It’s 2021 and we could all use some good news. The good news is minor league baseball is set to return in 2021. However, as expected, it will do so with a staggered start that will delay the start of the season for Class-A and Double-A affiliates.
As reported by Baseball America this week, Major League Baseball sent a memo to teams on Monday that informed them that the Single-A and Double-A players will not begin Spring Training until major league and Triple-A players have left the facility. This staggered start is in an effort to allow for social distancing of players as COVID-19 continues to affect the nation and the world.
How this Affects the Yankees
Should Spring Training start on time, the Yankees’ major league players and players from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre would report as usual in February/March and participate in camp until the start of the 2021 season in April. Following the departure of the Yankees and RailRiders, players from Double-A Somerset, Advanced-A Hudson Valley, and Single-A Tampa would then report to George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa to begin their Spring Training, which is expected to last until at-least the end of April, delaying the start of the Single-A and Double-A seasons to potentially May 2021.
With the delayed start for MiLB teams, the memo sent from Major League Baseball also told minor league teams to expect their schedules to go until possibly October 3, 2021, which is about a month after their seasons would typically conclude. There is also not expected to be playoffs for minor league teams in 2021. The delayed start would allow for more regular season games to be played.
Another change that teams can expect is to player longer game series to mitigate and limit the amount of travel teams have to do, especially Double-A and Triple-A affiliates that take commercial flights throughout the country for game. Series could be extended from three or four game series to as much as six-game series.
While there are still more details that need to be ironed out, there is at least hope for minor leaguers that they will be able to finally get back to a normal season in 2021. For many Florida State League affiliates and some double-A affiliates, they haven’t played a game since Hurricane Dorian shut their season down early in 2019.
Pinstriped Prospects will continue to bring you the latest information on the 2021 minor league season and how it affects the Yankees’ affiliates.