For much of the last fifteen years I have not followed baseball as closely as I once did. There were personal reasons for this. Those reasons included, but were not limited to, being focused on the professional side of my life a life since I was in college at the begging of those fifteen years. Over the last seven to eight years as I have gotten back to following Baseball, the sport I grew up watching most, I’ve noticed that teams are calling up minor league prospects much faster than they used to.
All of the teams that made have mostly players in their 20s on their 40-man rosters. The oldest players on any of the rosters are two Texas Rangers pitchers– Ian Kennedy who has been on the 60-day injured list since mid-September, and Max Scherzer who are both 38. More than 75% of the players on playoff rosters this year have been under 33 and a good number of those players are still in their arbitration years before free agency. For me, being a veteran means you have played long enough that you were able to hit the open market and get your big pay day. There are only a handful of players on this years playoff rosters that are between the ages of 29 and 37 who fit that requirement.
As the American League League Championship Series round gets going on Sunday them defending champion Astros’ and Rangers have two of the youngest rosters in the game. Aside from the aforementioned Scherzer the only veterans on either of these that are not injured are Kyle Gibson, Robbie Grossman, and former Cub Aroldis Champan and two of those guys will only be getting their first chance to hit the open market this winter. Many think that Dusty Baker will lead the ‘stros to their second straight ring and ride off into the sunset with two rings as a manager. Here’s the thing folks: I do not think the Astros have much left in the tank to be in the World Series for the fifth time in six seasons. Even if they are able to find themselves there again this year I can’t see them winning it. I also do not think he will be retiring after the World Series this year no matter what happens.
In the National League we will see the Diamondbacks and Phillies going head to head for a change to play in the fall classic. In this matchup there are only two veterans over 30 are Evan Longoria and former Cub Craig Kimbrel. Yes, that is two former Cubs closers as well as former Cubs outfielders Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos.
This is going it very hard to pick who I want to win it all this year if I get my wish of a Rangers versus Phillies World Series. Why you ask? Simple, I will be rooting for Champan to get, his former 2016 Cubs teammate, Schwarber out which seems like a conflict of interest since neither one has one another ring since leaving Wrigleyville. Then there’s Kimbrel, who has won since 2016–albeit as a member of the cheating 2018 Red Sox. When all is said and done it has been hard for me to pick teams to root for in this years playoffs because of all the former Cubs that were on teams who made it and the connections to the cheating scandals in 2017 and 2018.
With that… ignoring the cheaters, let’s watch the youth movement continue in Philly and Texas.
If you cannot play with them, root for them.