On Sunday, June 28th, Major League Baseball teams were required to reveal a list of sixty players to be included in their Club Player Pool (CPP) for the 2020 Summer Camp. Some teams have filled their entire CPP, while others are waiting until the last possible week to sort things out. This player pool can be up to sixty players deep, and each team will be required to submit a thirty-player active roster for the season by Opening Day. The active roster starts at thirty players, then will decrease to twenty-eight players after two weeks, and will subsequently decrease again to twenty-six players after another two weeks have passed by. There will be a maximum of three players from each MLB team’s CPP that will travel to away games with the team, as this group has been named the Taxi Squad.
The major caveat with utilizing Taxi Squads is that one of those three players is required to be a catcher, which could also work in favor for teams with exceptional catching depth within their system. Taxi Squads are certainly going to benefit certain teams more than others, as those will be the teams that have top prospects ready who potentially could step on the field and theoretically be at replacement level for their respective position. With the Universal Designated Hitter in play this season, positional Taxi Squad members could at the very least gain plate appearances in this role if injuries were to occur. Players that are able to make the Taxi Squad are going to be those who can be plugged directly into a Major League lineup and can be trusted to get the job done when they are eventually called upon.
With a sixty-game season looming on the horizon, many tough decisions lie ahead of fantasy managers regarding how to handle prospects who are far from guaranteed consistent playing time in 2020. Taxi Squads for each team are unlikely to be officially announced until closer to Opening Day, making roster moves and fantasy drafts fairly difficult to prepare for with so many unknowns still lurking. This theme strongly applies to the tier of prospects that by play for teams that have substantial depth throughout the entire organization, so even just being a part of the sixty-player CPP does not guarantee that a prospect will get quality development repetitions beyond the exhibition games in Summer Camp.
Though MLB teams have not yet announced their thirty-player Active Rosters, I present to you in this article a custom National League primer as to which players deserve to hitch a ride as part of their respective team’s Taxi Squad for the 2020 season. This article will be more geared toward describing players who could have potential fantasy value if called upon, but nevertheless each player for each team will be touched on. This is a lengthy article, so feel free to skip around to the teams you are interested in. Let’s take a tour around the league to examine which players are strategically better fit to fill a Taxi Squad role for their clubs this season.
National League East
C | William Contreras
Contreras isn’t exactly a candidate to become a viable fantasy producer within the next few seasons, but noting the impressiveness of his superior defensive abilities is always warranted. His defense certainly has the potential to get him to the MLB by the start of the 2021 season, but his bat is simply not ready to make the jump for this season. If Contreras can continue developing on the path that he’s been on then we will be looking at a left-handed hitting catcher that could post a .265 AVG/.350 OBP/.415 SLG line on top of boasting elite defensive abilities. If one of Travis d’Arnaud or Tyler Flowers were to go onto the IL for any period of time, William Contreras should be the next catcher up to fill a roster slot on the big league club.
RHP | Ian Anderson
If it wasn’t for Kyle Wright, Ian Anderson would be the pitcher taking over Cole Hamels’ spot in Atlanta’s starting rotation, but instead he will remain perfectly suited for the Taxi Squad. Despite his struggles last season in AAA of walking way too many batters (15.9 percent BB%) and consequently giving up the long-ball (17.2 percent HR/FB), Anderson has characteristically been a pitcher flashing above average command and nasty enough stuff to yield strike out rates north of 30 percent while also maintaining the ability to get ground balls with his sixty-grade changeup. Like most top pitching prospects with high strikeout potential, Anderson just needs to pitch smarter to not walk as many batters because this has only led to inflated ERA indicators that have no regard for what the underlying stats may say. If Ian Anderson gets a chance to pitch in the rotation, you must roster him because if he shows out then he might actually be there to stay. Watch below as he sits down Wander Franco.
OF | Drew Waters / Christian Pache
The Braves could insert one of Drew Waters or Christian Pache into a Taxi Squad role as they both provide different types of value for the team. If Pache were to be promoted to the Taxi Squad (note that he is considered Day-to-Day due to an in-game injury this past week), he is going to provide gold glove defense in the outfield and elite speed all over the field. His skill set unfortunately does not translate into a fantasy relevant value for 2020 due to the hit tool and game power not being fully developed. What is intriguing about Pache is that he possesses sixty-five-grade speed, stole thirty-two bags in A, but has only stolen seven and eight bases over the past two seasons across AA and AAA. If Pache can turn into an OBP machine by boosting his ability to take walks and use his elite speed on the base paths, then he will definitely deserve more of a look to fill a role on your fantasy roster.
