It's Monday August 31, which means today is the trade deadline for the 2020 MLB season. It's a strange one, as is everything this year. With the shortened season, teams have only played about 30 games, which makes it a little tougher to decide if you're going to be a buyer or a seller.
Throw in the expanded playoffs for the 2020 season, and there are few teams that are very clearly out of contention at this point, which means there are fewer sellers than there would be in a normal baseball season.
But even with all of that, we've still had some notable trades go down already.
4:16 p.m. ET: We're not done yet!
The Mets have acquired third baseman Todd Frazier from the Texas Rangers. Frazier previously played for the Mets from 2018-2019. He is currently batting .241 with 2 home runs and 7 RBIs on the season.
4 p.m. ET: Cubs acquire Cameron Maybin
We've got some last-minute moves as we hit the 4 p.m. deadline.
ESPN's Jeff Passan reports that the Chicago Cubs have acquired outfielder Cameron Maybin from the Detroit Tigers. Maybin is batting .244 with a .311 OBP this season.
Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Cincinnati Reds have acquired relief pitcher Archie Bradley from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Bradley is 1-0 this season with a 4.22 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 10.2 innings pitched.
The Diamondbacks have now traded away pitchers Bradley and Robbie Ray, in addition to outfielder Starling Marte.
Rosenthal also reported that the Blue Jays have acquired outfielder Jonathan Villar from the Marlins. Villar is batting .259 with a .315 OBP, 2 home runs and 9 RBIs this season.
2:58 p.m. ET: Marlins acquire Starling Marte
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that the Marlins were close to a deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks to acquire Starling Marte. The 31-year-old outfielder is hitting .311 this season with 2 home runs, 14 RBIs and an .827 OPS.
1:50 p.m. ET: Blue Jays acquire Robby Ray
Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun is reporting that the Toronto Blue Jays have acquired pitcher Robbie Ray from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ray has made seven starts this season for Arizona, striking out 43 batters in 31 innings pitched, but racking up a 7.84 ERA in that timeframe as well.
The Blue Jays starters rank 15th in MLB with a 4.41 rotation ERA.
12:30 p.m. ET: A's acquire Mike Minor
The second big trade on this year's trade deadline involves another quality starter named Mike.
The Oakland A's have reportedly acquired starting pitcher Mike Minor from the Texas Rangers, according to Jeff Passan. Minor is 0-5 this season with a 5.60 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 35.1 IP. That ERA and win-loss record looks a little rough, but he is coming off a solid season that saw him post a 3.59 ERA with 200 strikeouts.
The A's certainly haven't been struggling this year, but their starting pitching ERA is 4.84, 16th in MLB.
11:12 a.m. ET: Padres acquire Mike Clevinger
The San Diego Padres have been the team to watch at this year's trade deadline already, making four trades before Monday morning. They had already acquired reliever Trevor Rosenthal, DH Mitch Moreland, and catchers Jason Castro and Austin Nola over the weekend.
Clevinger adds to a San Diego rotation that has already looked pretty good. With starting pitchers Chris Paddack, Dinelson Lamet, Zach Davies and now Clevinger, the Padre should be in good shape come playoff time.
Clevinger is 1-1 this season with a 3.18 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 22.1 innings pitched. He was optioned to the team's alternate training site earlier in the season after breaking COVID-19 protocol, but was reinstated and made his fourth start of the year on Aug. 26.
We launched our Foul Ball Fest beer giveaway this morning, so I figured we should take some time and actually talk about Oktoberfest beers. To me, Oktoberfest lagers (the actual style is called MÚÚarzen) are some of the best beers you can drink. I really got into them last fall, and now it's my most checked-in style of beer on Untappd.
While the real Munich Oktoberfest celebration isn't happening this year, you can still celebrate at home with some of these beers.
1. Legend Brewing Company Oktoberfest
I've spent a lot of time in Richmond over the past few years, and one of the best things to do in town is visit the local breweries. Legend is one of the first craft breweries in Richmond, and their Oktoberfest is among the best.
This beer is brewed on a base of Vienna malt, with generous helpings of Munich and Caramel malts as well, giving it a rich malty, and smooth flavor.
Untappd Rating: 4.25 out of 5
2. Devils Backbone O'Fest
Devils Backbone is one of my top two breweries, and while they're known for their Vienna Lager, this Oktoberfest beer my be my favorite of theirs. Inspired by old school Oktoberfest beers, it has a deep amber color, with caramel and toasted bread flavors.
Untappd Rating: 4 out of 5
Something new that Devils Backbone is trying this year is an Oktoberfest-themed IPA called Munchen on Hops. I'm not a big IPA guy, but this one intrigues me, so I might have to try it at some point this fall.
3. Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest
If you're ever in Asheville, North Carolina, you have to make the trip to Sierra Nevada. It's one of the best breweries I've ever been to, not just for the beer, but for the entire experience.
The beer adds to the experience, obviously, and their Oktoberfest is definitely one to try. Brewed with toasty malts and German hops, this beer has notes of fresh bread and a floral, fruity character. Men's Journal described it as "the world's best Oktoberfest."
Untappd Rating: 4 out of 5
4. 13.Five Oktoberfest
I've never actually been to the Blue Mountain Brewery in Nelson County, Va., but I have tried a lot of their beer. The 13.Five Oktoberfest is my favorite of theirs, and it's got a cool reasoning for the name.
At the Oktoberfest celebration in Munich, only beer which is brewed within the city limits and with an original gravity of 13.5 can be served.
Untappd Rating: 3.75 out of 5
5. Highland Brewing Clawhammer Oktoberfest
New York Yankees' slugger Aaron Judge has gotten off to a torrid start in the 2020 Major League Baseball season. Judge currently leads the league with nine home runs, 20 RBIs and a .758 slugging percentage. He is seventh in MLB with a 1.101 OPS.
Judge plays for the biggest and most notable team in baseball, and he is one of the hottest players in the league right now. Is that enough to make him the face of Major League Baseball?
Trey Lyle and I discussed this question on today's episode of the Foul Ball Area podcast, and we disagreed.
Yes, Judge is having a great season, and he has the benefit of playing for the most marketable and recognizable team in the country, but he still falls short of becoming the face of baseball.
That honor belongs to Mike Trout.
We've just all gotten so used to how good Mike Trout is, that we sometimes forget how good he is. Trout is currently one spot behind Judge with a 1.064 OPS. He has seven home runs and14 RBIs on the season.
Trout is the active leader and eighth all-time in OPS, with a career 1.0008 OPS. He's not the flashy, in-your-face celebrity that some other baseball players tend to be, but he doesn't have to be. His consistency and his talent are what keep him as the face of America's pastime.
To hear our full discussion on this topic listen to today's episode of the podcast at the 27:42 mark.
This year has thrown lots of curveballs our way, and thrown a wrench in a lot of our plans. Concerts, sporting events and festivals have been canceled, including the world-famous Oktoberfest in Munich.
While we can't celebrate in Germany, our favorite craft breweries are still putting out their Oktoberfest lagers, which means it's a great time of year in the craft beer world.
To celebrate that, we're launching Foul Ball Fest. One lucky follower will have their next six-pack on us. (For legal purposes, we're just giving you money, you can use it for whatever you want.) Here's how to enter:
1. Like and retweet our pinned tweet announcing Foul Ball Fest
2. Follow @FoulBallArea on Twitter
It's that simple. Your next six-pack of an Oktoberfest beer (or whatever beer you like) could be on us. Here are some more rules:
1. No purchase necessary to enter
2. Must be 21 years or older to win
3. Must be following Foul Ball Area on Twitter.
4. Contest will end Aug. 25, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. ET
5. Winner will be chosen at random and notified the next day.
6. Prize will consist of a Venmo or Paypal payment up to $20 USD to be used for whatever the winner decides (but we encourage it to be used to buy a six-pack. Especially a six-pack of Oktoberfest lager from your favorite brewery.)
Man, this is a tough week for Power Rankings. The teams at the top didn't do much, but they didn't do anything that should cause them to lose any spots. The lower teams were pretty impressive, but I'm not sure if they were impressive enough to overtake the teams ahead of them.
One thing is for sure as we continue on in this strange MLB season: you never know who's gonna get hot each week and make a run at a spot in the Power Rankings.
1. New York Yankees (10-6)
The Yankees went just 2-5 this past week, which isn't great. But they're still 10-6 on the season and in first place in the AL East. As a team, they're second in the league with a .789 OPS, and Aaron Judge looks like he's a lock for AL MVP this season.
2. Atlanta Braves (11-6)
The Braves have been improving bit by bit each week. This past week, they went 4-3, getting blowout wins over the Blue Jays and the Phillies. They have one of the best run differentials in baseball at +27, an although they lost Mike Soroka for the season with a torn achilles, the rest of the rotation has stepped up so far.
3. Oakland Athletics (12-4)
The A's are the hottest team in baseball right now, winning nine straight games. They lead the second-place Texas Rangers in the AL West by five games. The offense needs a little bit of work, but their pitching is third in the league with a 2.66 ERA.
4. Los Angeles Dodgers (11-5)
The Dodgers stay put this week after going 4-2 in series against the Padres and the Giants. They do trail the Rockies in the NL West, but they have the best run differential in the league at +41. Their pitching and hitting both rank in the top 4 in MLB. They're not gonna drop much further than fourth this season, if at all.
