First Pitch: A Look at Possibilities to Make Up for Lost Development Time

I had something about the baseball negotiations already written up and scheduled when breaking news came down late about planning the season, so I had to erase that article and come up with a filler. Earlier in the day I was reading an article from Baseball America that many will find interesting. They take a deep look at the possibilities for making up the lost development time for minor league players.

BA looks at the possibilities of an extended Arizona Fall League, where each team has their own affiliate in the league. Nothing has even come close to being decided for the AFL, but it is a good thought and would allow many players to face the top level of minor league competition.

You could also think about a longer Fall Instructional League, where players who aren’t in the AFL could go through training at the various Spring Training sites. That wouldn’t work for every team because a bigger AFL would take up more (all?) of the Arizona facilities. That wouldn’t affect the Pirates though, who I’m sure would be able to do their own thing. BA brings up a good point though and that’s the cost involved with running these camps with large groups of players. Every other year that wouldn’t be an issue, but it’s not cheap when you factor in all of the costs associated with the camps.

BA also talks about more players going to winter league teams. I’m glad they mentioned it because most people don’t know that some leagues have foreign player roster limits. If I had to guess though, I think MLB would be able to work out something with the Australian Baseball League to add teams this year if there was interest. The Australian league had a team from Korea last year and they adjusted the schedule to accommodate the extra team.

All of these things obviously depend on the coronavirus situation, but they still need to plan out options instead of just waiting to see what’s going, then being forced to last second haphazardly plan if they’re able to play.

Anyway, the BA article is worth checking out for some inside info on the thinking going on around baseball now for missed development time.

**We will be watching for more news today. I’m not sure why the draft pick signings haven’t been announced yet, but it’s probably something to do with getting the physicals worked out. After that, we should hear the bonus numbers.

We will have at least four articles today, including the one you’re currently reading. If any news comes up, we will have more. The other scheduled articles for today are as follows:

This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History – Some birthdays, a trade, and it’s been six years since the Pirates signed John Holdzkom.

Game Rewind – A game from long ago, featuring a player who never played for the Pirates, playing for the Pirates. The title will instantly draw you in.

1979 Season Recap – Can the Pirates make it seven in a row? They face the Cubs in game two of the series.

Hope everyone has a happy Tuesday!




The last hit of Willie Stargell’s great career. He really got a hold of this one

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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