Aroldis Chapman

MLB's Top 100 players for 2020 season: Numbers 100-76

MLB's Top 100 players for 2020 season: Numbers 100-76

There was once a time when a list of baseball's top 100 players would've been dominated by men in their 30s or even 40s. In 2004, for instance, the NL MVP was 39-year-old Barry Bonds and the Cy Young went to 41-year-old Roger Clemens. It was the seventh respective award for each.

We now can be almost certain that neither accomplishment was achieved without help, but if any good came from that era, it's that it forced baseball to address its PED problem, which means that a top 100 list now looks very different.

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Our list will reflect that shift. What it won't include are three pitchers guaranteed not to play in 2020 because of Tommy John surgery — Noah Syndergaard of the Mets, Luis Severino of the Yankees, and of course Chris Sale of the Red Sox.

Over the next four weeks, NBC Sports Boston will unveil its top 100 players, 25 at a time, and the list is dominated by youth. Never have young players been so essential to winning, whether it's 20-year-old Juan Soto helping lead the Nationals to last fall's shocking World Series title, or 23-year-old Cody Bellinger being named NL MVP.

Click here for Part 1: Players ranked 100th to 76th on our list.

Video of Yankee fan's reaction to Devers' home run is priceless

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Video of Yankee fan's reaction to Devers' home run is priceless

A 3-2 lead, one out in the ninth and flame-throwing closer Aroldis Chapman, who had only allowed one home run in his career to a left-handed batter,  facing 20-year-old lefty-hitting Rafael Devers down 1-and-2 in the count?

Yankees had this in the bag, right?

Or so Twitter user and Yankee superfan @JoezMcfly thought as he made a video of himself and other fans watching what they confidently assumed would be the final moments of the Bronx Bombers finishing off the hated Red Sox to take two of three-games in their weekend series.

The reaction to Devers taking Chapman's 102.8 mph fastball deep - the fastest recorded pitch ever hit for a home run - is priceless.

And, of course, here's what they were looking at:

There's no video of his reaction to Andrew Benintendi's RBI single in the 10th that gave the Sox a 3-2 victory to push their lead over second-place New York to 5 1/2 games in the A.L. East but he seems kind of resigned to a loss after the Devers' blast.  

Scott makes fixes while Chapman flounders in Red Sox walk-off win

Scott makes fixes while Chapman flounders in Red Sox walk-off win

BOSTON — It’s a weird time when Robby Scott looks better than Aroldis Chapman, but here we are.

Good for the Red Sox. And very, very disappointing for the Yankees.

“Two big innings by [Matt Barnes] and then Robby Scott who throws a quality inning,” Sox manager John Farrell said Friday night after a 5-4 walk-off win at Fenway Park, where Chapman walked in the winning run. “And both guys have [scuffled a little] the last few times on that last road trip. So to be able to put up zeros, three zeroes, that was the difference in this one.”

Boston’s strength has been New York’s pitfall, and may perhaps be its downfall in the division race. The Yankees’ relief corps has Aaron Judge’s group of mashers sliding in the American League East. The deficit is 4 1/2 games.

What’s Aroldis Chapman doing walking in Andrew Benintendi with the winning run? What’s he doing with a 4.35 ERA?

It was not long ago that Craig Kimbrel and Chapman were comparable elites. Now, a Red Sox bullpen with upstarts like Scott — who had a rough end to the first half but rebounded in his first chance after the break — is making a back-end duo of Dellin Betances and Chapman look second-rate.

From the start of June, the Red Sox have had the best bullpen ERA in the majors. The Yankees are in the middle of the pack, 14th, at 4.30. 

“Look at the way Matty’s been throwing the ball pretty much all year. Not just Matty and I, the whole pitching staff,” Scott said. “Bullpen’s been throwing the heck out of the ball.”

Betances rebounded on Friday night to strike out the side in the eighth inning. The Yanks’ normally dominant righty has a respectable 3.07 ERA, but he arrived at the All-Star Game with five runs and eight walks allowed in three July innings.

Things were rough for the lefty Scott to end the first half too. Pitching in his first full big-league season, he gave up seven runs in his final 4 2/3 innings.

Then he went to the tape.

“Yeah I mean just kind of started, just kind of going back and looking at some video from the beginning of the year and going back and looking at when things are going well,” Scott said. “There was a couple little things but nothing major. … Everything that we’ve kind of worked on his having the same delivery from pitch to pitch.

“Just keeping my hands a little bit lower as I’m coming up. Just kind of getting back to what I was comfortable doing. It just helps with the separation, keeping everything [in time]. I was kind of raising my hands a little bit higher during that stretch for whatever reason. If we knew the reason we would never do it type thing. Just kind of staying compact, and you know, working with everything.”

Scott in the ninth inning Friday got a ground out (Didi Gregorious), a strike out (Garrett Scott} and a foul pop up (Jacoby Ellsbury), keeping the score 4-3 and setting up the Sox’ two-run rally in the bottom of the inning.

A ball didn’t leave the infield in the bottom of the ninth, and Chapman wasn’t helped by his defense. But where Scott was before the break, Chapman might be now. He's allowed five earned runs in his last four innings pitched.

“Actually, that’s a good question,” Chapman told reporters, including NJ.com's Brendan Kuty, about his lack of swings and misses. “I’m going to go back and try to see footage and see why because I honestly don’t know.”