Fantasy Baseball

2020 Fantasy Baseball Opt-Out Tracker

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After months of negotiations and Twitter wars, Major League Baseball will officially begin on July 23. The 60-game schedule instituted by Commissioner Rob Manfred will be released Monday at 6:00 PM. As more players choose not to play this season, we will update the 2020 Fantasy Baseball Opt-Out Tracker and briefly analyze the resulting Fantasy ripple.

Playing amidst a global pandemic has greatly affected what the 2020 season will look like. Many players are choosing to opt-out of the season for safety reasons. As more dominoes fall and more positive COVID-19 tests roll in, Fantasy players are waiting on the league’s best player to make his decision.

The season is scheduled to start on July 23rd and the MLB is still fumbling the simplest tasks in the safety protocol. As more problems arise, expect more players to opt-out of the season. Some of you may not want to deal with fantasy. If you want to get in on the action place some bets using the links at betting in NY.

2020 Fantasy Baseball Opt-Out Tracker

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Arizona Diamondbacks

Mike Leake, SP

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At best, Leake was battling for the fifth spot in the Arizona rotation with Merrill Kelly. With Leake opting out of the season, Kelly has a clear path to a rotation spot. The 31-year-old finished last season with a 4.42 ERA in 183 .1 innings pitched. Kelly will not be a Fantasy relevant player barring drastic improvement in his second MLB season.

Atlanta Braves

Felix Hernandez, SP

The King will not play in the 2020 season, meaning Sean Newcomb will likely take his spot in the Braves rotation. The 27-year-old had an up-and-down 2019. He was moved to the bullpen after his third start in which he allowed four runs in 1.1 innings. He became on the Atlanta’s most trusted relievers from that point on, finishing the year with a 3.04 ERA and 9.62 K/9 out of the bullpen.

Newcomb has the potential to be a high-strikeout option but struggles continue to struggle with his control, holding a carer 4.75  BB/9 as a starter. Until he shows he can consistently find the strike zone, owners should not take the risk on Newcomb in the draft.

Nick Markakis, OF

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The veteran outfielder opted out of the season on Monday, leaving a spot open for Austin Riley. The 23-year-old was likely to play as the DH but now will be assured playing time. He came out on fire last season, hitting 14 home runs in his first 42 games before slumping and being benched in the second half. If Freddie Freeman is physically unable to play following his positive COVID-19 test, more playing time will be available to Riley and power-hitting outfielder Adam Duvall.

Colorado Rockies

Ian Desmond, OF

Desmond was unlikely to have a full-time role in the Rockies lineup but his absence will definitely free up at-bats for younger players like Garrett Hampson and Sam Hilliard.

Hampson slashed .318/.368/.534 with five home runs and nine steals in the finals 23 games of last season while Hilliard tore up the minors and the majors in his short stint in 2019. The outfielder hit 35 home runs and stole 22 bases in 126 games in Triple-A. The 26-year-old hit another seven in 27 games with the Rockies and could be a breakout star if given an everyday role this year.

Los Angeles Dodgers

David Price, SP

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Price opting out could open the door for plenty of value on a good Dodgers team. The two most likely candidates to fill Price’s spot in the rotation are Ross Stripling and Dustin May. Stripling is usually an injury replacement but would fill in nicely as a starter. The 30-year old posted a 3.60 ERA in 70 innings as a starter last season.

May is one of the Dodgers’ top prospects and pitched well in his short stint last year. The 22-year-old posted aa 3.63 ERA and a minuscule 1.30 BB/9 in 34.2 innings.

San Francisco Giants

Buster Posey, C

The Giants’ former MVP, Rookie of the Year, and six-time all-star has opted out of the 2020 season after he and his wife adopted twin girls. Posey has not been his former self at the dish in recent years, hitting just .257 last season with seven home runs and 38 RBI.

Without the three-time World Series Champion, San Francisco has few experienced options to turn to. Roster Resource lists Rob Brantly and Tyler Heineman has the current catching options without Posey, neither of whom would be Fantasy relevant.

Fortunately, the Giants have Joey Bart, the 2018 No.2 overall pick, waiting in the wings. The 23-year-old slashed .316/.368/.544 in his first taste of Double-A and would immediately be worthy of Fantasy attention if he wins the job.

St. Louis Cardinals

Jordan Hicks, RP

The 23-year old fireball will opt out of the shortened season to further recover from Tommy John surgery and to prevent any health complications due to his Type-1 Diabetes.

Giovanny Gallegos is the likely closer without Hicks on the roster, provided he is able to deal with his travel issues. He was excellent in 66 games last season, posting a 2.31 ERA and elite 5.81 K/BB ratio. If Gallegos is unable to play, the Cardinals can slide Andrew Miller into the role. The two-time all0star struggled to a 4.45 ERA in his first year with the Cardinals but still has the pedigree and experience to start the year as closer if Gallegos is unable to pitch.

Washington Nationals

Ryan Zimmerman, 1B

Howie Kendrick and Eric Thames should now get a full season of at-bats with Zimmerman out for the season. Kendrick will be an excellent source of average and runs while Thames should provide big power numbers against right-handed pitching.

Joe Ross, SP

With Ross out of the running for the fifth rotation spot the Nationals 2018 first-round pick Erick Fedde will likely be a full-time starter. He was not good in 2019, finishing with a 4.50 ERA with a miserable 1.24 K/BB ratio.

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Welington Castillo, C

Castillo was unlikely to see many at-bats, but his absence means that Yan Gomes and Kurt Suzuki will continue to split time behind the plate, with the Brazilian getting the heavier share of the work.


For more Fantasy Baseball, make sure to check out the 2020 Draft Kit.

About Jonathan Chan

Winning fantasy leagues since 2004. Losing them for much longer. Follow Jonathan on twitter @jchan_811 and he'll be ready for all your questions!

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