In light of the shortened big-league schedule, the PGBL Office has established temporary reduced qualifying standards for the 2021 season.
The league’s goal was to be as consistent as possible with the number of eligible players in normal seasons. There will be no partial qualifiers.
Position players need 74 plate appearances, which falls in line over 60 games with the regular ratio of 200 PAs over 162 games. This produces a player pool of 360, identical to 2020.
Starting pitchers must have a minimum of 5 actual games started, while relief pitchers will be eligible if they totaled 16 innings pitched OR 15 appearances. These standards result in 170 qualified starters and 248 relievers; all eligible starting pitchers can be used in relief.
Boston’s PGBL franchise will have a new nickname beginning next season.
Owner Joel Fellers announced the team now will be known as the Bees after playing as the Braves since relocating from Minnesota in 2003. Fellers said he has been contemplating the change for a while.
“I wanted to go with Crackers, but our excellent marketing team persuaded me that this was better,” said Fellers.
This will be the fifth moniker for a Boston PGBL entry. The current Brooklyn franchise began as the Boston Bulls in the league’s first season. The team moved to Cleveland for the second season, but returned the following year as the Breakers and then switched, for some reason, to the Rockies.
Fellers said the organization is also making some changes with its farm system.
“We will, however, be moving our Triple-A franchise to Dorchester and naming them the Drunkards,” said Fellers. “That was a hill I was willing to die on.”
Louisville’s Christian Yelich and Pittsburgh’s Anthony Rendon have been named the PGBL’s league MVPs for 2020, while Chicago’s Justin Verlander and Oakland’s Max Scherzer won the Cy Young Awards.
Yelich repeated as South League MVP after winning the award for Oakland in 2019. He is the first player to win back-to-back SL awards and just the second in PGBL history to win consecutive MVPs with two different teams.
The Long Rifles star led the South in all three slash categories, with a .333 average to go along with 44 homers and 117 RBIs. He got six of the seven first place votes in finishing ahead of the Athletes’ Jorge Soler and Memphis outfielder Juan Soto.
Rendon joined two-time winner Ryan Braun as MVP winners for the Cobras. The star third baseman emerged from a divided field, garnering two first-place votes as five different players topped the ballots.
Snapping Chicago’s four-year run of MVPs (three by Mike Trout), Rendon scored an NL-best 136 runs while driving in 112. He hit .289 with 34 homers while registering a .390 on-base percentage and a .541 slugging mark.
Scherzer earned his second Cy Young award after claiming the NL honor with British Columbia in 2014. He received five first-place votes to place ahead of Athletes teammate Mike Clevinger.
Scherzer posted a 23-3 record with a 2.65 ERA and 294 strikeouts for Oakland’s powerhouse staff that also included Stephen Strasburg and Sonny Gray.
Verlander won his third NL Cy Young for the Cardinals following consecutive honors in 2012-13. He joins Pedro Martinez (five) and Roy Halladay (three) as the only pitchers in league history with more than two Cy Youngs, and his honor is the seventh in Chicago franchise history.
With Chicago using only five starters all season, Verlander went 18-6 with a league-leading 2.81 ERA. He ranked third in strikeouts with 293 and limited opposing hitters to a slash line of .177/.218/358.
NL MVP Anthony Rendon, Pittsburgh (2) ……. 50 Joey Gallo, Calgary (2) ………………….. 39 Joc Pederson, London (1) ………………. 32 Nelson Cruz, Vancouver ……………….. 32 Pete Alonso, Pittsburgh ……………….. 21 Ketel Marte, London (1) ………………… 20 Luis Arraez, Ottawa (1) …………………. 16 Ronald Acuna, Pittsburgh …………….. 13 JD Davis, Calgary …………………………. 13 Jeff McNeil, Boston ……………………… 12 Six other players received votes