Drew Waters on the other hand, is just about ready to make his offensive debut for the Atlanta Braves. Though he did not perform much better at the plate in AAA than Pache did, Waters has proven at each stop that he possesses the ability to potentially hit for a .300 AVG but has not yet shown the refinement to simply take more walks. The switch-hitting twenty-one year old could provide three category production once completely developed and inserted into the Braves’ lineup. There may be growing pains with a higher strikeout rate and not much power production to make up for it, but Waters is destined to be an above average fantasy producer if he performs when given the opportunity.
RHP | Sixto Sanchez
To start the 2020 season, Sixto Sanchez is currently not slated to be a part of Miami’s starting rotation. This is not to say that we will not see Sixto pitch in the MLB at some point this season, but the chances of seeing him the first half are not very great unless Jose Urena struggles. The most special aspect of Sixto’s game is his ability to limit walks (4.6 percent) and therefore the damage associated with those walks (1.03 WHIP). It is rare for a twenty-one year old display this level of command and stuff over all levels he has pitched at, making Sanchez one of the most intriguing pitching prospects to monitor throughout the 2020 season. If given the opportunity to compete in MLB games this season, Sixto would likely give you a very low WHIP but not elite strikeout rates, making him very useful as an innings eater and ration stabilizer pickup at some point in the season. There is a lot of change occurring over in Miami, this is a situation worth monitoring for the weeks to come.
1B | Lewin Diaz
Miami has yet to announce its complete Active Roster for this season up to this point, so Lewin Diaz still remains as one of the odd-prospects-out of the Opening Day roster. The majority of Miami fans want to see Diaz on the Active Roster for Opening Day, so we will see if the organization feels strongly enough about his fantastic Summer Camp performance thus far. Lewin has been barreling the ball very well the past couple of weeks, while proving to have a very loud hit tool and surprisingly low strikeout rates (16.7 percent). Diaz has done nothing but mash his way all of the way through AA, so it remains to be seen if the twenty-three year old phenom gets his well deserved shot in 2020. The fantasy implications of Lewin Diaz seeing playing time are fairly great, as his defense will keep him on the field while also being able to steadily produce in two-to-three categories. If given an opportunity, watch for the hot streak of homers!
Lewin Diaz homers off Caleb Smith in sim game today. 2 days earlier he hit this off Brad Boxberger.
Lewin Diaz is extremely good at baseball. pic.twitter.com/gNTCq6z1vP
— Tyler Wilson (@KingOfBuffalo) July 9, 2020
C | Chad Wallach
There isn’t any fantasy value to be had from Chad Wallach, but he is a stout veteran catcher that could benefit the development of the Marlins’ bullpen pitchers as the 2020 season rolls on.
New York Mets
SS | Andrés Giménez
Giménez is really the only prospect in the Mets’ system that could be ready to debut at some point in 2020, but there is such a small chance of that happening with Amed Rosario beginning to break out both offensively and defensively. You never know what could happen this season, so it would be smart to carry their top prospect as an emergency replacement if something were to occur to an infielder on the road. Giménez has posted wRC+ totals greater than 100 in each of the four seasons that he has been a professional, showing a bit of offensive pedigree exists to compliment his slightly above-average defense. There likely will not be a chance for Andrés Giménez to generate any sort of fantasy value in 2020, but joining the Taxi Squad would be an incredibly rewarding experience for the young shortstop.
OF | Melky Cabrera
It goes without recapping what type of fantasy production Melky Cabrera can provide if healthy and on the field, but the power has severely diminished over the past few years to the point where he is only becoming a Batting Average stabilizer. Melky would be one of the better choices to have waiting in the shadows on the Taxi Squad in case an outfielder were to go down during this sprint season. If a situation were to develop and Melky were to see regular At Bats, he is worth watching on the waiver wire in case you are in need of some Batting Average stabilization later in the season. He isn’t going to provide much more value than that, but if provided an opportunity to play we must remember that Plate Appearances are “currency” for this shortened season. Yoenis Céspedes needs a handcuff and Melky is arguably the best candidate to take over for him if an adverse situation were to develop.
