Most of the superstars who made 2019 one of the best years ever in Latino baseball return in 2020, so there are lots of reasons for excitement about the start of the new decade.
If you like what you saw from Ronald Acuña Jr. the last two years, wait until you see prodigy Luis Robert of the White Sox.
If you were honored to see how Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora and Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez built on the legacy of Ozzie Guillen, Sr., you’ll surely be excited to see what Carlos Beltran will do managing the Mets.
La Vida Baseball says hello to 2020 with the ultimate list of 20 things that should make this year special for Latino beisbol fans:
The White Sox’s Cuban prospect is a five-tool prodigy, which is why the club has agreed to a six-year, $50 million contract with him Thursday.
La Pantera, which translates to the Panther, was handed his deal without ever playing in the majors.
He toyed with the opposition in 2019 while skyrocketing through the White Sox’s top three levels. If healthy, he’ll make his debut early in the season. He’s the favorite for the American League Rookie of the Year Award.
The 2019 La Vida Person of the Year has the personality and talent to become more than just the face of the Washington Nationals now that Anthony Rendon is with the Angels.
The 21-year-old could be the face of Major League Baseball’s “Let the Kids Play” motto for the next decade.
Ronald Acuña Jr.
Let’s go out on a limb here and say he’s my early favorite for the 2020 NL MVP Award and the 2020 La Vida Baseball Person of the Year. He already has the 2018 NL Rookie of the Year Award and one All-Star nod on his resume.
He needs to learn to hustle ALL THE TIME, but the kid is Ken Griffey, Jr.-like special.
Whether he’s in Cleveland, Los Angeles or elsewhere, Mr. Smile will be fun to watch. Injuries hampered him in 2019, but he still earned an All-Star nod.
All-Star Fiesta at Dodger Stadium
There may be equals, but no place in the world has a better baseball atmosphere than Dodger Stadium. The 2020 All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium will have a distinct Latino flavor in the stands and on the field.
Will Fernando Valenzuela get to throw out the ceremonial first pitch? We cannot wait to find out.
The Padres will play host to the Diamondbacks on April 18-19 in Mexico City’s Alfredo Harp Helu Stadium. These games are always treats for fans in Mexico and MLB players.
Considered one of the most respected and admired players for two decades, the Puerto Rican Beltran will make his rookie managerial debut with the New York Mets.
After escaping the 19-31 hot seat to win the 2019 World Series title, the third Latino manager to win a title will have to replace a superstar for the second consecutive year.
He still has his dominant starting rotation and Juan Soto, but he should have some definite job security now.
After hitting 27 home runs in only 87 games to win the AL Rookie of the Year Award, Álvarez will have plenty of attention in 2020. Can he hit 50 home runs? Or more? We cannot wait to see.
Fernando Tatis, Jr.
Don’t be surprised if the young shortstop is at Dodger Stadium as part of the NL All-Star team in July. He showcased his brilliance during a strong rookie season that was hampered by injuries.
Vladimir Guerrero, Jr.
The Twins should probably still be considered the AL Central favorites, but Renteria has the potential to manage his young White Sox squad to the playoffs this year. It will be fun to see what Renteria can do with a roster that is actually good enough to compete.
There’s still plenty left in the Twins’ charismatic designated hitter’s bat. Can he lead the Twins to their second consecutive AL Central crown?
The six-time All-Star already has 1,568 hits over his first nine years of his career. The diminutive superstar continues to be one of the most inspirational stories in baseball.
The Boston Red Sox’s manager will look to rebound after a disappointing 2019 season after winning the 2018 title in his managerial debut. The Red Sox aren’t as loaded as they have been the previous two seasons, so he’ll be tested.
The A’s lefthanded phenom still has his rookie status intact despite posting a 1.50 ERA and two saves over six appearances in the majors in 2019. Although raised in Florida, he’s the first native of Peru to reach the majors.
El Mago will try to make his third consecutive All-Star Game appearance. Báez is one of the biggest stars in the National League. He made a strong run at the NL MVP Award in 2018, finishing second, but he had to settle for an All-Star berth during a more modest 29-home run season in 2019.
When healthy, Correa is one of the best players in baseball. Unfortunately, he has been plagued by injuries during his early career. The 2015 AL Rookie of the Year is only 25, but he was limited to 75 games because of injuries in 2019. He hit 21 home runs, though, so the talent is clearly there. Can he live up to his potential? Will it be in Houston or will he be traded? We’ll find out.
After a brilliant cameo debut at the end of 2019, the Guillens’ show on La Vida Baseball is one of the best shows devoted to baseball. You never know what they’ll say, and they’re usually right, whether we like it or not.
La Vida Baseball community
As we enter our fourth year, we are more committed than ever to continue to build the best Latino baseball community for fans, players, executives. We’re eager to grow that community in 2020, and we invite you to share your stories. You’re the best part of baseball for us.
Featured image: Getty