The 2019 rookie class has graduated, so what’s next? Year two can be a difficult one as the opposing teams have now all seen tape, often resulting in the dreaded sophomore slump.

Or, year two can be the year a player finally gets enough reps at the major league level to really find his groove.  And sometimes there are players that are just so consistent; you can always bank on exactly what you’ll get.

Below is a list of players that should see playing time in 2020 and a look into whether they are likely to slump or bump.

Blue Jays: Danny Jansen , C, age 25

Jansen was a top-50 prospect last year, according to Baseball America, so it is pretty disappointing to see a 107-game slash line of .207/.279/.360, which resulted in just 13 homers, 41 runs, and 43 RBI. But there is some good news here. His BABIP (batting average on balls in play) was only .230. That’s almost 100 points lower than league-average which is all to say, Jansen was extremely unlucky. His minor-league numbers suggest he is more of a .300 hitter and his power is, at least, league-average. Upside: .275 batting average and 25 home runs. Take this discount at a scarce position.

Mariners: Austin Nola , 1B/2B/C, age 30

Nola will be 30 years old as he enters his sophomore season, and I think that’s really all you need to know here.He batted .269 with 10 homers, 37 runs, and 31 RBI in a sample size of 267 Major League plate appearances.  He also had a 23.6-percent strikeout rate. In similar samples sizes across seven years of the minor league play, his K rate was about 16-percent. Similarly, his walks decreased to 8.6-percent from an 11.3-percent walk rate over the last two years in minor-league ball. In real baseball, I am happy to see Nola finally get his shot. In Fantasy baseball, I don’t even want him on my bench.

Mets: Pete Alonso , 1B, age 25

The NL rookie of the year smashed his way to the title with 53 home runs, 103 runs, and 120 RBI. Not only did he lead rookies in home runs for 2019, he led ALL of MLB. Oh, and P.S. -- he also won the Home Run Derby edging out another rookie, Vlad Guerrero, Jr, but more on Vladdy later.   Alonso was tenth in slugging and tenth in wRC+ and clearly has no problem keeping up in the Big Leagues. Whether or not he can continue at this monster pace is debatable, but the underlying skill set including a 16.8-percent barrel rate and .384 wOBA is clearly solid, and he produced steadily over the entire 2019 season. His professionalism and joy in the clubhouse indicate Alonso has the drive to be great. He’s young and healthy and the Mets know they have someone special.  Expect a very strong sophomore season. This one isn’t a flash in the pan.

Yankees: Mike Ford , 1B, age 27

Ford got off to a slow start on his first arrival, but in the second half of the 2019 season, Ford slashed .274/.333/.619 with a .953 OPS. His lefty bat punished lefty pitching with a batting average of .333 and a hard-hit rate of 51.7-percent. Sure, it’s a limited sample size, but there is lots of promise here. And come on, it’s Yankee Stadium. One more injury to Luke Voit , and you’ll be glad you had Mike Ford in your back pocket.

Red Sox: Michael Chavis , 1B/2B, age 24   

Multi- Positional Eligibility – that is music to a Fantasy Baseball manager’s ears. Depending on your league rules, Chavis should qualify at 1B, 2B, and potentially even 3B (for those of you who play in Yahoo); and in the long, long baseball season, it’s an important insurance policy to carry. It’s also pretty much the only reason to roster Michael Chavis . You may remember a few weeks in May when he had some pop, but after a late season shoulder injury he never recovered. Here’s hoping the off-season has given him time to heal, but his league-leading strikeout rate and low BA and OBP from the bottom of the order doesn’t make him an especially juicy pick.

Rockies: Garrett Hampson , 2B/UTL, age 25 *Updated 2/1*

The fantasy world was a little quick to jump on Hampson last season, and it was disappointing to see him lose the platoon battle to Ryan McMahon . That may be the way you remember Garrett Hampson , and his seasonal numbers are underwhelming. Hampson saw limited work until September; but once he got some regular playing time, it seems like things started to click.  During that last month of regular season play, Hampson slashed .318/.368/.534 with five home runs and nine stolen bases. Of course, this was all in only 95 plate appearances, but it sure does look like it could a promising beginning for a five-tool player. With multi-positional eligibility at second base and outfield, as well as speed and some power, let’s hope everyone else in your league stopped watching baseball before September.

