For months, many of us focused on whether major league baseball games would be played or not. The season ended up happening, thankfully. However, minor league baseball suffered a different fate. High officials concluded that the conditions, because of the coronavirus and the labor dispute, just weren’t there to play. As a result, the New York Yankees, and all the other organizations, had to get creative.
That resulted in a lost season for many, many prospects, from a development standpoint. And, for others, it meant a rushed promotion to the major leagues. We saw players with no Triple-A or even Double-A experience get some reps in the bigs in an attempt to develop and hone skills.
Since COVID-19 is still among us, what will the New York Yankees do to ensure that their prospects keep themselves crisp during the offseason?
Around this time of the year, the Yankees would invite some of their best young players to their minor league training complex in Tampa, Fla. There, they would receive additional instruction before the winter. But that won’t be the case thanks to COVID-19.
The Yankees are getting creative
“There’s no leagues, currently. Winter ball will be existing in some countries,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said on Wednesday. “Some players will play winter ball and we will do as much remote coaching as we possibly can despite COVID-19 obviously spiking throughout the country it seems like now. But we’re not going to have an instructional league and our plan is to deploy our coaches throughout the country and stay connected, whether it’s remote or in person on an individual basis throughout the winter.”
It won’t be easy, but the Yankees, at least, appear to have a plan in place to keep developing their young players, even if they won’t be able to given them all at-bats or live innings.
This season, several top Yankees prospects were invited to the alternate training site, to keep themselves fresh and surrounded by baseball. Some of them, including Clarke Schmidt, Deivi Garcia, and Estevan Florial made their big league debut.
Those who weren’t invited to the alternate site had their workouts and progress tracked by coaches via shared documents and video, according to Brendan Kuty of NJ Advance Media.