Admittedly, it sounds pretty dumb to do things like, "if the playoffs started today," when we've only seen a few weeks of play, but this Major League Baseball season is only going to provide 60 games, at most, in the regular season. As such, looking at where things stand when some teams have played 20 games (1/3 of the season) isn't that out of the box.
If the playoffs started right now, there would be three major upsets of teams getting in. The Marlins would win the NL East. The Tigers would be in the five-hole in the AL while the Orioles would grab the first AL wild card, which is the seven seed. Those three teams were pretty widely regarded as the worst three teams in baseball before the season started.
Let's focus on the Orioles and Tigers due to their high-level prospects on the taxi squad.
This isn't the time to be conservative. In a 60-game sprint, we're already seeing all bets are off. Be aggressive. Go for it.
The Tigers have some stud pitching prospects on the taxi squad.
Casey Mize was the number one overall pick out of Auburn in 2018. He was dominant in Class A-Advanced and very good in Double-A last season.
Matt Manning, a 2016 first-round pick, was 11-5 with a 2.56 ERA and 148 strikeouts in 133 2/3 Double-A innings last year.
Both are high-level, high-upside arms who could end up frontline starters. They are in their early 20s and there's really no need for any kind of limit with such a short season. Bring them up and let them show their stuff.
Here are the ERAs of the Tigers' current rotation: 2.00, 5.74, 6.35, 7.36, 10.24. There are spots for Mize and Manning to get a shot. C'mon, Tigers. Do it!
The Orioles have the top catching prospect in the game in Adley Rutschman. The number one overall pick last year, many scouts thought he was close to big-league ready out of college. He only has 37 professional games under his belt and has never been higher than Class A, so it's not nearly as much a no-brainer to me as the Tigers' situation, but I really don't feel like it could hurt anything to give him a shot. His last year at Oregon State he hit .411/.575/.751 with twice as many walks as strikeouts (76 to 38). If the argument is that he wouldn't yet be equipped to catch big-league pitchers, OK, use him as the DH. What do you have to lose? Is it really that important to keep running Chris Davis out there?
They also could give a look to right-handed starting pitcher Grayson Rodriguez, who has an electric arm and struck out 129 batters in 94 innings at Class A last season. Why not try him instead of Wade LeBlanc?
It's a crazy season. Weird things are going to happen. The Tigers and Orioles are in playoff position. You wanna get nuts? Let's get nuts! Bring up the kids. Please.