One of the common concerns about having a shorter ramp-up period than a traditional Spring Training to restart the season was teams being able to build up starters and not have to tax their bullpen. Bob Nightengale reports that Major League Baseball will allow their 30 teams to carry three extra players on the active roster during the first month of the regular season.
When #MLB is able to start their season, teams are expected to expand their rosters from 26 players to 29 players the first month they begin playing games.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) March 27, 2020
I’m not sure how teams will utilize this, but I would think we’re likely to see them carry 15 pitchers and 14 position players during this period. We don’t know if the temporary expansion of the roster comes with position limits like the original 26-man roster had, but I would not be surprised if they exist. Having extra pitchers in the bullpen, especially pitchers that can eat up innings, will give teams options to prevent burning their back-end relievers. The Diamondbacks in particular have the flexibility to handle such a situation with a handful of relievers projected in their bullpen who can give the team length and have a multitude of MLB-ready starting pitchers to call upon from Reno if necessary.
So which players stand to benefit from the temporary roster expansion? From the position player group, players such as Trayce Thompson and Kevin Cron would allow the team to carry a right-handed bat off the bench that the previous roster crunch might have prevented them from doing. The team stands to benefit more from their pitching depth. The team can call upon arms such as Taylor Clarke, Joel Payamps, Jon Duplantier, Taylor Widener, Bo Takahashi, Emilio Vargas, and Riley Smith from their 40-man roster to help eat up innings for the bullpen.