Freehold, Jackson, Toms River, and Middletown MLBers Hope to Help in ’21
Somehow, someway, we're a mere 7 days away from Pitchers and Catchers reporting. The MLB achieved something approaching a season in 2020, crowning the Dodgers as World Series Champions (with an asterisk of course. An asterisk that wouldn't be there if my beloved Yankees had won.) A full 162 game slate is planned for 2021, so let's take a look at some of the local boys who'll be helping their teams chase a ring this season.
BRAD BRACH, NEW YORK METS (FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP)
Mets fans have had reason to be excited this offseason. And then reason to be embarrassed. Then excited again, then embarrassed again etc. One thing is for sure...their bullpen, Brach included, needs to be better in 2021.
MATT THAISS, LOS ANGELES ANGELS (JACKSON LIBERTY)
Thaiss, a former first round pick in 2016, has yet to really make an impact in the majors. The Angels have made a habit of falling short of expectations, but perhaps this former Jackson Memorial Jaguar being given a shot to break out can go a long way towards flipping the script.
ANTHONY DESCLAFANI, SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS (COLTS NECK)
DeSclafani is coming off the worst season of his career (7.22 ERA in 7 starts and 2 relief appearances), but the pitching starved Giants gave him 6 million to help suture the wound of losing a number of quality starters. DeSclafani started 31 games and kept his ERA under 4.00 in 2019, so there's reason to believe he can help.
JIMMY YACABONIS, SEATTLE MARINERS (CBA)
From CBA star to MLB journeyman, Yacabonis has proved his worth to bullpens in the past. With how volatile relievers can be from season to season, the M's might find themselves in need of Jimmy's services rather quickly in a stacked American League.
TODD FRAZIER, FREE AGENT (TOMS RIVER SOUTH)
It wouldn't be a list of local ballplayers without the greatest of them all, Mr. Toms River, a man who's broken foot at age 11 stands as the only reason my team was able to hoist a TRBA Championship, Todd Frazier. After a return to the Mets in late 2020, Frazier finds himself among the many mid-tier MLB free agents without a job. It shocked me when the MLBPA declined to enact a universal DH again this year, because it would have created more jobs for their players, Frazier included. That said, a team in need of some reliable pop at the plate and 1B/3B reps should absolutely be taking a long look at the Toddfather.
Special thanks to the wild and crazy guys over at the Shore Sports Network (Generalissimo Kevin Williams and Matt Manley) for fact checking me. Now let's play ball.