5. Chicago Cubs (10-3)
The Cubs got an extra few days off after their series with the Cardinals was postponed, but they probably didn't need it. They've been playing really well, a lot better than I expected, and they get to keep their spot at No. 5 in this week's rankings.
6. Minnesota Twins (10-6)
The fearsome lineup that we all heard about going into the season seems to have taken a step back. As a team, the Twins rank 16th in the league with a .713 OPS. Still, they're 10-6 and in first place in the AL Central.
7. Colorado Rockies (11-4)
The Rockies move up a spot this week after staying in first place in the NL West. They went 5-2 this week against the Giants and Mariners and currently rank in the top 10 in both ERA and OPS.
8. San Diego Padres (9-7)
The NL West is well-represented again this week, with the Padres moving up a spot from last week's rankings. Although they lost their series against the Dodgers, they took two of three from the Diamondbacks to round out the week. Fernando Tatis, Jr. is on fire, tying Aaron Judge for the league lead in home runs, and hecould end up being the NL MVP if he keeps it up.
9. Cleveland Indians (10-7)
Cleveland is back this week after winning three of four against the Reds and two of three against the White Sox. With a rotation headlined by Shane Bieber, the Indians lead the league with a 2.04 team ERA. Yet somehow they're still in third place in the AL Central.
10. Chicago White Sox (8-8)
This might be a controversial pick, especially since the White Sox are in fourth place in the AL Central and I left out the second-place team (seriously, how are the Tigers in second place?), but I have to go with the Sox again. This team is so full of talent that it's just a matter of time before they move on up in both the rankings and the standings.
Trey's Power Rankings
1. Yankees (10-6)
A rocky week for the Yankees that saw them go 5-5 in their last ten games. Granted, the Yankees had to play a lot of games this week to make up a series with the Phillies which, had a doubleheader and a series with the Rays that had a doubleheader. So the large number of games had to be taking even on a great bullpen. Have to see what happens to the Stanton injury
2. Dodgers (11-5)
Dodgers are looking the like the team we all expected to be the favorites coming into the season. With a plus 41 run differential, the team is starting to flex its muscles over the rest of the league.
3. A's (12-4)
The hottest team in baseball is the Oakland Athletics, winners of nine straight, including a sweep of the Houston Astros. The A’s have looked great so far with a plus 23 run differential. The A’s are creating a significant lead in the division now up to five games in the AL West. The A’s have to be favorite now to win the division.
4. Braves (11-6)
Braves have looked great all year and continued that this week 7-3 in their last ten games. A big plus for the Braves is Ronald Acuna Jr. is starting to get going, including a 3-hr performance in Sunday’s doubleheader against the Phillies.
5. Cubs (10-3)
Cubs have continued their winning ways this week, despite losing their series with the Cardinals this weekend. Winning eight of their last ten, the Cubs now have a four-game lead in baseball’s hardest division.
6. Rockies (11-4)
The Rockies are for real folks, another great week for them that included two series wins for the team that is currently in first place in the NL West. It will be interesting to see if they can keep this up, but I think the Rockies now have a real shot of making the postseason.
7. Twins (10-6)
Twins fall on this week rankings after losing four straight games, including a getting swept by the Royals. Despite that, the Twins are still in first place and will be looking to bounce this week.
8. Rays (8-8)
After a bad start to the season, the Rays have seemed to find their rhythm this week, getting back to .500. The Rays will still have some work to do but still seem to be well on their way to the playoffs this season.
9. Marlins (7-3)
So Im ranking the team that almost ended the baseball season, but they are in first place right now and had a great week, which included a four-game sweep on Orioles. Do I think this will last? Probably not.
10. Padres (9-7)
Matt had the Padres in his top 10 last week and, I welcome them in my ranking this week. Mainly because they have the hottest player in baseball in Fernado Tatis Jr., who has hit over .400 and six homers over this past week, the Padres could surprise some people and sneak into a wild card sport in what appears to be a loaded NL West.
We're now over a week into the 2020 MLB season, and we're starting to see which teams are real contenders and which teams are going to struggle a bit. Of course, with all of the COVID-19 postponements going on around the league, some teams are at a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to this week's rankings, but that's just how things have shaken out so far.
1. New York Yankees (7-1)
The Yankees are the only one-loss team in Major League Baseball thus far, and they're looking really good. They battled some adversity when their schedule got switched around last week, but they handled it well and have won six straight. Aaron Judge is back to form, homering in his last five games, including two last night.
