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When the 2020 season begins, things are going to look very different in the minor leagues. Most people around the game are of the view that there will not be a minor league season as we know it in 2020. And when the major leagues start up again, likely to empty stadiums, the teams are expected to have an expanded reserve roster with up to 60 players on the combined active roster and reserve roster (or “taxi squad”). So who will the Blue Jays have on their “taxi squad”?
Well, let’s look at the active roster and what it stands to be. Pitching-wise, you’ll have your starting rotation of Hyun Jin Ryu, Chase Anderson, Tanner Roark, Matt Shoemaker and Trent Thornton with Ken Giles, Jordan Romano, Sam Gaviglio, Wilmer Font, Rafael Dolis, Anthony Bass, Ryan Borucki and Shun Yamaguchi in the ‘pen.
You’ve got two catchers in Danny Jansen and Reese McGuire, infielders Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, Rowdy Tellez, Travis Shaw, Brandon Drury, Joe Panik and Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and you’ll have four outfielders, likely including Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Randal Grichuk, Teoscar Hernandez and Derek Fisher.
That gives us a 26-man active roster.
I have also seen info that the active roster would be expanded by a few players in the early weeks of the season, but it’s not really that important for these purposes.
Also on the 40-man roster: Yennsy Diaz (who’s on the 60-day injured list), Thomas Hatch, Anthony Kay, Elvis Luciano, Julian Merryweather, Patrick Murphy, Thomas Pannone, Hector Perez, Sean Reid-Foley, Jacob Waguespack and T.J. Zeuch. That brings us to 37 players.
Let’s assume that Diaz’s roster status will change before action gets under way. That gives us 19 players to select for the taxi squad. I think the Jays will probably look for guys who could step into the major league roster if neccesary, but, more importantly, guys who would likely benefit from the work that will likely occur before any Fall League takes place (whether it’s a competitive fall league or an instructional league).
So let’s say that of the 19 remaining spots, we’ll have 8 pitchers and 11 position players mainly because there are way more guys extra guys on the 40-man who are pitchers.
The first on my list is, of course, Nate Pearson, the closest guy to the majors who isn’t on the 40-man roster. Other pitchers I would consider: Travis Bergen, Kirby Snead, Ty Tice, Zach Jackson, Bryan Baker, Jackson McClelland. I can see Baker and McClelland not getting the call if we include the minor league vets like Aumont, Cole, Dull and Miller. I could also see Joey Murray getting the call as a dark horse candidate.
If push comes to shove and I have to cull the list to just eight, I’d go Pearson, Bergen, Snead, Tice, Jackson, Cole, Miller, Aumont.
For position players, you need at least a couple of catchers, so I’d probably take Riley Adams and Alejandro Kirk. On the infield, I’d have Patrick Kivlehan, Andy Burns, Ruben Tejada, Kevin Smith, Kevin Vicuna and Logan Warmoth. In the outfield, I’d bring Forrest Wall, and Josh Palacios.
Wait. Have you noticed I’ve skewed the taxi squad more heavily to infielders? That’s true because the Jays have so many outfielders on their 40-man, with Anthony Alford, Billy McKinney and Jonathan Davis not making my active roster, we already have three guys there.
If you’re perceptive, you’ll also have noticed that I only 59 players on my roster. So who gets spot #60? I’m saving it for Austin Martin. What, you say? If the complex in Florida is shut down and none of the minor leaguers are getting any work except for the folks who are getting practice time in with the taxi squad, I’d get Martin onto the taxi squad and have him working out with major or high-minor league coaching.
So there’s my 60-man roster for abbreviated season purposes. Who would you pick?
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