White Sox 2020 MLB schedule: 5 NL Central stars fans need to know
MLB announced its unique, 60-game season schedule on Monday, making the first pitch feel that much closer.
What’s new this year: teams will only play opponents in their same region, so the White Sox will only face their divisional opponents, plus the teams in the N.L. Central.
We all know the heavy hitters and power pitchers within the A.L. Central (and probably the Cubs too due to proximity), but what about the big names from the opposite league?
These are the 5 N.L. Central players White Sox fans need to watch for during the 2020 season.
No. 5: Eugenio Suarez, Reds 3B
Sox fans may remember Suarez from his debut season in Detroit and wonder why he’s on this list. After all, that season in 2014 he was only a platoon player who hit below .250 with 4 homers. But since then, Suarez’s power numbers have gone up each and every year. Last season Suarez hit 49 home runs, drove in 103 runs and hit a respectable .271 while manning third base.
No. 4: Nico Hoerner, Cubs INF
While Hoerner may not be a “star” per se, he’s an up-and-comer that could become an MLB mainstay before too long. That, and most Chicagoans are already familiar with Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javy Baez and company.
With the minor league season canceled, it seems likely that the 2018 first-round pick will stick with the big-league club. Previously there was a decent chance he would get more seasoning in Triple-A to start this year.
Hoerner will have to compete in a crowded infield that includes veterans Jason Kipnis, David Bote and Daniel Descalso for playing time, but he could rise to the top.
No. 3: Bryan Reynolds, Pirates LF
Another young star in the making, Reynolds finished fourth in NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2019. A pure hitter, Reynolds slashed .314/.377/.503 with 16 homers and 68 RBI in his debut campaign. From 2014 to now, across his college, minor and major league careers, Reynolds has *never* finished a season with a sub-.300 batting average.
No. 2: Josh Hader, Brewers LHP
The Brewers feature plenty of familiar faces for White Sox fans this season. Former South Siders Avisail Garcia and Omar Narvaez now call Milwaukee their home. Former Royals star Lorenzo Cain now patrols the outfield in Milwaukee, too. Plus, most MLB fans recognize Christian Yelich after his spectacular 2018 and 2019 seasons.
But less familiar is the Brewers’ dominant reliever Josh Hader. A flexible bullpen arm, Hader can come in as a set-up man or closer and sports a 2.42 ERA with a 0.850 WHIP over his three major league seasons.
If you can believe it, Hader pitches even better in the playoffs. In the 2018 postseason, he threw 10 innings in seven games and gave up only five hits while allowing no runs. Oh, he also struck out 16 batters while only walking one.
No. 1: Paul Goldschmidt, Cardinals 1B
While Goldschmidt had been a star for several seasons in Arizona, he was traded to St. Louis ahead of the 2019 season.
Since 2013, Goldschmidt has hit 30+ homers five times, gone to six All-Star games, won four Silver Sluggers and three Gold Gloves at first base.
He’s one of the best sluggers in baseball and will provide White Sox pitchers with a new challenge.