With the recent news of the return of Major League Baseball many players, fans, and media are excited for the game to be back. While it’s great for the sport amid the pandemic, the Minor Leagues may not as questions still arise among this unusual season.
While there hasn’t been any indication of what is going to happen to the Minor Leagues this year while the world is facing the crisis of COVID-19, many can guess that it isn’t going to look good. With the information already coming out from the league that teams will carry a pool of 60 players, half of which will serve as a taxi squad, that already is leaving room to assume that there will be no minor league season for the other numerous amount of players in each system. In addition to limiting the number of players on each team to 60, roster size will also become an important issue as teams will be allowed to carry only 30 players on their big league roster for the first two weeks of the season.
After the two weeks, teams will have to make hard choices as the rosters will be cut down to 28 on the 15th day of the season and then to 26 only two weeks after that. This is definitely unusual as we will witness all teams discussing who will be on their roster and who they think can contribute the most in this shortened season. This almost feels like an extended Spring Training as teams usually don’t have to about making cuts until the end of training and the start of Opening Day. But this isn’t normal, as teams will be making crucial roster moves while they are adjusting from playing in a marathon season to a sprint.
While teams are used to making qthese moves if players are hurt or some type of emergency comes up, with the strong possibility of not having a minor league season, this can definitely hurt teams and the players in their systems. Teams will have a harder time gauging players that are borderline between staying in the minors or getting the call up as they are not getting any playing time. This is of course not a knock on any one particular player, however, in a sport that wants to show premium talent and teams looking for any significant moment by a player, they’re answer could have came from a player not on their roster and not showcasing their abilities in the minor leagues.
As mentioned before, this season will look completely different from ones in the past and will count as a season nonetheless. However, with the possible abandonment of the minor leagues, fringe type players will certainly have to prove themselves even more with many of them being left wondering what may have happened if things were different. If a player is cut, there is no minor league team to send him too, and nowhere he can prove himself to coaches and fans that he needs a second look at. Yes, baseball is back and will certainly look different, however, dreams of players will be cut just short of making it and won’t have the chance to prove themselves.