The 2020 season should be a very exciting season for rookie bats, as expanded rosters and lack of minor leagues should get prospects more time with the big club. While we always have an abundance of talent coming up each season, 2020 feels particularly deep. In this article, we’ll break down rookie at each position to consider when drafting your team over the next couple of weeks.
Daulton Varsho, Arizona Diamondbacks
Varsho has made the 60 man roster but still isn’t on the 40-man roster for the shortened season. . What makes him interesting is that the D-Backs were also having him get some reps out in the outfield, meaning he should enter the majors with dual eligibility at catcher and the outfield.
Last season in Triple-A, Varsho slashed .301/.378/.520 with 18 home runs 58 RBI and 21 stolen bases. Getting a catcher that steals bases is a very rare breed, let alone with some pop in his bat as well. Believe me, while it looks like Varsho doesn’t have a clear path to playing time because of all the logjams in the outfield and behind the plate, the D-Backs will figure out a way to get this bat in the lineup.
Bobby Bradley, Cleveland Indians
Believe it or not, first base is not a strong position for rookies in 2020. Bradley is likely the best of the bunch and most likely to see time in the majors, although that path is not currently clear. He was up with the big club for 15 games last season and slashed an unimpressive .178/.245/.356 with a home run and four RBI through 49 plate appearances. As it stands, Carlos Santana will be manning first base once again, blocking Bradley for playing with the big club.
Bradley is not someone I’m looking to take in a draft but he’s someone to keep in mind down the road. The Indians could turn into sellers if they get off to a slow start, as Francisco Lindor has been the subject to trade rumors for months. While we haven’t heard much of anything in terms of trading Santana, he’s set to make $17.5 million over the next two seasons until becoming a free agent in 2022. He could be a tough player to move at the deadline if the Indians became sellers.
Gavin Lux, Los Angeles Dodgers
Lux is someone I’m VERY excited about, as he’s set to become the Dodgers’ starting second baseman. He shot through the Dodgers minor league system like a cannon and between Double and Triple-A last season, slashed .347/.421/.607 with 26 home runs, 76 RBI and 10 stolen bases in 113 games. The 22-year old has received all the hype you can imagine and has started off Spring Training strong, all but solidifying his role as their everyday second baseman.
Through a full season, it’s not crazy to think that Lux can’t hit for 20+ home runs, swipe 15+ bases and hit for a high average. Overall, second base is a tough position to fill if you miss out on the elite names like Gleyber Torres, Jose Altuve or Ozzie Albies. Lux is a fantastic “back up” plan that will help excel in a number of different categories.
Carter Kieboom, Washington Nationals
Set to see time this season with Anthony Rendon and Ryan Zimmerman gone and the DH in play, Kieboom can make an impact in 2020. He’s an extremely patient hitter who had a 13.8 BB% through 109 games in Triple-A last season. Overall, he slashed .303/.409/.493 with 16 home runs, 79 RBI and five stolen bases. While he doesn’t boast huge power, he will likely score a ton of runs with how well he gets on base. He’ll hit for average and occasionally swipe a big, although it’s not been a huge part of his game.
Kieboom could end up moving around the infield during the season, potentially earning him multi-position eligibility. As it stands, Howie Kendrick is set to play second, but could end up with the majority of DH at bats, while Eric Thames will be manning first base. It’s not out of the question that Kieboom could play all of these positions at some point, along with DH. Getting a player with multiple positions is such an added bonus, especially when you consider how he can contribute in multiple categories as well.
Wander Franco, Tampa Bay Rays
He’s only 19 years old but we have a legitimate chance of seeing Franco up in the big club this season. In his stint in A ball, he slashed .339/.408/.464 with three home runs, 24 RBI and 40 runs scored through 52 games. He has some great speed and swiped 14 bases in a different stint in A ball in 62 games.
The Rays love using their youth and continue to implement that throughout the years. They’ve been aggressive with prospects before so if he continues to mash like he has already, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him get at bats this season.
Luis Robert, Chicago White Sox
The White Sox are ready to hand over the starting center field job to Robert and we couldn’t be more excited. The White Sox are going to be a very competitive team this season and Robert is going to bring quite the dynamic to what should be an impressive White Sox lineup. Through three levels of the minors last season, Robert slashed .328/.376/.624 with 32 home runs, 92 RBI, 36 stolen bases and 108 scored in 122 games. If the White Sox let him run on the base paths, his ceiling will be sky high.
Robert is projected to be the White Sox leadoff hitter with Tim Anderson and Jose Abreu directly behind him. With those two bats more than capable of knocking him in, his stolen base and runs could be through the roof. His only potential downfall could be how aggressive he can be at the plate. He swings freely, which isn’t always a bad thing but it can limit his walks and lead to cold streaks. At such a young age, as he’ll open the season at the age of 22, he still has a lot of time to develop and improve that aspect of his game. Nonetheless, he’ll provide in all categories and is a must target in your drafts.