**Keep your eye on action with Nolan Arenado .  If Arenado is moved, Hampson will have a shot at more playing time.

Brewers: Keston Hiura , 2B, age 23

Hiura got a trip up to the majors due to an injury to Travis Shaw ,  and played his way into the everyday job.  A hamstring injury sidelined him briefly, but overall it was a strong rookie debut with 19 homers, 51 runs, 49 RBI, and nine stolen bases while batting .303 in 84 games.  His BABIP in those 84 games was .402 which is some cause for concern, but even if he regresses to the mean, he should still hit for .270 with an upside of 30+ HR. He doesn’t possess above average speed, so temper stolen base expectations, but the power and contact ability are there. He is currently projected to bat cleanup, and if he can also reduce that 30-percent K rate, this guy will be a definite keeper.

Blue Jays: Cavan Biggio , 2B, age 25 *Updated 2/1*

Biggio played in 100 games for Toronto last season, and if you rostered him the return was 16 homers and 14 stolen bases. That’s pretty good for a rookie, but he may have also tanked your average at .234 for the season. Unfortunately, I don’t see this changing much without some pretty big adjustments. In 2018 AA, he hit .252 and in 2017 A, he hit .233. In fact, the only time he hit for average was the .312 he hit in 42 games at AAA right before he was called up. However, though his strikeout rate at the Major League level was 28.6 percent, his walk rate was 13.9 percent making him considerably more valuable in OBP leagues. He has some speed and some pop, and will likely be an everyday player. Although with this pedigree, I would like to see more. Draft late for speed without sacrificing power or at a discount if you think you can guess correctly when he will go on a hot streak. 

Rays: Brandon Lowe , 2B, age 25

Seventeen homers in only 82 games suggests a ton of power upside, though we were unable to see how it would play out due to a quad injury that sidelined him for over two months.   He possesses above average speed, which could be a nice bonus, but again, the leg injury makes it hard to trust. His batting average looks nice over the 82 games at .270, but a nearly 35-percent strikeout rate and a below average 7.6-percent walk rate should give you some pause.  

Royals: Nicky Lopez , 2B, age 25

One stolen base, two homers, a .242 BA and a 4.5-percent walk rate in 103 games.  A 19.1- percent hard hit rate   No power and needs to use his speed to be of any value. Verdict: Nothing to see here.  Move along.

Twins: Luis Arraez, 2B/LF, age 23

In 366 plate appearances, Arraez batted .334 with four home runs, 54 runs, and 28 RBI. He consistently hits above .300. In his weakest month he hit…. .293.  He is a disciplined contact hitter (28 strikeouts and 29 walks) with not a lot of power, but one of the best eyes in the game.   He finished sixth in the AL Rookie of the Year voting, and Terry Francona said he believes Arraez will one day win a batting title.  He plays for the team that had the most home runs in the Major Leagues last year, so though he doesn’t have a ton of power, his BA and OBP should yield some good results.  He also plays all over the diamond, so his eligibility is a huge plus.

Marlins: Isan Díaz, 2B, age 24

A rough start upon entry to the majors gave way to a better September, though that isn’t really saying a lot.  In 49 games, Diaz had five homers with 17 runs and 23 RBI.   A .224 batting average on balls in play suggests his batting average can’t remain at an abysmal .173, but even with a bump in batting average, his above average strikeout rate and below average hard hit rate don’t give signs of much encouragement.

Blue Jays: Bo Bichette , SS, age 22

Back in August, Bo Bichette was arguably the hottest player in Major League Baseball when he doubled in a record nine straight MLB games. In only 196 at-bats, Bichette slashed .311/.358./.571 with 11 HR, 32 R, and 21 RBI.  He’s young, healthy, and baseball is in his genes.   His father, Dante Bichette, was not only an All-Star, Silver Slugger, and NL MVP, he was also the hitting coach for the Colorado Rockies.   Imagine having that advantage all the way from Little League! The Jays are building a youthful, talented club, and Bo Bichette figures to be a big part of that.   He flashed some speed at the AA and AAA levels and currently projected to bat leadoff. He could be a very useful five-tool player.

