Now that the 2020 Major League Baseball season is finally approaching, let's take a moment to see who will be representing NC State in the big leagues. With expanded rosters and the addition of taxi squads to road trips, it seems likely that a handful of Pack pros will have some time to shine in 2020.
Trea Turner, shortstop, Washington Nationals
As expected, Turner will return to his starting shortstop role on the Nationals for the 2020 season. This past offseason, Turner signed a one-year, $7.45 million contract with the reigning World Series championship team, allowing him to return to his former position.
The only question that looms regarding his role on the team is Turner’s place in the batting order. Prior to the season hiatus, there was talk that Turner would be moved from his leadoff spot, but based on the lineups from both exhibition games earlier this week in which Turner led off, that doesn’t seem likely anymore.
Andrew Knizner, catcher, St. Louis Cardinals
After spending some time in the majors back in 2019, it is no surprise Knizner was invited to be a part of the Cardinals’ 60-player pool for spring training 2.0. With the expanded opening day roster, which allows up to 30 players, he is expected to serve as the team’s third catcher, behind veterans Yadier Molina and Matt Wieters, and it’s likely he will be seen behind the plate at some point this season. There is also a chance Knizner will see some time at the designated hitter position as well with the new rules for 2020.
Carlos Rodón, pitcher, Chicago White Sox
Rodón underwent Tommy John surgery last May, which put him out for the majority of the 2019 season. Originally expected to be back during the latter half of 2020, the outlook is good for him to pitch again during this 60-game stint. With two outings already under his belt in summer camp, it is clear Rodón is on the road to recovery.
While it’s unlikely he’ll be a part of the rotation immediately, it should not come as a surprise if he does enter later in the year. 2020 is Rodón’s last year before he hits free agency, so this is a crucial season, and he still has a lot to prove if he plans to be a part of the White Sox’s future.
Will Wilson, shortstop, San Francisco Giants
Wilson was traded to the Giants this past December after being drafted by the Los Angeles Angels just six months earlier. He was invited to join the Giants’ summer camp, where he will play at third base in the last four innings of the Giants’ final exhibition game against the Oakland Athletics before Thursday’s opening day. He will then join the team’s taxi squad in Sacramento, where it is likely he will remain for most, if not all, of the 2020 season.
Patrick Bailey, catcher, San Francisco Giants
With Giants veteran catcher Buster Posey opting out of the 2020 season, it is looking like there is a likely chance of Bailey seeing some MLB action this season. Bailey was drafted 13th overall in this year’s draft and joined the team for summer camp shortly after signing his rookie contract. He’ll join former NC State teammate Will Wilson in Sacramento as a part of the Giants’ taxi squad, but with the loss of Posey and the need to carry an extra catcher on road trips, Bailey may very well be brought up sometime in 2020.
Evan Mendoza, third baseman, St. Louis Cardinals
Mendoza joined the Cardinals at their alternate spring training camp site in Springfield as a part of the 60-man roster pool. He is unlikely to see any time in the majors in 2020 given his short time and small amounts of success in the upper minors throughout his young career.
The 2020 MLB season will begin Thursday, July 23 with a 7:08pm matchup between the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals.