Major League Baseball is getting ready to start its coronavirus-delayed 2020 season, and at least a half dozen former Mountaineers will be battling for spots on big league clubs this year.
This is obviously going to be a much different season than any that preceded it because of the pandemic. After considerably delay, both because of the virus and also because of haggling over financial terms, the MLB is about ready to return, though it will do so without fans in the stands.
While Major League Baseball is gearing up, they will be competing this year without the normal Minor League farm system behind it. No minor league games will be played this year.
Instead this season each MLB team will have a 60-man roster, and most teams have recently announced who will be in their player pools. That 60-man roster will eventually be pared down to 26 players who will stay with the Big League club; the rest of the pool will part of a reserve team that will train at an alternate site, normally close to the main hub. For instance, Pittsburgh’s training site will be Altoona, Pennsylvania, and the Chicago Cubs will use South Bend, Indiana. Up to three of these taxi-squad players will be able to travel to road games with the MLB team as additional reserves.
The six former Mountaineers who are part of the 60-man pools include:
• Pitcher David Carpenter with Cincinnati
• Pitcher Michael Grove with the L.A. Dodgers
• Infielder Jedd Gyorko with Milwaukee
• Pitcher Alek Manoah with Toronto
• Infielder Ryan McBroom with Kansas City
• Pitcher John Means with Baltimore
Gyorko, Means, McBroom and Carpenter all played at the Major League level last year, while Grove and Manoah each saw their first professional baseball action last summer and both pitched in Class A.
In addition, pitcher Harrison Musgrave spent the past two seasons with the Colorado Rockies but was released in March. Now a free agent, the Bridgeport (W.Va.) High grad is still hoping to find a roster spot this year.
Preseason practice will begin no earlier than July 3. The 60-game regular season is slated to start July 23 and will run until Sept. 27. The postseason picks up at that point and will conclude with the World Series, which is scheduled for Oct. 20-28.