Padres: Fernando Tatis, Jr. SS, age 21

The Padres shocked everyone last year by bucking the trend of waiting for the date that would guarantee another year of team control, and instead had their best player on the opening day roster.  Hmmm.  Imagine that! Unfortunately, his rookie season ended early with a back injury in August, but until that time, Tatis, Jr was a human highlight reel. He slugs, he steals, and he leaps over infielders in a single bound!   In 84 games, Tatis made it clear he has legit power and speed slashing .317/.379/.590 with 22 home runs and 16 stolen bases. Bear in mind he has one of the league worst strikeout rates at nearly 30-percent, and his home run to fly ball rate is unsustainable. However, he is young and there’s no question how his club feels about him, as they have already begun talks of a contract extension. Assuming he can stay healthy and improve on some plate discipline, the sky is the limit for this young superstar. Don’t expect a repeat in batting average, but consider rostering him even if it’s just so you have an excuse to stay up late and watch him play West Coast Baseball.

Cardinals:  Tommy Edman , SS, age 25 *Updated 2/1*

Edman arrived with little fanfare, but impressed with elite speed and an impressive .303 batting average. In 92 games, Edman stole 15 bases with 59 runs, 36 RBI, and 11 home runs.  His power is about league average, but he doesn’t strike out often and he has multi-positional eligibility, which instantly raises his value as you can play him all around the diamond.

Pirates: Kevin Newman , SS, age 26

In 493 at-bats in 2019, Newman batted .308 and swiped 16 bags.  His 11-percent strikeout rate is in the top three-percent of the league, so though he lacks a lot of power (12 dingers all of last year), he should be a solid player who bats for average and helps with stolen bases  at a low investment.  He is expected to be the starting shortstop for the Pirates on Opening Day.

Blue Jays: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.,  3B/DH, age 21

Positives: He’s young. He’s healthy.  He had the hardest hit ball in the MLB at 118.9 MPH.

Negatives: He’s young. He doesn’t elevate the ball.  He hit 15 HR in 464 AB.

Go ahead. Rub your eyes.

Yes, you read that correctly. 

FIFTEEN regular season home runs.

He hit 29 home runs  just in the first round of the Home Run Derby. And then of course, he ultimately lost the battle to Pete Alonso .  Which is what I like to call: Baseball.  It’s a long and beautiful season, friends. 

Please, be careful with how you spend here.  Is the power there? Yes. Is the pedigree there? Yes. But it could take a while for this talent to come into his own. It may or may not be in his second year. Low floor, huge ceiling.

Braves: Austin Riley , LF, age 23 *Updated 2/1*

I like Austin Riley . I dunno, I just DO. I can give you no real data as to why. His seasonal numbers are terrible. He batted .226 with 18 home runs and 49 RBI in 2019. He suffered a partially torn knee ligament which cost him a lot of the season, but I can’t stop thinking about how hot he was last May before opposing pitching adjusted. There’s a part of me that believes if he can make some of his own adjustments, return healthy, and learn to hit any other pitch in addition to the fastball, he could be a sleeper. Unless the Braves replace Donaldson with a big name trade, Riley could be seeing some time at third. In super deep leagues, maybe this one is worth a flyer. Cheap power in dollar days, anyone?

Astros: Yordan Alvarez , DH/LF, age 23

There simply aren’t enough superlatives to describe the rookie debut for the newest Cuban ball-player in Houston, but let me try. In 87 regular season games, he slashed .313/.412/.655 with an OPS of 1.067.   That led all 2019 rookies in on-base percentage (.412), slugging percentage (.655) and OPS (1.067), which, by the way, was the highest by a rookie since Shoeless Joe Jackson.  He won AL Rookie of the Month three months in a row on his way to unanimous AL Rookie of the Year honors.   His 27 home runs, 58 runs, and 78 RBI in roughly half a season (do that quick math for a full season…) paint the picture of a star.   He hits both right and left-handed pitching, and he hits both in and out of the zone. He hits for a ton of power without being at the Mendoza line. He isn’t a top fielder, which means he will mostly play at the DH position, but the plan is for Alvarez to see more time in the outfield this season. If you watched the post-season, you saw Alvarez struggle as he only slashed .241/.412/.655 in 18 games. He is human, after all; but the ceiling is high and the underlying skills are sound. All systems are a go for a great sophomore season.

