30 MLB players we will miss most on what should have been opening day

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<pre><pre>30 MLB players we will miss most on what should have been opening day

Today, March 26, it was supposed to be opening day.

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That's not happening, as you know, but that's not going to stop us from dreaming of what might have been, even as we watch the mixed bag of past baseball games airing throughout the day.

Here is one player from each team that we were eager to see on opening day.

MORE: 15 things we miss most about baseball

American league

Andrew Heaney, SP, Angeles

Because the? The Angels wasted no time naming the left-hander as his Opening Day starter this spring. This was supposed to be his first opening day wink, which is a pretty good honor for any pitcher, and that's reason enough to see (and that's why we'll pick another couple of players on this list). But there's also this: Heaney didn't hold back when asked about his thoughts on the Astros and their cheating scandal this spring, and guess who the Angels were going to play on opening day. The popcorn was ready.

José Altuve, 2B, Astros

Because the? Because it's impossible to think about the Astros and their first game of 2020 without thinking about the signal theft scandal that broke this offseason. And Altuve somehow became the centerpiece of this scandal despite data showing that he heard the fewest trash hits recorded in 2017. But Altuve hit Aroldis Chapman's home run at ALCS 2019 and told them to his teammates not to take off his shirt as he approached home plate. And, well, that seemed suspicious. So, to choose an Astros player that most eyes would be on, the wink goes to Altuve.

And now we're done with the poster theft scandal, I promise.

Mike Fiers, SP, Athletics

Because the? OK, one more, damn it. The Athletics had yet to announce their first opening day, but it certainly was a possibility. He got the go-ahead for the first game in 2019 and was a reliable part of A's rotation last year, posting 3.0 bWAR and 3.90 ERA in 33 starts. Fiers, of course, is the player who entered the record with The Athletic and kicked the entire signal theft scandal at top speed. So yes, his first start in 2020 would have been interesting. It's worth noting, though, that the Athletics host the Astros in the second series of the season, so if the Athletics wanted to make sure the Fiers wouldn't take on the Astros, it seems like an unnecessary distraction earlier in the season. They could have pushed him back to the third game of the year begins.

OK, THAT is the last mention of scandal. Double promise, Pinkie I swear.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B, Azulejos

Because the? Because it's amazing and you're probably going to have a monster season, and throwing a couple of baseballs over the fence wouldn't have surprised anyone.

Shane Bieber, SP, Indians

Because the? Bieber is coming off an outstanding season, fourth place in the AL Cy Young Award and All-Star Game MVP, and was scheduled to face the Tigers at home. It feels like a no-hitter, or at least a bleacher, was on the table.

Kyle Lewis, OF, Mariners

Because the? Lewis, the 11th overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, skipped Triple A last year and posted an OPS of .885 in 18 major league contests for the Mariners last year. He probably has his ups and downs, but he's an exceptional talent and watching him hit that spring training grand slam was a lot of fun.

Chris Davis, 1B, Orioles

Because the? Because hope is eternal, and Davis was on fire this spring. And of course spring stats mean very little, but when you talk about a player with -4.8 bWAR and 53 OPS + in the past two years combined, any small slice of success is welcome.

Joey Gallo, RF, Rangers

Because the? Because Gallo was deprived of us for too long in a 2019 season, his year ended on July 23 when he entered the DL with a broken hamate bone in his right hand, that was what prepared him for the decisive year in the one we've all been waiting for.

Jose Martinez, DH, Rayos

Because the? Because Martinez feels like a perfect player for Tampa Bay, a professional hitter with no great defensive position he's finally in the American League and can shine, primarily as a DH but also as a starter in first place and in right field. And what better way to get going than with two or three hits in your new home against a National League team?

Alex Verdugo, RF, Red Sox

Because the? New face in a new place, replacing a superstar at Mookie Betts. Intrigue.

Adalberto Mondesi, SS, Reales

Because the? It's fun to watch it, especially when it reaches the base. The big season could be in the works, if you figure out how to get to the base more often.

