the 2020 season. Owenby pitched with some success over in the Brewers’ system from 2015 to 2017 before missing 2018 and most of 2019 for Tommy John surgery. Owenby has displayed some serious ability to miss bats in low minor leagues, but he will need to be at full strength to do the same in the Atlantic League. Owenby has been used as both a starter and a reliever but is currently being projected as a bullpen arm due to his volatility and the likelihood of needing to limit his innings.
Projections: 50 IP, 3.80 ERA, 1.233 WHIP, 2.8 BB/9, 9.9 K/9
High-end Projections: 54 IP, 3.42 ERA, 1.175 WHIP, 2.8 BB/9, 10.4 K/9
Low-end Projections: 43 IP, 6.45 ERA, 1.523 WHIP, 3.3 BB/9, 7.8 K/9
Giovanny Alfonzo – great name – has re-signed with High Point for what will be his third ALPB season in 2020. Alfonzo is expected to be the Rockers’ every day shortstop heading into this year. He showed a good glove throughout 2019 and, despite hitting .211/.270/.256 through July, hit .302/.318/.341. Considering Alfonzo’s first Atlantic League season (in 2017 with Long Island) saw him post a .309/.338/.395 line, it’s reasonable to expect a similar level of performance from the 27-year-old in 2020.
Projections: 350 PA, .280 Avg., 1 HR, .635 OPS, 30 Runs Created, 1.3 WAR (2019 MLB Equiv. Mike Freeman)
High-end Projections: 380 PA, .285 Avg., 3 HR, .685 OPS, 35 Runs Created, 1.6 WAR
Low-end Projections: 325 PA, .249 Avg., 0 HR, .610 OPS, 27 Runs Created, 1.1 WAR
Long Island Ducks bring back a key outfielder
2017 ALPB Batting Title Champion D’Arby Myers has re-signed with the Long Island Ducks for 2020. Myers joined the team mid-season in 2019 and was an impact player throughout the season (slashing .277/.322/.345 with the team). Myers’ age-30 season projects to be another successful one as we expect to see him moving around the outfield defensively.
Projections: 320 PA, .265 Avg., 3 HR, .650 OPS, 32 Runs Created, 1.3 WAR (MLB Equiv. Jarrod Dyson)
High-end Projections: 360 PA, .295 Avg., 4 HR, .720 OPS, 44 Runs Created, 2.1 WAR
Low-end Projections: 260 PA, .260 Avg., 2 HR, ..635 OPS, 26 Runs Created, 0.9 WAR