C | Patrick Mazeika
There is no fantasy value to be interested in here, but Mazeika provides the highest upside bat of the remaining catchers on New York’s CPP. He will not receive a chance before Rene Rivera and company.
RHP | Spencer Howard
Spencer Howard (26th ranked Top Prospect) lies in the same category as Nate Pearson of the Blue Jays does for this season, as the Phillies are going to promote Howard to the starting rotation as soon as it makes the most sense for everyone involved. Howard will undeniably be pitching in the rotation for Philadelphia at some point this season, it just remains to be seen if it will be after seven days go by or if the Phillies really want to wait around on Zach Eflin to try and do something cool. Give us Howard, please. He has three plus pitches that can be controlled enough to keep his walk rates below 8 percent while posting a 31.1 percent K% over 30.2 IP in AA. If a top pitching prospect can tout K-BB% rates of 23-34 percent, then that is something special and is worth uncovering as soon as possible. With an NFBC ADP of 279 over the past week, it is going to get more difficult to get your shares of this prime talent. Spencer Howard is going to provide immediate fantasy value across numerous categories while most importantly posting an elite WHIP ratio (0.95) to back his skill set.
Spencer Howard, Filthy Breaking Balls. 😷 pic.twitter.com/oJeepw8hhb
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 17, 2020
3B | Alec Bohm
It is Alec Bohm’s time to shine if Scott Kingery or Jean Segura are going to have a shaky presence over at the hot corner in 2020, but until then he may remain blocked from his MLB debut for longer than fantasy managers desire. Bohm has raked at just about every level he has played at for the Phillies, posting a wRC+ greater than 145 over each of his three stops in 2019 (A, A+, AA). He belted fourteen Home Runs while slashing .269 AVG/ .344 OBP/ .500 SLG/ .377 wOBA across sixty-three games in AA last season. Bohm is a fairly refined and balanced hitter, as he hits the ball to all fields with relative ease. In AA he posted a HR/FB rate of 17.3 percent, showing that he has started to optimize his hit and raw power tools for the next level of competition. If Alec Bohm receives an opportunity to receive regular playing time at third base, it is worth adding him to your fantasy teams if your counting stats need a boost throughout the season. The power and hit tool are very loud, while his sixty-grade defense will also help to keep him on the field to earn more Plate Appearances. Don’t sleep on Bohm, pick him up as soon as you hear he has earned a starting role.
C | Deivy Grullón
No fantasy value to see here, but Grullón is proving to be a catcher than can produce above-average numbers on the offensive side of the plate. There seemed to be an all-around breakout with his hit tool and power, as he has belted twenty-one home runs each of his past two seasons in AA and AAA. This is a catcher to watch over the coming years but does not possess fantasy value for this season. Grullón may be on the rise as a serviceable fantasy catcher but only time will tell.
RHP | Wil Crowe
Wil Crowe has consistently put up exceptional statistics across every Minor League level that he has pitched at with the exception of short stints in AA and AAA. Crowe only seems to get into a lot of trouble when he posts walk rates north of 10 percent and strikeout rates south of 15 percent, as his best statistical seasons have come when he has been able to limit walks and corresponding damage that comes along with them. Getting ground balls is the name of the game for Crowe, but giving up too many home runs (11.1 percent HR/FB) has inflated his ERA indicators to the point where he gets forgotten about as a prospect. Unfortunately, Crowe is most likely not going to provide elite strikeout rates if given a chance to take the mound for Washington, but he may provide a decent floor if he can control his walks. If there is an injury in Washington’s starting rotation this season, Wil Crowe could very well be the next man up and a name you will want to keep an eye out for on the Waiver Wire.
SS | Luis García
Luis García is simply one of those prospects that you need to see play in order to understand why his potential future value is through the roof. García is already a pure hitter that hasn’t even come close to reaching his full potential as a professional. Much like Alec Bohm, Luis García has the refined ability to spray his hits all over the field while boasting a very manageable strikeout rate (15.6 percent), but he is still raw in the sense that he works very few walks each season. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing per se, but when 50 percent or more of your Batted Ball Events (BBE) are ground balls paired with a .299 BABIP then having a 3.1 percent BB% does not look super appealing. Top pitching prospects struggle with walking too many batters, while a lot of top hitting prospects like García struggle to draw enough walks to drive up their counting stats. Until García continues to refine his approach at the plate to be pickier with the pitches that he is putting into play, he likely will not reach his projected ceiling as a fantasy player. García will most likely not see any time on a Major League diamond in 2020, but if all hell breaks loose he could be the next man up to help put out any fires that the Nationals may endure.
this…*isn’t*…Juan Soto?????? Nationals prospect Luis Garcia doing one hell of an impression pic.twitter.com/BgimpmiaTM
— Céspedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) February 29, 2020
C | Tres Barrera
No fantasy value to discuss here, as Tres Barrera would simply be the next best option to fill the third catcher role on the Nationals’ Taxi Squad.
