In just over two weeks the 2020 MLB season will begin. It will be a 60 game season, but a season filled with uncertainty.
With COVID cases on the rise around the country, no one knows how this will impact the MLB season.
Teams are allowed to have 60 players in spring training 2.0 and will start the season with 30 man rosters.
There are certain to be cases that will come up with every team, where a player or two will test positive for COVID and be quarantined for 14 days.
Even with all the precautions and the testing that MLB will be doing, players will test positive for COVID.
Although no team wants to lose a key player for a minimum of two weeks, the Rays are one of the teams that have built a roster to withstand losing a player or two.
Their pitching depth is one of the best in MLB, and the versatility of the players on the roster will help them get through this 60 game season.
What rookies on the 60 man roster may have a chance at possibly seeing their first games in a Rays uniform?
Three players have a very good possibility of landing in Tampa this season.
Shortstop Wander Franco, pitcher Shane McClanahan, and outfielder Randy Arozarena.
Before spring training 1.0 shut down on March 12th, there was already idle chatter that Franco would make his Rays debut sometime late in the 2020 season.
Franco is in Port Charlotte for summer camp and will be playing intra-squad games which will greatly benefit him.
The 19-year-old sensation has been voted by numerous publications as the number one prospect in baseball.
Franco is in a tough spot as the Rays are loaded in the infield with Brandon Lowe, Yandy Diaz, Joey Wendle, Daniel Robertson, and Wily Adames. All have arrived in Tampa within the last couple of years. The team also acquired Jose Martinez from the Cardinals in the off-season.
There was talk of possibly moving Adames to third, so Franco could play short. That would give Diaz the ability to fill in at DH, first base and third.
Manager Kevin Cash talked about Franco in spring training “He has all the tools that people talk about. He’s fast, he has a great arm. You can see that he has a knack for making contact and a knack to hit them a long way. We haven’t seen all of that yet, but just in his little practice and pregame routine, you can tell that he has a chance to be a special player.”
Look for Franco to make his Rays debut at some point this season.
Pitcher Shane McClanahan is another rookie that has a chance of making his debut this season.
This season going to put a lot of stress on the pitching staff so depth will be very important.
McClanahan, one of the team’s top five prospects coming into the season impressed everyone during the abbreviated spring training.
A homegrown product from USF. Mclanahan has a fastball that will hit 100 MPH on occasion and also a very good breaking ball.
McClanahan will probably be used as a lefty out of the bullpen if needed and could also be used as an opener if the Rays deploy that strategy this season.
Outfielder Randy Arozarena acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals during the off-season could see some at-bats this season.
Arozarena has 20 big league at-bats but is still considered a rookie.
He was scheduled to open the season at Durham but will be part of the Rays summer development camp at Port Charlotte.
The Rays are loaded in the outfield with Keirmaier, Meadows, Hunter Renfroe, Manny Margot, and Yoshi Tsutsugo.
Arozarena is very versatile defensively so he could be used in a variety of ways.