Building a Roster: MLB Edition

I saw Connor Byrne of do this last week and I thought I would give it a shot. If you want to check out his, you can find the article here. The rules are to build an MLB roster taking one player from 26 of the 30 teams. You are not allowed to steal any prospects and you can’t just take the best player off of each team. You need to look for spots of need at times instead. He also took affordability and team control into account. I might struggle on the affordable part but we’ll see how this goes. Here is my squad.

National League East

Braves – Ronald Acuna Jr., outfielder (2020-$1,000,000): I would like to hear an argument for anyone else on the roster here. A young superstar under contract until 2028. 41 home runs, 101 RBI’s, and 37 stolen bases with an average of .280 is a stat line I can’t pass up

Nationals – Stephen Strasburg, starting pitcher (2020-$35,000,000): here is the first change from Connor’s team. The contract for Strasburg is high but I can’t pass up a chance to get a high end starter for 6 more years. Soto is another great choice here but I want to save my two outfield spots for later. Strasburg had 18 wins last year and has had at least 10 in each of the last 6 years and has a career ERA of 3.17. These are great stats for my number two starter.

Mets – Jacob Degrom, starting pitcher (2020-$9,500,000): Imagine having to face these two guys back to back multiple times in a playoff series. Two straight Cy Young awards makes this an easy choice.

Phillies – Hector Neris (2020-$4,600,000): Neris has been a good closer for the Phillies over the last 3 years. He’ll be a middle reliever with the bullpen I’m going to build and provides solid strikeout numbers with at least 76 in each of the last 4 years.

Marlins – Pass

National League West

Dodgers – Walker Buehler, starting pitcher (2020-$603,500): L.A. is abundant with talent but I think Buehler is going to be a star when it’s all said and done. I am piling on to an already dominant rotation. I don’t know who I’ll slot in to the three spot between Strasburg, Degrom, and Buehler but it’s a good problem to have.

Diamondbacks – Ketel Marte, second base (2020-$3,000,000): I debated on passing here for the sole purpose of trying to switch my team up from the original article but I can’t pass up a young player on a good contract that can play multiple positions. If he can continue to replicate his .329 average with 32 home runs from last season, this is a big steal.

Giants – Pass

Rockies – Trevor Story, shortstop (2020-$9,000,000): I really wanted to go Arenado here to have one of the top players in the league manning the hot corner but I just couldn’t justify paying that much money when I can get some pretty good value in Story. His contract is about $17 million less for year while still putting up over 35 home runs and a batting average over .290 each of the last two years. Story and Marte up the middle is gonna be magic.

Padres – Emilio Pagan, reliever (2020-$591,000): This is a spot where I circled back around after filling out most of my roster. Pagan fills in nicely to the middle part of my bullpen with a WHIP of 0.83 and 96 strikeouts in 66 games.

National League Central

Cardinals – Giovanny Gallegos, reliever (2020-$582,400): There are a lot of options here but I’m gonna go for a need. A solid young arm with team control until 2025 works well for a middle relief role.

Brewers – Christian Yelich, outfielder (2020-$12,500,000): Give me the 2018 NL MVP. I love this kid’s swing. Still 28 and a favorable contract when you consider $4 million a year from his contract is being deferred, I found my other corner outfield spot for the next 8 years.

Cubs – Ian Happ, utility (2020-$624,000): I want my bench spots to be very versatile and Happ can play just about anywhere. He has a little bit of pop in his bat that can provide a spark late in games.

Reds – Amir Garrett, reliever (2020-$595,000): I passed on Josh Hader from the Brewers so here is where I go get my strong-armed lefty for the bullpen. He’s under team control until 2024 and as long as he doesnt try to fight anybody, I think we’ll be alright with this pick. My number one stat when I look at relievers is strikeouts and Garrett had 78 in 56 innings while only giving up 35 walks.

Pirates – Josh Bell, first base (2020-$4,800,000): 27 years old, still in arbitration until 2023, and raked 37 home runs with 116 RBI’s. I think my team might break the record for home runs in a season. Look out Yankees.

American League East

Yankees – Aroldis Chapman, reliever (2020-$17,200,000): I’m a sucker for the lefties that can throw the fastball. I already have Garrett, but that’s a scary combo in the back end of the bullpen

Rays – Nick Anderson, reliever (2020-$577,300): I’m running out of spots and I need to fill a few reliever spots so I’m trusting Connor on this one and going heavy AL East bullpen.

Red Sox – Christian Vazquez, catcher (2020-$1,425,000): I circled back around on this one as I was having a tough time choosing. I still needed a backup catcher so Vazquez gets the nod here.

Blue Jays – Vlad Guerrero Jr., third base (2020-$579,300): He’s got baseball running through his veins. Like father, like son. Only 21, Guerrero put up a solid stat line and will only improve moving forward. He also adds to the moon shots that my team is going to produce.

Orioles – John Means, starting pitcher (2020-$580,000): This might be my bias showing as a WVU alum, but I really like John Means. He’s different than how the league is trending. Mean’s fastball tops out around 92 mph and relies on location. I’ll gladly take him at the back end of my rotation.

American League West

Astros – Austin Pruitt, reliever (2020-$535,000): My bullpen is getting a little bit on the pricy side so I go with Pruitt, who was traded to the Astros this offseason and is still on his rookie contract.

Athletics – Matt Olsen, first base (2020-$603,500): Josh Bell isn’t a great defensive first baseman. With Olsen, I get that defense in late innings while not losing much, if at all, at the plate.

Rangers, Jose Leclerc, reliever (2020-$1,500,000): Another guy bringing heat in the late innings until 2025. Leclerc eclipsed the 100 strikeout mark in 2019 in only 68 innings pitched.

Angels – Mike Trout, outfielder (2020-$17,666,667): He’s the face of this generation. Enough said.

Mariners – Pass

American League Central

Twins – Mitch Garver, catcher (2020-$620,000): I still haven’t picked up a catcher. I think I get some good value here with Garver. He looked good in the shortened spring training this year and is solid behind the plate.

Indians – Shane Bieber, starting pitcher (2020-$623,200): 15 wins last year and over 250 strikeouts is a solid year for a 25 year old with 5 more years of control. The back end of my rotation is complete.

White Sox – Yoan Moncada third base (2020-$1,800,000): Between Moncada and Guerrero, they can play a game of rock paper scissors every day to see who plays third and who gets to be the designated hitter.

Royals – Whit Merrifield, second base (2020-$1,000,000): Merrifield is coming off his first all star season and brings a little bit of everything to the table. For an average of $4 million, he’s a great option for one of my bench spots.

Tigers – pass

There it is. That’s definitely a World Series Contender. The total payroll ends up at $122,500,000, which would rank 18th and be below the league average.

Starting Lineup:

  • Catcher – Mitch Garver
  • First Baseman – Josh Bell
  • Second Baseman – Ketel Marte
  • Shortstop – Trevor Story
  • Third Baseman – Vlad Guerrero, Jr
  • Left Field – Ronald Acuna, Jr
  • Center Field – Mike Trout
  • Right Field – Christian Yelich
  • Designated Hitter – Yoan Moncada


  • Whit Merrifield, Matt Olsen, Christian Vasquez, Ian Happ


  • Jacob DeGrom, Stephen Strasburg, Walker Buhler, Shane Bieber, John Means


  • Hector Nerris, Emilio Pagan, Giovanny Gelegos, Amir Garrett, Nick Anderson, Austin Pruitt, Jose Leclerc, Aroldis Chapman

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