Pirates: Bryan Reynolds , OF, age 25 *Updated 2/1*

He had a very solid debut for a player without a lot of fanfare. What I like about Bryan Reynolds is how consistent his big league numbers were with his minor league numbers. For three years he consistently hit above .300 in all levels of A ball, and he continued at the Major League level  hitting .314 in 134 games with the Pirates in the Bigs last year. I don’t see any reason why this should change, and even with some regression, I would love a top-tier .377 OBP and .880 OPS  hitter that can give me 20 homers, 80 runs, and 75 RBI in the later rounds of my draft. You guys  saw Moneyball, right?

** With the trade of Starling Marte , Pittsburgh has given Reynolds a big vote of confidence after his strong rookie debut.

Marlins: Harold Ramirez , OF, age 25

In 119 games, the 24 year old outfielder hit eleven home runs and tallied 50 RBI while batting .276. That’s not a ton of power, but then again the Marlins as a team hit a major league low 146 home runs last year and only 68 of them were at home. They have moved in two of the fences slightly, so these numbers could look a little healthier next year. He doesn’t have a starting role yet, but he is on the 40-man roster. With new additions in Jonathan Villar , Francisco Cervelli , and Corey Dickerson and with Lewis Brinson still competing for a starting role, the Miami lineup will be may look very different come spring.   Ramirez is one you can keep an eye on in very deep leagues.

Indians: Oscar Mercado , OF, age 25

Mercado got called up in May and never looked back. In 115 games played, he swiped 15 bags with 15 dingers. This guy is speedy. He also racked up 70 runs and batted in another 54. His season average ended at .269, but his BABIP suggests that will improve. His 5.8-percent walk rate needs improvement, but Mercado is a solid five-tool player with no injury history. Just be sure you draft him more for his speed than for his power.

Athletics: Seth Brown, LF, age 27

At Triple-A for Oakland in 2019, Brown’s 37 home runs, 101 runs, 104 RBI, and eight stolen bases in 112 games made him an obvious choice to be called up in September. Unfortunately, that power did not translate into the Major Leagues. In 26 Major League games, Brown batted.293 with 11 runs, 13 RBI, one stolen base, and zero home runs.  A BABIP of .423 suggests that batting average is not sustainable, and his failure to translate any power from AAA makes this age 27 sophomore someone I would rather avoid.

Phillies: Adam Haseley , OF, age 24

In 67 games with Philly, Haseley batted .266 with five homers, 30 runs, 26 RBI, and four stolen bases. He is currently projected to be the everyday center fielder in 2020, but his bat leaves something to be desired. He does have above average speed, but whether or not that will translate into the counting stats is yet to be seen.

Giants: Mike Yastrzemski , OF, age 29

Speaking of legacy talent, this one surely fits the bill. Yastremski has been kicking around the minors for a good six years now, so it’s nice to see him finally get the call. As it turns out, the wait may have been worth it. Yastrzemeski showed good power with the big club, hitting 21 home runs in 107 games while slashing .272/.334/.518. I think Grandpa Carl would be proud, but temper expectations as age and lack of power previous to a delayed big league debut suggests results may not be sustainable.

Tigers:  Christin Stewart , CF, age 26

With no power on display, no speed, and no special defensive ability, this rookie underwhelmed in his Major League debut batting .233 with 13 home runs, 43 runs, and 51 RBI in 513 plate appearances. Nevertheless, he will likely be the starting left fielder on Opening Day.  Below average exit velocity and hard hit rate don’t hint at much power promise, though a .290 batting average on balls in play hints at some improvement, albeit slight.  

White Sox: Eloy Jiménez , LF, 23

Jimenez didn’t overwhelm when he first arrived, but as time went on he certainly warmed up. Post All-Star Break, his slash line improved from .242/.303/.482 to .292/.328/.542. There’s no speed here, this is a power play for a hitter who is top eight-percent in the league in hard-hit rate and who also hits for decent average. The White Sox have made a lot of moves this off-season, including acquiring DH Edwin Encarnación . Jimenez could bat as low as sixth in the order, but last year he batted .299/.348/.636 with an OPS of .983 in 31 games from the sixth spot, so don’t let that deter you from rostering this talented youngster with a potential  40 home run season ahead.    