Miguel Cabrera, DH, Tigres

Because the? Because, as I said when I watched a Tigers game from the box office this spring, every time you can see a future Hall of Fame play, that's a good day.

Jose Berrios, SP, Twins

Because the? His last minute things are fascinating. Berrios comes from consecutive All-Star seasons and is still only 25 years old. Last year, he received the go-ahead approval and struck out 10 in 7 2/3 shutout innings at home against Cleveland. This task, in Oakland, would be a little more difficult but still an opportunity to shine.

Luis Robert, CF, White Sox

Because the? The White Sox eliminated "on-duty,quot; distractions, signed Robert with a deal that guarantees $ 50 million for six years, and he has team options that could add two years and $ 38 million. All of this despite the fact that he has not yet made his major league debut, which is why we chose him here. Robert was brilliant in 2019, hitting a .328 combined with a 1,001 OPS, 32 home runs and 36 stolen bases on three levels in the White Sox organization.

Gleyber Torres, SS, Yankees

Because the? Because it's pretty much the only healthy starter, right? Really, though, Torres has been exactly the player Cubs fans feared he would be when his favorite team traded him to the Yankees for landlord Aroldis Chapman (although he contributed to that little World Series title).

MORE: Rob Manfred Hopes Baseball Can Resume Before June

National League

Ronald Acuña, Jr., Braves

Because the? Because he's a damn superstar, that's why.

Christian Yelich, RF, Brewers

Because the? Has the trade ever worked better than the Brewers deal to get Yelich? He's been an amazing player, an MVP award, and second place, and this offseason he agreed on a lucrative extension to stay in Milwaukee for a long, long time. The Brewers were supposed to open their season at home against the Cubs, and receiving the home crowd would have really been something.

Jack Flaherty, SP, Cardinals

Because the? How do you follow an incredible ending – he had a 0.93 ERA in his last 16 starts – for the 2019 season? Well, that's why we chose it.

Javier Báez, SS, Cubs

Because the? He is a star, with a talent for acting on the big stage. Like, for example, on the opening day of 2019, when he made a couple of home runs and had four RBIs in a victory against the Rangers on the road.

Starling Mars, CF, Diamondbacks

Because the? It feels like years ago that the Diamondbacks acquired the two-time Pittsburgh Gold Glove winner. But he comes from consecutive 20/20 seasons, and all eyes will be on him for his first regular-season game in his new uniform.

Mookie Betts, RF, Dodgers

Because the? Well duh.

Johnny Cueto, SP, Giants

Because the? He has only made 13 starts in the past two years, but he is healthy and was named the opening day starter. Cueto offers a clinic on hitting time interruption every time he comes out.

Lewis Brinson, CF, Marlins

Because the? I'm going to believe that Brinson can become a star until the day he retires, apparently. It hasn't been good in the majors so far, but Brinson was pretty good this spring, .345 batting average, three home runs in 13 games, and I know spring stats don't mean much, but he would have been looking and waiting on opening day. it would have been his new and new beginning.

Jacob deGrom, SP, Mets

Because the? Because when a two-time Cy Young winner takes the mound, you watch.

Juan Soto, LF, Nationals

Because the? Soto and Acuña, who finished 1-2 in the 2018 National League Rookie of the Year vote, will be linked as long as they challenge their ages and play as superstars, and it will always be worth watching.

Tommy Pham, LF, Parents

Because the? Pham feels like the perfect match for a growing Padres team, and I hope that impact is obvious from day one. Or, you know, opening day.

Bryce Haper, RF, Phillies

Because the? Boring choice? Yes. But you will also be watching.

Jarrod Dyson, CF, Pirates

Because the? I've been a Dyson fan since his days as the sprinter who helped the Royals thrive in 2014-15, and because that's what speed does.

Joseph Daniel Votto, 1B, Reds

Because the? Because if the Reds are going to be legitimate contenders in 2020, they need Votto to be the Votto of yesteryear. And what better time to start than on opening day?

Nolan Arenado, 3B, Rockies

Because the? It was, well, has been, an interesting offseason for Arenado and the Rockies, and watching him play again would have been great for Rockies fans.

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