March 26, 2020
The wait is finally over! It has been nearly five full months since the last meaningful MLB Pro game was played, but today that changes. Year 9 of MLB Pro is here, and I am excited to see what it brings.
It needs to be said again, but I cannot thank everyone enough for their continued support and commitment to the league. The offseason is the greatest test of that commitment with no on-field action other than the WDL. I believe we only had one change in ownership over the offseason, perhaps the lowest of any season. We had a small bump in the road with the closure of our site at GM Games, but the transition to our new home with Stats+ was quick, pain free, and in the end, I think very beneficial to the league.
Our offseason was largely free of any blockbuster trades [outside of Tampa’s 24 hours of fun], which only means that there are likely plenty of deals already being discussed. A new season brings new hope, new ideas, new visions for teams. Which team takes the next step forward? Which player(s) enter their prime or break through the minor-leagues to become big-league regulars? Only time will tell!
To those in the American League East. Good luck to you all. Mitch, some new pieces are at your disposal, but the core of an elite team is back, all in the American League will be tested by you. Brett, the Red Sox had a 20-win improvement last season, you have them well positioned to get back above .500. John, the 100% export club is a one-man club and you are that guy. Always doing things the right way, it really is appreciated. Rhett, the Steinbrenner family is smiling when it comes to your commitment to score runs. On any given day the duo of Arai and Velazquez can send the pinstripes home victorious. Drew, you got your first taste of MLB Pro last year with 100 or so games, the franchise is now fully yours, best of luck in your first full season at the helm.
To those in the American League Central. Good luck to you all. Rocky, it’s been three straight division titles for the Twins, number four is definitely a possibility again this year. Ayden and Jonathan, if the Twins are to be dethroned, it’s going to take a quality team to do so, and you both have your teams positioned to be just that. The commitment to build and defeat the Twins has been clear, your fan bases should be very happy with your work. Rob, year two is here. There might be bumps in the road with a young team, but enjoy the growth of your players. In time those young pitchers will become cornerstones to the Royal franchise. Jim, when you took over the Tigers you were put in an unfavorable situation. You’ve stuck it out, you’re starting to make your mark. Nail the draft and prepare for the future. The Tiger faithful know you can help build them back up to where they once were.
To those in the American League West. Good luck to you all. The division I call home. Jason, Kevin, Matt, and Soze, each and every game within the division is a dogfight. Jason, the A’s have been a thorn in my side the past few seasons. For all of the A’s recent struggles, you have won 17 of our 38 matchups the past two seasons, and now with the rotation you’ve built, any game with the A’s will be a challenge. Kevin, I have long felt that perhaps no team sits under the radar more than the Rangers. Year after year, you keep Texas in position to challenge at the top of the division, this year will be no different. Matt, you just missed the playoffs last year. The Sports Illustrated real-life Astros (minus the cheating) projections are starting to come true. The youth movement is upon us, the Astros are a threat in the division, in the American League, and in all of baseball. Soze….again, I can confidently say MLB Pro would not be what is today without you. In fact, I’m not sure MLB Pro is still a thing without your help to me. The added bonus of our teams playing meaningful games against one another each and every season only adds to the fun. Thank you, you’re a first ballot MLB Pro HOF’er.
To those in the National League East. Good luck to you all. Brenton, it’s probably the first time since 2015 that the Braves are not being talked about as a frontrunner in the division. That is a testament to your ability to tinker and deliver the goods. The 2020 Braves are less of a rebuild and more of a retooling or reshaping, it will only be a matter of time before you land back at the top of things. In the mean time, Tony, your rise to the top last season was something special. You have had a vision all the way back to the Strasburg trade, it’s amazing to see it years later. Bruce, six playoff appearances in the past seven years. 90 or more wins in each of the past seven seasons. When it comes to National League franchises, your New York Mets have been the model of success. Ryan, if only injuries could have stayed away last season. The Marlins were a real threat to ruin everyone’s fun last year. If injuries stay away this season, go get Branden Kline those 50 saves you wanted last year. Jerry, let this be your first “welcome to Opening Day” moment. Your patience, your desire to learn, your commitment just in these past few months is tremendously appreciated. I hope you enjoy your first season with us and I hope it is just the first of many, many, more to come.
To those in the National League Central. Good luck to you all. Ryan and Scott, each of you walk into the season believing you are the team to beat. It’s going to be a fun battle to watch unfold all season long. I know each of you will be ready to do whatever it takes to come out on top. I know each of you has a chance to make deep postseason runs. Justin, you are part of the group that has been around MLB Pro for longer than I have. You are a cornerstone of the league. Cubs fans were back last year excited about what you were putting on the field. I think they will be again this year. Cole, 130 or so games for you last season, I hope that was a good warmup act for your first full year. A top 10 minor league system anchored by a pair of top 30 pitching prospects. Add in your work with Matt via your two-man podcast, and you have been a tremendous addition to MLB Pro. Greg, another GM in the 2020 as the first full season with us. It’s easy for GM’s on teams who are struggling to lose focus or drive. You have never wavered. Your commitment, your ability to challenge Heinz for that top export spot is admirable. Bucco nation is in good hands.
To those in the National League West. Good luck to you all. Jay, the D-Backs are today, what Houston likely was a season and a half ago. The talent that is coming up is obvious, add in the pieces you already have, and Arizona is going to be a fun team to watch for many seasons. Sam, you just keep winning. Three straight playoff trips, no reason you will not make it four this year. Sean, in a division with some big budget opposition, you give the Padres hope year after year. Winning in San Diego is far from an easy task, but it’s a challenge I know you are up for the taking. Eddie and Ryan, the battles amongst you two are as fun as any in the league. The t-shirt game is strong between you both, it brings excitement to the table when you play. Beyond that though, you have each established yourselves as GM’s of elite teams, teams capable of reaching the pinnacle in 2020.
To the Anonymous GM, thank you. Keep doing what you do. From trade rumors, to anonymous quote stories, to MLB Pro Happy Hour shows. Just keep on doing it all.
The real world is throwing curveballs at us all. Times are not easy, from obstacles at work, at home, and everywhere in between. Yet, each and every one of you continues to show up here. The contributions everyone brings makes running MLB Pro a blast.
Without further ado, it’s time for baseball!!
Thank you and good luck to everyone!
-Your MLB Pro Commissioner