In Fantasy, availability is paramount. Unfortunately, COVID-19, the same thing causing the shortened season for 2020 is also going to impact player availability — often suddenly and for an indefinite period of time. That's how this is going to work.
Under MLB's testing protocol, any player who tests positive must consent to having his name released to the public, then be symptom-free and test negative twice before returning. For players testing positive now, that means Opening Day is still a realistic possibility, though by no means a guarantee.
The number of positive cases has been growing since players first began reporting to their respective camps, and while those positives will shift to negatives in due time, other positive cases will develop as we move through draft prep and into the season. Some players have also chosen to sit out the 2020 season as a result of the pandemic, and that number will likely grow as well.
We'll be keeping track of this situation throughout camp. When a player tests positive, we'll add him to the list. When he's cleared to play again, we'll remove him. We'll also keep track of the players who've opted out.
I'm purposely keeping this space free of actionable advice because I would only be guessing. We're given so little information about the individual cases and understand so little of the process — or even the illness, still. It can vary so widely from person to person that it's unfair to set expectations for anyone. All any of us can do is take note of the names and assess our aversion to the unknown.
Positive COVID-19 tests
Not all of these players have experienced COVID-19 symptoms, but they've all turned up a positive test. Precise timetables are unavailable, but they'll need two negative tests at least 24 hours apart to return. Recently returnees include Freddie Freeman, Charlie Blackmon, DJ LeMahieu, Yoan Moncada, Jesus Luzardo, Miguel Sano, Eduardo Rodriguez, Scott Kingery, Luis Urias and Ryan O'Hearn.
- Austin Meadows, OF, TB
- Aroldis Chapman, RP, NYY
- Hunter Dozier, 3B/OF, KC
- Will Smith, RP, ATL
- Yasiel Puig, OF, free agent
- Willians Astudillo, C, MIN
- Jorge Mateo, SS, SD
- Daniel Norris, SP, DET
These players have already said they won't be participating in 2020, so you can remove them from your draft boards entirely.