We are living in unprecedented times, a once in a century event has altered us, changing almost every dynamic in our daily lives. Yet in the not too far off distance, a glimmer of hope has reemerged: Baseball! Yes, it has been torturous to see both sides bicker over money this last month, but with MLB games on the horizon, the symbolism of returning to some small sliver of normality...should get our hearts pumping a bit.
Below are some of the details of what the 60 game season will look like. Players will start reporting on July 1st, with the season expected to kick off sometime around July 23 or 24th. According to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand:
For the vast majority of teams, Spring Training 2.0 will be held in the clubs' Major League ballparks, as recent spikes of the coronavirus in both Florida and Arizona caused all 30 spring facilities to be shut down for deep cleaning.
Pitchers and catchers will report first, followed by position players. Teams will be allowed to invite 60 players to big league camp, with only those players eligible to play during the season. Each team's 60-man list must be submitted by Sunday afternoon. Teams will have the ability to send up to 20 players who are not on the 40-man roster to an alternate site.
The designated-hitter rule will be used in both leagues in 2020, part of the league's health and safety protocols for this season.
Several other rules will be instituted during this shortened season:
• Teams will open the season with a 30-man active roster; it will be reduced to 28 players after two weeks, then to 26 after four weeks.
• The Trade Deadline will be Aug. 31.
• To be eligible for the postseason, a player must be added to the Major League roster by Sept. 15.
• Teams will be permitted to carry up to three taxi-squad players on the road during the season, though if a team carries three such players, one must be a catcher.
• During extra-inning games in the regular season, each half-inning will begin with a runner on second base. The batter who made the final out in the previous inning (or a pinch-runner for that batter) would be that runner.
• There will be a 10-day injured list for both pitchers and hitters, though the 60-day IL will be reduced to a 45-day IL.
• There will be a separate IL for players who either test positive or have symptoms/confirmed exposure to COVID-19. There is no maximum or minimum days for this IL.
• MLB's transaction freeze, which has been in place since the season was suspended, will end on Friday at 12 p.m. ET.
• In addition to COVID-19 testing every other day, some other health precautions are as follows: Team personnel and players not likely to participate in the game (for example, the next day's starting pitcher) will be sitting in the stands or another area designated by the club, at least six feet apart; non-playing personnel will wear masks in dugout and bullpen at all times; no spitting or chewing tobacco (gum is permitted); no celebratory contact (high-fives, fist bumps, hugs, etc.).
At Fantistics, for those who are yet to draft, we've updated the Draft Advisory software to reflect a 60 game season. Members can log in and download the latest Draft Advisory Program. We will be starting our Spring Training II daily updates on July 11th. Stay tuned!