National League Central
2B/OF | Robel García
This spot on Chicago’s Taxi Squad could really go to one of either Hernán Pérez or Robel García. The Cubs definitely need to carry a position player on their Taxi Squad, and frankly, these two are their best options. Hernán Pérez is nothing flashy, but he can play solid defense and provide a ‘contact’ bat toward the bottom of the lineup if absolutely necessary (I watched him do it as a Brewer for multiple years). Pérez would provide a better ‘real-life’ value. Robel García will provide a lot more power and average upside than Pérez would, which is why he would be the desired Taxi Squad member for emergency fantasy services (…EFM…probably going to trademark that). Even so, given his 43.8 percent strikeout rate in 2019 (80 PA) there will likely not be a chance to squeeze any sort of fantasy value from García this season because of the high strikeout but low power output tendencies.
RHP | Adbert Alzolay
Adbert Alzolay is an exciting twenty-five-year-old pitching prospect who possesses two sixty-grade pitches in his fastball and curveball. If Alzolay could develop his changeup to even be just slightly above average, we are looking at a pitcher who is going to provide immense strikeout upside if the command can bloom along with it. Like most high strikeout upside pitching prospects, Alzolay has an issue walking too many hitters (15 percent BB%) which leads to a high WHIP (1.29 in AAA, 1.78 in MLB) and plenty of damage to come along with it. Even despite his control issues, making the jump from A+ to AAA in just one season and still post a league average or better ERA and FIP definitely says something. The raw talent is obviously present and just needs to be further refined with experience. It is extremely unfortunate that there will be no Minor League season played this year, as numerous budding prospects like Adbert Alzolay really need the developmental repetitions to continue progressing in a positive direction. He is the only pitcher other in Chicago’s system other than Jharel Cotton that is ready to join the Taxi Squad and compete at the highest level if called upon. Alzolay is worth keeping your eyes on and investing in Dynasty Leagues.
Will we see Adbert Alzolay back in the rotation this year?
— Cubs Talk (@NBCSCubs) March 24, 2020
C | P.J. Higgins
There isn’t any fantasy value to associate with Higgins for this season unless literally all of the Cubs’ catchers were to go onto the IL (I’m a Brewers fan but no I am not hoping for that, let’s make that clear). Higgins has improved across every level and has proven to be able to hit .280 or higher with manageable strikeout (20.7 percent) and walk rates (12.1 percent). This is a fairly refined approach for a catcher, while he also provides just a little bit of power in a full season. It is very doubtful that he will see the Major League diamond this season, but he certainly deserves a chance at some point.
C | Tyler Stephenson
Tyler Stephenson is an exceptional defensive catcher, which alone is making the case for his arrival at the MLB level for the Cincinnati Reds. This is a very exciting player to watch, almost comparable to a Jonathon Lucroy in his prime but Stephenson likely will provide an even louder offensive presence than Lucroy ever did. The defense will keep Stephenson on the field, but we may not see him until halfway through the season. If the Reds are going to compete after the first week of the season, it would be smart to bring Stephenson up to the Major League club and start to regularly get him into the lineup. He could be a serviceable fantasy catcher this season if given the necessary amount of Plate Appearances to produce a viable hit sample. If you get wind of Stephenson joining the Reds’ Active Roster at some point this season, he is worth taking a waiver wire flier on to fill a void if you drafted catchers very late this season.
