Just when you think it’s safe to project the MLB season, more details emerged over the weekend leading in to a conference call to take place on Monday. Details of the evolving rules and games played can be found in Ken Rosenthal’s article in The Athletic.
For the cliff notes, read below in the bullets:
Teams could play in-division opponents and teams from the other leagues counterpart in the division only to avoid cross-country flights limiting travel. For instance, teams from the American League East would play their divisional opponents and teams from the National League East only in this proposal. Games would be in home ballparks with the exception of Toronto. Canada requires a 14-day quarantine for travelers so the Blue Jays may be forced to play in Buffalo at their Triple-A affiliate’s ballpark. Hat tip to Matt Selz on this tip.
Games could be anywhere between 78-to-80-82 depending on how the MLB tries to balance the schedule. Travel needs to be taken into account when depressing the spread of the virus.
Roster expansion definitely happens with teams taking on a hockey format. There could be more players on a roster (28-to-32) with teams dressing 26 players per game. This would mean starting pitchers would only suit up for their starts.
Rules changes aplenty could also emerge. Seven inning double-headers to maximize games played, a runner on second base in the 11th inning of tied contests and the universal designated hitter will be discussed.
Play-offs may expand to seven teams instead of the traditional five making each game count more for every franchise in the hunt for the postseason.
Our own Jim Bowden explored the universal DH for The Athletic:
MLB is expected to propose a universal DH for the 2020 season as part of their plan. Here would be the immediate ramifications for each NL Team:https://t.co/fg9epa62fp— Jim Bowden (@JimBowdenGM) May 10, 2020
From a fantasy perspective, once more details emerge owners can adjust. An easy path to a return for the MLB may not totally emerge. After one week of games in the KBO in South Korea, success in the American market provides some hope. But, new details of the Corona Virus clouds the optimism:
Recent spike in new COVID19 cases are making #KBO officials nervous. 2nd wave might be on its way and CDC/local gov’t officals are scrambling to contain new spread. KBO initially hoped to have the fans at games by early June, but that plan is not looking good now. https://t.co/ATWJsB2JKL pic.twitter.com/iV5Kd3r9K8— Daniel Kim ??? ? (@DanielKimW) May 11, 2020
If a player in the KBO becomes infected with the virus, the league will shut down for three weeks. Add this in with any sort of return for the MLB and things get dicey. As for some of the fantasy fallout of the shortened season, check out previous articles on Fantasy Alarm for 100-game samples and the universal designated hitter column previously published ahead of the recent reports:
Thinking of a team like Toronto, playing in a different ballpark and facing the deep rotations in Washington, Atlanta and the New York Mets could depress the breakout labels attached to its young core. As more details emerge, be sure to check back on the site to stay ahead of the competition. An adaptive nature will be required to remain out front of any changes pending in the MLB.