Reds: Nick Senzel , CF, age 25

AHHHH, if this guy can only stay away from the injury bug. Not only has it been a torn labrum, it’s also been finger surgery, elbow surgery, vertigo and even allergies.  He’s a risky pick, but if you have the tolerance, you could grab some speed and decent power. A former #2 overall pick, the batting average leaves a little to be desired, but 14 bags in 375 at-bats could be worth the gamble. Don’t overpay.

Astros: Kyle Tucker , OF, age 23

Lefty Kyle Tucker dominated in Triple A with 34 home runs, 92 runs, 97 RBI and 30 stolen bases while walking at the rate of 11-percent. That earned him a September call-up where his walk rate decreased to 5.6-percent and he had four homers, 15 runs, 11 RBI and five stolen bases in 72 plate appearances.  If it feels like you have read this story before you have; or, at least a very similar one in 2018.  The Astros have traded Jake Marisnick , who was more of a glove than a batting asset, and Tucker finally looks to have a path to more playing time.  This is a power/speed combo that doesn’t come along very often, even if it is a little streaky.

Cardinals: Dakota Hudson , SP, age 25

Hudson maximized hit elite ground ball skills, which includes the ninth-highest sinker velocity for MLB starting pitchers (94 mph), to somehow end the season with 16 wins and a 3.35 ERA. Hudson also has one of the worst strikeout percentages among starting pitchers at only seven strikeouts per nine innings and one of the league’s worst walk rates and home run to fly ball rates. In short, I don’t trust him, but somehow he keeps doing it. With both control and command issues, I can’t imagine he can continue with this fortune, and since he can’t be rostered  for strikeouts or WHIP, that’s a gamble I am not going to make.

Padres: Chris Paddack , SP, age 24

Paddack impressed by making the opening day roster for the San Diego Padres, and though he was shut down early for an innings-limit (he had never pitched more than 90 innings in the minors, and he also had previously had Tommy John surgery) the numbers are still impressive. In 141 innings pitched, Paddack had a 3.33 ERA and WHIP of only 0.98. His strikeout numbers were also near elite at 9.79 per nine innings with a 12.5-percent swinging strike rate. He possesses an elite command, and if Paddack can keep working on a third pitch to add to his  primary fastball and changeup, he could be a true Ace.

Angels: Griffin Canning , SP, age 24

Canning started strong after an April call up, but got shut down early due to elbow inflammation in August. His first half numbers paint the picture of an elite strikeout pitcher with an overall 15-percent swinging strike rate and a 22-percent swinging strike rate on his “out” pitch, a filthy slider. Command, ERA, and WHIP were also all promising through 78 innings pitched, but the lingering nature of elbow inflammation, which had him on and off the IL more than a few times during the season, is reason to give some pause.

Braves: Mike Soroka , SP, age 22

What an incredible 2019 season for Soroka who finished with a 2.68 ERA and a 13-4 record.  Soroka doesn’t have sky-high strikeout potential, and there’s not a lot of heat on his fastball, but he has an elite command level and one of MLB’s lowest exit velocities. Pitching in the NL with a competitive team giving him run support, even with some regression, you can expect good tallies for wins, ERA, and WHIP and pick up your strikeouts elsewhere.

White Sox: Dylan Cease , SP, age 24

Cease arrived with a lot of fanfare to only return a disappointing result of a 4-9 record and 5.79 ERA; however there is a lot to like here.  His fastball has speed upwards of 96 mph, his curve results in a higher then league average groundball rate, his change has good cutting action and backspin which induces a lot of fly balls, and his slider has depth.  In short, he has all the weapons, he just hasn’t quite figured out how to use them. The key to this season will simply be for him to throw fewer balls and more strikes. I think that is something he can grow into with experience, and the Chicago White Sox have certainly made enough moves to help him with run support and boost the win column, but know you may have to show some patience for this one to really pay off.

Athletics: Jesús Luzardo , SP, age 22

Luzardo appeared in relief for only twelve innings at the end of 2019, but in those twelve innings, he left no doubt that he has the stuff of the big leagues.  He picked up two saves with an era of 1.50 and 16 strikeouts, including three shutout innings of relief vs. Tampa Bay in the A’s Wild Card loss.  A lat injury held the lefty out of the starting rotating in the spring, but with an above average fastball, curve, and changeup, here’s hoping the A’s have found their bonafide ace. 

