Baseball is back! Well, maybe. On Monday, the MLB owners agreed to a proposal that would get the 2020 baseball season going as soon as July. Details of the deal include expanded rosters, less travel, and a universal DH. Let's highlight some of the key points and what they mean for fantasy baseball this year.
Let's get to the biggest news for fantasy purposes... the universal DH. That's right, if we have baseball in 2020, every team gets a designated hitter. This is a huge boost for a ton of NL players. Kyle Schwarber and Ryan Braun jump to mind as perfect fits as everyday DHs for their teams. This also helps those who are struggling for playing time. Crowded offenses now have one more spot to slot a hitter. Garrett Hampson and Dylan Carlson stock is on the rise. This could also benefit older and oft-injured players. Robinson Cano or even a returning Yoenis Cespedes could be a huge boost to the Mets offense without the fear of being a defensive liability. Lastly, Yasiel Puig finally gets a job. Sign Puig, you cowards!
Here's the proposal: MLB teams would have a 30-man roster on a day-to-day basis. They would also have a 20-man taxi squad traveling with the team that consists of minor league players. This should help player development of top tier prospects as there will be no minor league season. Now, forgive me for not being the most knowledgeable on what a taxi squad actually is. How a player is called up or sent down to the taxi squad is beyond me. Finances will play a huge role in this, as they always do. Will Wander Franco be part of the Rays everyday roster under this system? What about those recovering from injury like Aaron Judge? Honestly, these questions have yet to be answered.
Here's a fun one. Teams will only play other teams based on their geographical location. This means the NL East will play division games and games against the AL East and that's it. Yep, the Marlins get to battle the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays on a regular basis. I truly fear Sandy Alcantara and Jose Urena going to Yankee Stadium. This does give a boost to a number of teams. The AL West teams would get a healthy dose of Coors Field. Joey Gallo, I'm looking at you. We will also get to see if Matt Chapman and Nolan Arenado are the same player with drastically different home ballparks or not. NL East pitchers get to feast on the poor offenses and pitcher friendly confines of the Indians, Royals, and Tigers. Jack Flaherty is licking his lips.
Less Games/More Playoffs
So obviously the MLB season of 2020 is going to be shorter. How much shorter? Well, the new proposal would have the teams playing 82 games. In addition to this, and to make up lost revenue, the playoff field would expand to 14 teams. That's two additional teams per league. All of these factors add up to more competition. Every team (except the Orioles) has an honest chance at a playoff run. This should help fantasy owners because MLB teams are less likely to rest star players down the stretch. Each individual game has much more impact. This also benefits younger players, primarily starting pitchers, because the innings limit thresholds will be a non-issue. Jesus Luzardo and Julio Urias should be free to pitch without an early shutdown.
The absolute BEST part of this proposal is we are one step closer to getting baseball back. We can finally get back to debating whether Mitch Moreland or Eric Hosmer will ever actually matter instead of arguing over whether a curly fry is better than a waffle fry. That's something we can all agree is a win-win situation.