Whenever the 2020 season begins, roster expansion is a given, perhaps to as many as 30 players. Or perhaps even more.
Naturally, most Fantasy Baseballers are hoping for prospects to fill these spots, but which ones?
For each team, I've identified a plausible roster expansion candidate who would be of some interest to Fantasy players. You'll note that some aren't so interesting, really, but that's kind of the point. To shorthand the process, I've assigned each a "potential 2020 impact" rating.
I've also expanded my definition of "prospect" just to make for more interesting picks. Some of these players have technically exhausted their rookie eligibility, but they likely would have been ticketed for the minors if the season had begun as scheduled.
Note: All stat lines represent a player's minor-league production in 2019.
Kevin Cron DH
ARI Arizona • #32 • Age: 28
With Josh Rojas seemingly trending toward a super utility job anyway, the more obvious beneficiary is Kevin Cron, who is at a make-or-break point in his career and could supplement at first or third base.
Kyle Wright SP
ATL Atlanta • #30 • Age: 25
The fifth overall pick in the 2017 draft had a bumpy start to 2019 but a strong finish and was looking good in spring training.
BAL Baltimore • #6 • Age: 24
Roster expansion would leave the lowly Orioles without an excuse to delay the arrival of a guy who's obviously ready, especially since he's capable of playing all four corner spots.
Bobby Dalbec 1B
BOS Boston • #29 • Age: 25
While third base is accounted for, the slugging Dalbec is ready jump into the first base mix, especially after a big reduction in strikeouts last year.
Nico Hoerner 2B
CHC Chi. Cubs • #2 • Age: 23
Hoerner already showed he could handle a big-league role while filling in for an injured Javier Baez late last year, and Jason Kipnis was never likely to be more than a stopgap measure at second base.
CHW Chi. White Sox • #1 • Age: 24
Should be a no-brainer given that Madrigal was already competing for the starting second base job and almost can't fail given how little he strikes out. Hopefully, he'll keep running in the majors, too.
CIN Cincinnati • #44 • Age: 26
Aquino certainly earned his place with 19 homers in 56 games following his call-up last year, but some offseason additions made him likely the odd man out back when rosters were expected to be only 26 deep.
CLE Cleveland • #44 • Age: 24
Limited defensively and vulnerable to the strikeout, Bradley nonetheless has little to gain by returning to Triple-A and offers another option for a team full of questionable bats.
COL Colorado • #7 • Age: 24
The top prospect will have presumably recovered from shoulder surgery by the time the season is ready to start and will add to the clutter created by fellow up-and-comers Ryan McMahon, Garrett Hampson and Sam Hilliard.
ATL Atlanta • #50 • Age: 26
Demeritte never saw a game in the Tigers minor-league system after coming over from the Braves in the Shane Greene trade, and it's becoming obvious they'll have room for him this time around, too.
HOU Houston • #31 • Age: 24
It'll take an injury for Toro to earn significant playing time, but if the Astros were willing to turn to him when Carlos Correa went down last year, he figures to be one of the top choices to bolster the bench now.
KC Kansas City • #55 • Age: 25
None of the Royals' big four starting pitcher prospects is so close to ready that a rebuilding club could justify beginning the service time clock, so let's go with a reliever who could possibly factor into new manager Mike Matheny's closer mix.
Taylor Ward RF
LAA L.A. Angels • #3 • Age: 27
In what might be his last, best chance to prove he's not just a Quadruple-A player, the converted catcher will try to wrangle at-bats away from Brian Goodwin in right field and Albert Pujols at first base.
Dustin May SP
LAD L.A. Dodgers • #85 • Age: 23
It seemed ridiculous that the Dodgers wouldn't have a spot for May, as good as he was for them down the stretch last year, and the same can be said for Tony Gonsolin. They may be piggybacking Julio Urias and Alex Wood now to begin the season.
MIA Miami • #4 • Age: 25
Harrison was having a big spring, having already stolen six bases with a high OBP, and since he's already 24, the rebuilding Marlins might decide now is a logical time to break him in, despite his persistent strikeout issues.
Luis Urias 3B
MIL Milwaukee • #2 • Age: 23
Kind of cheating here since it seemed like Luis Urias would have the starting shortstop job anyway once he recovered from a broken hamate bone, but now there would clearly be room for both him and Orlando Arcia.
Brent Rooker RF
MIN Minnesota • #50 • Age: 26
Rooker's prospect stock has slipped just enough that the Twins probably wouldn't mind starting his service time clock just to bolster their bench, especially given the way he took off after returning from a wrist injury last June.
Tim Tebow LF
NYM N.Y. Mets • #85 • Age: 33
Look, some teams just don't have any good candidates, and if there was ever a time for such a publicity stunt, it would be with the supersized rosters.
NYY N.Y. Yankees • #77 • Age: 26
At last check, Clint Frazier's new timing mechanism had him poised to claim a roster spot anyway, but now that Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are both expected to be healthy, he probably doesn't make it without the expansion.
Seth Brown 1B
OAK Oakland • #15 • Age: 28
Brown was actually part of a left field platoon down the stretch last season and performed fine, albeit without a single home run, but a return to health for several this offseason meant the Athletics wouldn't have had a spot for him.
PHI Philadelphia • #48 • Age: 24
Phillies general manager Matt Klentak is already on record saying he expects Howard to pitch meaningful innings this year, and with a shorter schedule, they won't need to safeguard those innings so much at the start, making the righty a reasonable choice to claim the fifth spot right away.
PIT Pittsburgh • #13 • Age: 24
While his best tool will always be his sure-handedness at third base (no clue why he's listed as a left fielder here), Hayes' bat may play better in the majors, and it's not like the Pirates need to see any more from Colin Moran.
STL St. Louis • #3 • Age: 22
Dylan Carlson may well have won the left field job anyway, but the combination of expanded rosters and a universal DH makes him almost a shoo-in as long as he doesn't look overmatched in the second spring training.
Ty France DH
SEA Seattle • #23 • Age: 26
It's fair to assume France's numbers last year were inflated by the juiced ball-infused PCL, but it's also fair to assume he gains nothing from going back there and could help push Jurickson Profar at second base.
Jaylin Davis RF
SF San Francisco • #49 • Age: 26
Davis strikes me as more of a Quadruple-A type, but it's all the more reason why a rebuilding club like the Giants could justify adding him to their major-league roster, especially since he already saw a little bit of time there last year.
Justin Dunn SP
SEA Seattle • #35 • Age: 25
Expanded rosters would not only open up a spot for Dunn but would also make him a candidate for the sixth spot in the sort of rotation that could become commonplace with a condensed schedule.
TB Tampa Bay • #56 • Age: 26
The Rays might be the team with the most interesting roster expansion candidates, including starting pitcher Brendan McKay and first baseman Nate Lowe, but Arozarena was one of the early headliners of spring training and would fit into their existing platoon plans.
Sam Travis 1B
SEA Seattle • Age: 27
Ronald Guzman faltering at first base wouldn't be such a bad thing if it provided a clearer path for Nick Solak getting everyday at-bats, but introducing Travis as a platoon partner might make sense in the meantime.
Nate Pearson RP
TOR Toronto • #24 • Age: 24
Though he was the talk of spring training, the need to manage Pearson's innings made a midseason call-up more likely, but now that those innings will stretch further over a shorter schedule, a rotation spot is his for the taking.
Wil Crowe SP
PIT Pittsburgh • Age: 26
Like the Mets, the Nationals are short on interesting candidates, but Crowe is at a make-or-break age and could stand to have some hands-on learning in long relief.