Baltimore: John Means , SP, age 27

Lefty “ace” for Baltimore gave up 1.34 home runs per nine and only struck out seven per nine, but he led the team in Wins, ERA, WHIP, and WAR.  His fastball has average velocity, and his slider doesn’t really slide, yet somehow he only gave up a 30-percent hard hit rate.  The low ERA simply can’t continue as we saw between his first half (2.60) and second half (4.65), and let’s face it, how many wins can we expect with his supporting cast?  Regression to the mean is coming in 2020.

Detroit: Spencer Turnbull , SP, age 27

Three wins, seventeen losses.   Yes. SevenTEEN.  Turnbull can generate swinging strikes, but he lacks command.  On the plus side, his fastball can hit 96 and he throws it with enough sink to induce a lot of groundballs. On the down side, he issued 59 walks had allowed a 41-perent hard hit rate.  He also got shut down multiple times last season for lat and shoulder strains. Not much to use here for Fantasy purposes.

Mariners: Yusei Kikuchi , SP, age 29

The lefty Japanese pitcher didn’t have the success we were all projecting in 2019, striking out only 6.46 batters per nine innings and surrendering an average of two home runs per game for the second worst honors in the American League. His home run to fly ball rate was an enormous 18.8-percent, and he ended the season with a 5.46 ERA, six wins, and eleven losses. The skill set just hasn’t translated yet, so until he starts to settle in, best to avoid this starting pitcher for Seattle.

Marlins: Sandy Alcantara , SP, age 24

He is not a big strikeout pitcher, but nevertheless effective despite a 6-11 record. His fastball has an above average speed and spin rate and he also has a changeup and slider that can be out pitches if only they were consistent. His 81 walks and 5.17 xFIP suggest the 3.88 ERA is unlikely to repeat in 2020. Remember, be careful of chasing ERA, especially if it will cost you in wins, strikeouts, and WHIP.

Diamondbacks: Merrill Kelly , SP, age 31

His seasonal numbers are not impressive. Kelly gave up the fifth most home runs  in the NL and ended up with a 4.42 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and a 13-14 record. However, in September he made some mechanical adjustments and in 33 innings pitched, he was able to induce an 11-percent swinging-strike rate and a 53-percent ground ball rate with an ERA of only 2.18. Of course, this is a limited sample size, but, if you purchase him at a discount based on his full-season stats for last year and the adjustment sticks, you could get a great ROI. It’s worth a late round gamble.

Astros: Josh James , RHP, age 27

James has the stuff of a starter with a fastball that hit triple digits in 2018, after his roommate told him to stop snoring.  True story.   After discovering he had sleep apnea, James’s fastball velocity and spin rate elevated to an elite level. Amazing what a good night of sleep can do for you! He also possesses a second plus-pitch in his changeup. His strikeout rate is in the top two-percent of the league while his walk rate is in the bottom six-percent. His .171 expected batting average indicates if he can master his control, he will be completely lights out. It’s yet to be seen how Houston will use him yet, but he could be a real weapon in relief even if he doesn’t start. With an unsettled rotation which includes an injury-prone Lance McCullers, two aces over 35, and two more spots potentially up for grabs in Spring Training, I imagine James will get his fair share of big opportunities in Houston.

Rays: Nick Anderson , RP, age 29

I love Anderson as a potential closer-in- waiting for Tampa Bay. His .197 expected batting average ranks in the top seven-percent of the league and his strikeout percentage is in the top one-percent. He has an elite high-spin 96 MPH fastball and an extreme low spin 83 MPH curve ball, and that is simply a brutal combo as his elite 19.3-percent swinging strike rate clearly indicates.  

Cubs: Rowan Wick , RP, age 27

In 33 innings pitched with Chicago, he logged two wins and two saves with 69 strikeouts and a 2.44 ERA. A former catcher, he is now instead hurling an 11 K/9 in high leverage situations. His fastball, which he uses 66-percent of the time, generates a 14-percent swinging strike rate, and he also possesses a slider and a good curveball that generates plenty of ground balls. His 4.32 BB/9 needs to improve, but lots to like here for someone in line for a potential closing role. Plus, according to the Chicago Sun Times, he has a self-professed secret to his success: “I’m not that smart. Because of that, if I can keep one thing on my mind, then I can focus on that one thing.” 

That one thing is: Attack mode.

Works for me, Rowan.  Works for me.