2. Minnesota Twins (7-2)
The Twins have arguably the best lineup in all of baseball, and it's led them to this hot start. They have a run differential of +22, second in the league to the Dodgers, and I don't see them slowing down any time soon.
3. Atlanta Braves (7-3)
The Braves currently have a five-game win streak and sit in first place in the NL East. Their week started with a rough couple of games against the Rays, but they won the next two games of that series before taking three straight against the Mets.
4. Los Angeles Dodgers (7-3)
The Dodgers fall in this week's rankings, but not so much because of anything they've done wrong. There's just a lot of good teams out there. The Dodgers currently have the best team ERA at 1.84 and are sixth in team OPS. They should find themselves staying in the top four throughout the season.
5. Chicago Cubs (7-2)
The Cubs are a surprising team to me. I didn't expect them to be this good this year, let alone so early in the season. They've won three straight and are currently in first place in the NL Central, 2.5 games ahead of the Brewers.
6. Houston Astros (5-4)
The Astros stay put this week. They're still looking good, but nothing too impressive from them over the past seven days.
7. Oakland A's (5-4)
Like the Astros, the A's aren't making any moves this week. They've won a few games, but weren't impressive enough to move on up in the rankings.
8. Colorado Rockies (6-2)
Another surprising team in this week's rankings, the Rockies are in first place in the NL Central. Their pitching has been outstanding so far this season, but it will be interesting to watch how that changes once they play more games at home at Coors Field.
9. San Diego Padres (6-4)
The Padres gain a spot this week after splitting a couple of series with the Giants and Rockies. The NL West is well-represented in this week's rankings, and is making a case to be the best division in baseball.
10. Chicago White Sox (5-4)
The White Sox were my dark horse team to watch at the beginning of the season, and it's starting to pay off. They've won four straight on their way to overtaking the Indians for second place in the AL Central. Their young core of Luis Robert, Yoan Moncada and Eloy Jimenez will carry them far this season.
1. Yankees (7-1)
What a week for the Yankees, their four-game series with the Phillies get postponed, they make two of those games up with the Orioles and end their week with their biggest rival in the Red Sox. What do they do? They get two sweeps, now on a six-game win streak, the hottest team in baseball. The Yankees also have the hottest play in baseball with Aaron Judge, who has hit a home run in the last five games and 6 in total.
2. Dodgers (7-3)
Dodgers seem to have found their rhythm this week again. They currently have won 5 of their last six games, including a sweep of a two-game series with the Houston Astors in maybe the most exciting matchup of the week. The Dodgers got a big boost came on Sunday when Clayton Kershaw made his season debut and looked great pitching 5.2 scoreless innings.
3. Braves (7-3)
The Braves have quietly won five games in a row, including a sweep of the New York Mets. Ronald Acuna Jr. seems to find his rhythm hitting his first home run this past weekend. With all of the craziness going on in the NL East, the Braves looked primed to build a big early lead in the division.
4. Twins (7-2)
The Twins have continued to look like the Class of the NL central, only losing one game this week and sweeping the Cardinals. A definite favorite in the AL Central the Twins, focus will still be on the postseason and trying to make a deeper run into the postseason.
5. Cubs (7-2)
Cubs are winners of three straight, sweeping the Pirates this past weekend. Quickly becoming the Class of the NL with a 2.5 game lead in the Central over the Brewers, the Cubs looking like they are ready to make it back to the postseason.
6. Astros (5-4)
The Astros had an ok week, they did get swept by the Dodgers, but then took two of three from the Angels. The Astros have looked inconsistent this season as some points and just seems they have not found their rhythm yet.
7. A's (5-4)
Another team that we expected look better out of the gate, the A’s got swept by the Rockies then took two of three from Seattle this past week. The A’s offense has not been that good to start posting a negative two-run differential so far this year, so that will need to improve, or this team could quickly fall out of the top 10.
8. Rockies (6-2)
With a 60 game season and an expansion of the postseason, it created an expectation that a new no one was expecting to compete was going to come on the scene and contend. Hello, the Colorado Rockies. I know it is early, but Rockies have looked great so far with their sweep of the A’s this week and taking two of three from the Padres. The Rockies might keep on surprising people as this season goes on.
9. White Sox (5-4)
A team that had big expectations coming in as a team that could win the AL central. The White Sox didn’t get the start they wanted, and it put them in the hole. The team has bounced back to win four straight games and looks to find their place in a comparative AL Central.
10. Nationals (3-4)
The Nats did not play many games this week, since their series with the Marlins got canceled due to COVID-19. I kept them on here because they are defending champs and look to start to find their rhythm before their games got postponed due to the Miami Marlins situation.
Matthew Atkins, Journalist and Baseball fan.