Alex Verdugo has huge shoes to fill with the Boston Red Sox. (Photo via Wikipedia)

MLB Players On the Hot Seat When the Baseball Season Starts

Some players face nearly impossible expectations

Andrew Martin
4 min readMay 8, 2020

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Baseball fans are sitting on the edge of their seats and speculate daily about when the 2020 MLB season will finally be able to launch. Whenever that moment happens, it will bring a great deal of happiness to many. However, for some players who are on the hot seat, it will signify an immediate increase in pressure and position them squarely in the spotlight.

Through no fault of their own, the players who will face the greatest scrutiny come from a variety of circumstances. Large contracts, replacing iconic players and attempting to overcome health issues are all factors in drawing unwanted attention. Some will persevere and others will not be able to prove their doubters wrong. The following players have the biggest targets on them for the upcoming season.

Alex Verdugo, Outfielder- Boston Red Sox: Just last year, the soon to be 24-year-old was in a relatively low-key situation. He was a rookie with the star-studded Los Angeles Dodgers, playing part-time, but playing well when he was on the field. He finished at .294 with 12 home runs and 44 RBIs in 106 games. He had the luxury of easing into his playing time while his many veteran teammates did much of the heavy lifting.

An offseason trade for star outfielder Mookie Betts sent Verdugo to Boston. To say that replacing the former MVP and face of one of baseball’s most popular franchises will be an uphill battle would be an understatement.

The current shutdown has actually been a blessing disguise for Verdugo. Originally, a lingering back injury was going to hold him out for the start of the season, but he was recently reported to be fully healthy and ready to go full bore whenever play does resume. He is a completely different player than Betts but is talented in his own right. As long as people remember that and give him a little time to settle in, he will stand a fighting chance.

Giancarlo Stanton, Outfielder- New York Yankees: After winning the 2017 National League MVP with the Miami Marlins, Stanton and the massive 13-year, $325 million contract he signed in 2015 was traded to the Yankees. The 38 home runs he hit in his first season in pinstripes were fine but…

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Andrew Martin

Dabbler in history, investing & writing. Master’s degree in baseball history. Passionate about history, diversity, culture, sports, investing and crypto.