OF | Aristides Aquino
There were a lot of upset individuals in the fantasy baseball realm the other night when the Reds announced that Aristides Aquino would not be joining the team’s thirty-player active roster on Opening Day. This frustration is somewhat warranted, but fans have to understand that their outfield is already stacked and jammed packed full of quality MLB players standing in this power hitter’s way. Aquino still managed to post a 119 wRC+ in 2019 while launching nineteen HR and posting a .259 AVG. The production was still legit even with the large skid that Aquino experienced toward the end of the season, which still makes him an intriguing prospect to join the Taxi Squad. This would be a very smart move by the Reds, as not adding him to the Active Roster over Mark Payton may prove to become skeptical across the league as the season wears on. Put Aquino on your watch list and invest if you need the power when and if he receives another chance this season.
RHP | José De León
It would be extremely satisfying to insert ‘Nick Lodolo’ into this segment of the article, but unfortunately he is just not quite ready to succeed at the Major League level. José De León was once a very highly touted pitching prospect when with the Rays, and now is gracing Cincinnati with his beautiful changeup. There could be fantasy value to be captured here if De León was given the opportunity to eat innings as a mid-reliever or short starter. Given the depth that the Reds possess in their bullpen, there is a good chance that De León will be the first man up to replace anyone in the bullpen that may go onto the IL this season. Being on the Taxi Squad is no joke because injuries happen and when they do, these players need to be ready to perform at the Major League Level. If called upon, De León could be worth the flier if you need ratio help but otherwise will probably remain irrelevant to fantasy this season.
1B/C | Jacob Nottingham
The Brewers have a better catching prospect available in Mario Feliciano, but he is still very young and not quite refined enough to compete at the Major League level this season. Jacob Nottingham does not provide very notable fantasy value as his hit tool has not quite caught up with his sixty-grade raw power. He did have a very successful first seven Plate Appearances for Milwaukee, but this cannot be trusted as the sample size is all too small. There very likely will not be any fantasy value associated with Nottingham this season.
RHP | Trey Supak
Trey Supak prides himself on his changeup and big curveball, but he hit some road bumps last season while posting a 9.30 ERA, 6.00 FIP, and .365 BABIP across thirty innings pitched in AAA. Supak boasts strikeout rates lower than 20 percent but has the command (6.3 percent BB%) to flat out get hitters out by any means necessary. He is not a predominate ground ball pitcher (39 percent GB%) but does a good job at living in at the top and bottom of the shadow zone to keep hitters off balance. There are very few scenarios that would lead to Supak receiving an opportunity to pitch in Milwaukee this season, but if there are multiple IL candidates then he is the next most experienced pitcher to add to the Active Roster in an emergency.
1B | Ronny Rodríguez
The story of Ronny Rodríguez goes along the lines of absolutely destroying Minor League pitching, but really struggling to find his stride at the plate in the Major Leagues. He has continued to strike out more each season that he has progressed through the Indians’ and Tigers’ farm systems and has which has suppressed his ability to fully break out as a power-hitting middle infielder. Much like Rougned Odor, the strikeouts can really weigh down a power hitter in a small sample size, so Rodriguez needs to work on reducing them. He has looked good this Summer Camp, showing off his power in Miller Park and seemingly striking out less. Rodriguez would be a nice addition to Milwaukee’s Taxi Squad this season in the event that he is needed if IL stints occur. We must still remain skeptical of Rodríguez as a reliable fantasy producer if given playing time because he has not proven to be just that throughout his time in the MLB.
The only pitch thrown in the "waste" zone (a Statcast zone classification) that was hit for a homer in 2019:
Ronny Rodriguez pic.twitter.com/PSKANa6Qv9
— Max Goldstein (@MaxSportsStudio) November 8, 2019
3B| Ke’Bryan Hayes
Ke’Bryan Hayes could be a realistic addition to the Pirate’s Active Roster at some point this season if not after seven days to avoid service time manipulation. If Colin Moran simply does not perform well enough to hold a place in the lineup, Ke’Bryan Hayes should be added to the roster right away to step in and play elite defense in the hot corner for the Pirates in 2020. Defensively he is ready, but it can be argued that his bat needs more time to develop in AAA. Since there is no Minor League season this year, Hayes still needs to receive these repetitions even if at the Major League level to continue developing his hit tool to be a viable bat in the MLB. He has proven to have the ability to hit for average but must do so at the highest levels of professional baseball to prove to the Pirates that he is ready. Keep an eye on Ke’Bryan’s status this season, as he would be worth a skeptical add later in the season.
