By: Matteo Raffa
The absence of fans in stadiums certainly takes a toll on the excitement of the season. Not hearing the roar of the crowd after a home run or thousands of boos in harmony after a bad call by the umpire almost makes the game feel less important. Luckily for baseball fans, there has been other things to be excited about this season. It feels like infielders always get the glory when it comes to who is the fan favorite and who gets marketed as a star. Sure there are some stars that play in the outfield but everybody knows that the talented kids play in the infield in Little League while the kids who can't play watch from the outfield. The 2020 season has marked the rise of a new generation of great infielders who have been showing off since their days in Little League. Toronto's Bo Bichette and San Diego's Fernando Tatis Jr. have shown a lot to suggest they are the next great shortstops in the MLB. New York's Gio Urshela and Chicago' Yoán Moncada both bring hammers to the plate and have both done their fair share of flashing the leather at third base.
Toronto is currently 3rd in the AL East (13-11) as they showcase their 2020 season from Buffalo, NY. Their young 22 year old stud SS Bo Bichette is leading the team offensively with a .361 BA, 5 HR, 13 RBI, and an OPS of 1.063. Watching Bichette I notice that he is disciplined at the plate and brings a solid glove onto the field. Teams should watch how the Blue Jays decide on developing the young phenom into a future All Star. He competes with Gleyber Torres and Xander Boegarts for the best SS in his division and is not far off from them. His 2019 rookie campaign was very impressive, as he batted .319 and had 61 hits in 46 games. Although he is not necessarily a power threat at the plate, he is still only 22 years old and can develop his power hitting throughout his career. Bo is a fan favorite in Toronto and is going to have a bright future for the Jays.
The next SS we’ll look at is the insane Fernando Tatis Jr. from SLAM DIEGO. Tatis was always a highly touted prospect, and his major league career has been everything that baseball fans have been looking for. He is currently leading the whole league with 12 HRs, 29 RBI, and 6 stolen bases. His speed and success at the plate also translate into seamless defense. He is flirting with becoming the new face of Major League Baseball. Tatis has been in headlines lately for his complete disobedience to the unwritten rules of the game, that were written in 1895. The Padres were up by 7 runs on the Texas Rangers in the 8th inning, and Tatis swung on a 3-0 meatball for his first career grand slam. Let the kid swing! Just because you are down by 7 does not mean that the opposing teams should show mercy. Regardless, the 2nd year protege is looking better than the SD $300M Manny Machado.
Speaking of infielders better than Manny Machado, we move on to NYY’s 28 year old 3B Gio Urshela. Urshela was signed by GM Brian Cashman for a whopping $25,000 from Toronto. He was let go from Cleveland, as well, because while his defensive prowess is always present, he was always shaky at the plate. The Yankees took a shot on the kid and he has been nothing short of a gem for the Bombers. After a slow start this season at the plate, he is hitting .256 with 5HR and 18RBI. Urshela is clutch, earning his pinstripes in the later innings. He has one of the best gloves in the AL at third, competing with Matt Chapman of Oakland for the best defensive 3B starter in the league. You will not be disappointed if you up Gio Urshela defensive highlights, I promise you. The Yankees were hopeful that he could fill the void of losing on the Manny Machado signing during the 2019 preseason. He has statistically been increasing his value for both himself and for the Yankees. Yankee fans are comfortable when Urshela is at the plate or standing at the hot corner.
Lastly, we’ll briefly look into the Chicago 3B Yoán Moncada. Moncada, similar to Tatis, was one of the most anticipated prospects in recent times. He is better known for his hitting than his defense. He batted .315 and belted 25HR and 79RBI in 2019, stealing 10 bases as well. In 2020, Moncada is hitting .266 with 5HR and 15RBI. He was a part of the Chicago back-to-back-to-back-to-back home run assault the other day, and has not been afraid to hit moonshots with teammate Eloy Jimenez. The White Sox are looking to lean on their young talent to carry them to a postseason. With Moncada, Jimenez, 2019 batting title winner Tim Anderson, and Tommy Giolito on the mound, the White Sox are just as big of a threat as any of the other league leading teams. Moncada’s power will help him become a power-hitting thirdbaseman, with similar style to Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera.