While many of you are familiar with Extended Spring Training, I'll go over the basics for those of you not so familiar. Players dot the South Atlantic League and the Midwest League for all thirty organizations. In June, teams also put players on Short Season leagues. Beneath those are Extended Spring Training and Arizona and Florida Summer League squads.
Since everyone is on-board for the mock, I'll ask this here today regarding Extended Spring Training.
These leagues exists for two main reasons. They are for players recovering from injury, and teaching the basics for players a bit behind on them. For instance, when a team drafts a high schooler, they are usually ill-prepared for the rigors of full-season ball. Many aren't ready for short-season ball. They have enough basics to work on, baseball-wise and in terms of general life issues.
My Cubs have sixty or more players in Arizona now, and will have additional players swinging by after the draft. While Short Season (Boise) and the MWL (Peoria) will get some of the players, the Arizona base camp will always have players rolling through it.
My question is as follows. With the draft going more toward college players, will teams have less need for Extended Spring Training?
No question, players will forever need a base camp. Teams will need a place to conduct drug tests, teach raw signees the basics, and give most players a (at least a brief) landing spot to, if nothing else, learn about their new profession. But if Commissioner Selig's apparent goal of sending more high schoolers to college comes to fruition, one has to presume that players will have less time to spend in Extended Spring Training.
Regardless your team, many of your draftees will need to spend time in Florida or Arizona. If drafted after three years of school, they should need to spend 'less' time there. Some, obviously, will never advance to Short- or Full-Season Ball. But, as year-on-year of more mature players are drafted, will teams have a different composition in the lower levels?
I doubt there will be a major increase in minor league affiliates. A couple teams may add squads. But as my Cubs have fewer high schoolers per year in camp, will they send more players to Boise? Will teams play more games in Arizona or Florida? Will players get released sooner?
It seems apparent that more players will be 'more ready' for at least Short Season ball. There will be less need to leave guys in Florida/Arizona for extended periods. There will still be plenty out there, but there seems to be little benefit in having ten, twelve, or however many guys ready to produce in the SALLY or MWL, but no room on the roster. The roster spot in the MWL may be very precious. Or, some teams may try to add minor league squads to let pitchers and hitters extend themselves against appropriate talent.
I'm not sure how it will be different. But, in a few years, it will be. Include you questions and hunches below. Thanks for reading.