— Pirates (@Pirates) February 24, 2019
RHP | JT Brubaker
There is not much to cover here with JT Brubaker simply because he is likely not going to provide any fantasy value this season. There is no telling how the Pirates are going to build their Taxi Squad lineup, so here is the pitcher in their system that is the most ready to potentially compete at the next level. Brubaker performed well at the AAA level while posting a 2.57 ERA, 3.96 FIP, and 18.6 percent K-BB% in 2019. Those types of numbers will get you onto a Taxi Squad and potentially a shot at a bullpen role with the big league club. If Brubaker gets a shot at some point in the season, he will be worth paying attention to if his performance translates to the MLB level.
C | Christian Kelley
There is no fantasy value here, but Christian Kelley would likely be the next best catcher to add to Pittsburgh’s Taxi Squad.
St. Louis Cardinals
3B | Nolan Gorman
The Cardinals scored big when they landed Nolan Gorman in the 2018 MLB Draft and then proceeded to trade for his High School teammate Matthew Liberatore. Nolan Gorman has massive sixty-grade power and is starting to display a hit tool that could very well let him jump another two levels in 2021 when there is a Minor League season again. Gorman is an average defender but has the projectable body to become an all-around great baseball player who could provide immense power upside in the near future. The Cardinals have very few positional prospects other than Gorman and Carlson that are ready for the MLB, so I think boosting Gorman’s confidence by adding him to the Taxi Squad would even help his development along even more. He needs the exposure to this type of environment, but will likely not get time in 2020.
OF/CIF | Dylan Carlson
Dylan Carlson is not part of the Cardinals’ currently known Active Roster, so he will be briefly covered within this segment of the article. By now everyone knows what Carlson is all about, being a switch-hitting outfielder who can spray the ball to all fields like Matt Carpenter but also clear the fence like Tyler O’Neill. Carlson has proven his pedigree across all levels in the Minor Leagues, especially in his last stop at AAA Memphis where he posted .361 AVG/ .418 OBP/ .681 SLG in seventy-nine plate appearances. He is going to provide immediate fantasy value once he is awarded consistent playing time with the Cardinals, although it appears that it may not be right off the bat on Opening Day this season. It is worth drafting Carlson this week in hopes that he will find the lineup at some point this season and provide immediate value. If he goes undrafted, beat everyone to him before it is too late.
C | José Godoy
There is no fantasy value to be found in José Godoy any time soon.
National League West
C/OF | Daulton Varsho
Daulton Varsho is a wonderful combination of hit and speed while being so versatile that he will likely find his way to the outfield sooner rather than later. With Carson Kelley manning the dish this season, we could very well see Varsho in Arizona’s outfield at some point toward the middle of this season. Varsho has been absolutely tearing it up in the Minor Leagues thus far, showing that he may have a little more power in the tank than originally thought. The best part of Varsho’s profile is his refined approach to having minimal strikeouts (13.9 percent) and being able to draw walks to get on base (9.3 percent). Daulton Varsho is currently ranked the #62 Top Prospect in the MLB, and that ranking is being fairly conservative in regard to the skill set that this guy brings to the table. Sixty-grade speed and potentially a fifty-five-grade hit tool down the road will make Varsho a fantasy study once given consistent playing time for the Diamondbacks.
OF | Josh Rojas
Over the past few seasons Josh Rojas has done nothing but perform across all levels of the Minor Leagues, but unfortunately resides in a very deep Minor League system that is very outfielder-heavy. With Kevin Cron likely being added to the Active Roster, Rojas will most likely just miss out on getting a spot. As you probably just read, Daulton Varsho will likely be moved to the outfield which will even further block the path to playing time for Josh Rojas. That is not to say that he will not provide value for the team this season as part of the Taxi Squad, but he likely will not get the opportunity to provide fantasy value unless injuries were to occur. Rojas has shown the ability to be a good all-around player that knows how to get on base at an elite level, so having him on the Taxi Squad to be the next man up in an emergency puts the Diamondbacks in better shape than a lot of teams as far as outfield depth goes.
RHP | JB Bukauskas
The Diamondbacks have very few arms in their system that would be able to step in and potentially fill a Taxi Squad role if needed, and JB Bukauskas is certainly the best one for the job in 2020. JB’s main issue is walking batters (14.2 percent) but like other top pitching prospects, he has shown the ability to flash elite strikeout rates upwards of 40 percent in AA. Bukauskas could fill a bullpen role if Arizona was in need of pitcher to fill in for an IL candidate, as he arguably has three plus pitches right now to let him compete in the MLB if completely necessary. Arizona gets to luck out by adding Varsho as the eligible catcher on the Taxi Squad, so why not play with some upside and add your top pitching prospect for the ride.
C | Elias Díaz
Elias Díaz has proved to be a serviceable catcher at the Major League level with the Pittsburgh Pirates, so it could be interesting to see him get a shot to play at Coors Field. The Rockies do not have a better catching option to add to the Taxi Squad, so they may as well choose a veteran that has the ability to come off the bench and hit the ball with some authority. He will not provide fantasy value this season, but he has in the past so always keep your eyes on the catching situation in Colorado.
OF | Yonathan Daza
Now that Brendan Rogers and company have made it through the pipeline to Colorado’s Active Roster, this allows an opening for twenty-six-year-old Yonathan Daza to occupy a spot on their Taxi Squad. Daza has proven that he can hit .300 or higher across all levels until he reached the big leagues last season. The pedigree appears to be there for the late bloomer, as the past few seasons his power and speed have arrived just in time for him to get a taste of the Majors. The Rockies are always doing funky things with their prospects, so it is probably to be expected that Daza will not see playing time unless there are injuries that warrant it. Daza seems to be a more complete player than Raimel Tapia, so there could be a chance that Daza takes that spot from him. Rockies are always going to Rockies.
RHP | Alexander Guillen
If only I could write ‘Ryan Rolison’ here, then that would be true happiness. Rolison will be moving through the Rockies system faster than most think, as he will likely get the chance to prove himself in Spring Training 2021. Alexander Guillen might be the most interesting pitcher in the Rockies’ system aside from Rolison, as he is an intimidating right-hander that racks up the strikeouts and limits his walks allowed. This is a guy that the Rockies should add to their Taxi Squad and inject into their bullpen whenever someone is faltering or has to hit the IL. It is not very often that a non-top pitching prospect can yield a 30.3 percent strikeout rate, 7 percent walk rate, and 0.93 WHIP across an entire season. Keep Guillen on your bullpen radar.
C | Keibert Ruiz
Switch-hitting catchers that can actually hit for average as professionals are very rare to find, especially if they are above average at defense as well. Keibert Ruiz is a very intriguing catcher that is going to satisfy a lot of fantasy team’s catching needs come 2021. Ruiz experienced a bit of an offensive lull following his promotion to AAA, but then got sent back down to AA where he continued to crush the ball as he did before being promoted. If one of the Dodger’s catchers were to go down with an injury then Ruiz would definitely be the next man up to fill a slot on the Active Roster. It is very likely that Ruiz will start the 2021 season with the Dodgers, but it will be difficult for him to see playing time in 2020. This could be detrimental to his development, but at least he would be involved with the Dodger pitchers throughout the season to familiarize himself for next season.
RHP | Tony Gonsolin
In an alternate universe, the Dodgers didn’t go out and get Alex Wood which would have made Gonsolin a de facto starter in this rotation by now. The fact that he hasn’t even been announced to the Opening Day roster is bizarre, but faith shall not be lost quite yet. We all know that Tony Gonsolin has the skill set to be a starter for the Dodgers in 2020, but a jammed pitching staff will again push him off to the side for yet another season. If Gonsolin is added to the Active Roster at any point, he is worth adding because Dodgeritis will always be a thing and he will get the opportunity he needs to perform. The only reason Gonsolin may not be drafted in all leagues is the convoluted nature of his path to playing time.
Twenty-one year old Keibert Ruiz is the Dodgers #2 position prospect. Smooth switch-hitting catcher, excellent receiver, and can throw the baseball. The dude can do it all. @KeibertRuiz @okc_dodgers #DodgersOnTheFarm pic.twitter.com/bfc42tYMx5
— Dodgers Player Development (@DodgerPlayerDev) July 31, 2019
OF | Terrance Gore
Terrance Gore can play solid defense and provide a pinch-runner off of the bench if necessary. He will not provide very much fantasy value if given an opportunity to play, but he could provide some stolen bases if he is being used that way on the roster. It is a long shot for him to make it to the diamond in 2020, but the speed could play up in a shortened season if he does somehow get some playing time.
San Diego Padres
LHP | MacKenzie Gore
There isn’t much to add on MacKenzie Gore that hasn’t been hammered on by the fantasy baseball community this offseason, as he will likely find himself as part of the Padres’ rotation at some point in the 2020 season. They may even opt to go with a six-man rotation and use Gore as a versatile Swiss Army knife type pitcher if he proves to be effective at the MLB level right off the bat. The Padres have a strong rotation so it is not quite as easy adding Gore to the mix as they hoped, but his pure talents will force him into their Active Roster soon enough. Gore is worth drafting near the twentieth round if you are set on pitching and can go for an upside play with some risk.
OF | Taylor Trammell
If the Padres plan on contending in 2020 then they need to try and stack their bench and Taxi Squad as deeply as they can with quality defensive prospects who have recently proven to swing the bat well. Taylor Trammell is one of these players, as his superior defensive efforts could play up in an MLB game tomorrow if absolutely necessary. His hit tool has been improving over the past couple of seasons as the speed as also started to show up on the basepaths as the Padres hoped it would. Trammell could be a fantasy stud with a lethal combination of lightning speed, gold glove defense, and a well-above-average hit tool. Unfortunately, we probably will not see him on the field this season due to a strong and deep lineup ahead of him in the pecking order.
C | Luis Torrens / Luis Campusano
Neither of these two catchers will provide any sort of fantasy value in 2020, but Campusano is going to without a doubt become San Diego’s catcher by 2022. Luis Torrens is more so the catching prospect that is ready to serve a Taxi Squad role right now, while Campusano still may be a year out from joining the Padres in any capacity. Torrens has proven to be a serviceable ‘real-life’ catcher, but will not provide any fantasy value if given a chance to play. On the other hand, Campusano is going to be a pure hitting catcher with power that can also hold his own defensively behind the dish. Already through A+ as a twenty-one year old, Campusano has proven to mash all pitching thrown his way thus far.
San Francisco Giants
C | Joey Bart
There was a lot of speculation that Joey Bart may have been the starting catcher for the Giants on Opening Day given the news that Buster Posey opted out of the 2020 season. Since the Giants are really in no position to contend for a World Series this season, there is no reason in bringing up Bart at the beginning of the season. He may see some time later in the season if San Francisco wants to give him developmental at-bats, but there is no way to know how the Giants will handle him in a shortened season with no Minor League schedule. Bart is the ultimate catching prospect that can play gold glove defense behind the plate while providing sixty-grade power offensively. The hype is real with Joey Bart and for a great reason, but we will just have to wait until 2021 to see him gain consistent playing time. When the Giants have both Joey Bart and Patrick Bailey on their Active Roster someday, they might find themselves right back in the World Series with such a strong foundation of players coming up through their system.
C Joey Bart crushed a home run to left center off LHP Andrew Suarez: pic.twitter.com/YOBDl3VVpM
— GPT (@giantsprospects) July 18, 2020
RHP | Logan Webb
Logan Webb didn’t exactly have a brilliant first cup of coffee with San Francisco in 2019, but he is doing good enough in Summer Camp that he may become their fifth starter by Opening Day. This is an intriguing situation as Webb is projected to not make the Active Roster but will likely be added before Opening Day and could potentially be starting games right off the bat. Webb possesses a very dangerous slider that helps him boast a 21.3 percent K%, which will not provide a ton of fantasy value but could be serviceable if he can lower his WHIP from last season. Refining the use of his fastball will lead to more successes with his slider, which will in turn increase his overall fantasy value. What Webb does have going for him is his ability to induce ground balls at an incredible rate (48.8 percent GB%), as this particular skill will save him from allowing too much damage after runners get on base. Webb might be worth picking up as a streamer if he has a good start or two to begin this season.
MIF | Yolmer Sánchez
There is not much fantasy value to be had from Yolmer Sánchez, but he is an experienced veteran that could be plugged into the lineup if any one of the Giants’ middle infielders were to hit the IL. Yes, Marco Luciano is a part of the sixty-player CPP, but he is entirely too young to fill a Taxi Squad role in such an abbreviated season. Look for Yolmer to be one of the players that San Francisco takes on road trips to help mentor the younger players on the squad. There is no desire for Sánchez in fantasy this season.
Be sure to tune in to RotoFanatic.com in the coming weeks to catch updated information about Taxi Squads as Active Rosters develop closer to Opening Day!
Thank you very much for reading!