In recent years, the instructional league slowly transformed into a relic of an earlier time. The number of teams that had their minor leaguers play games against other clubs dwindled.
Teams, in some cases, decided to no longer have their players face other teams. In other cases teams had replaced instructional league with more focused mini-camps.
The novel coronavirus pandemic has changed that. In 2020, the closest analogue to a minor league season anyone will have will begin in early October in Arizona.
All 15 MLB teams that have their spring training facilities in Arizona have agreed to play each other during instructional league. The games will begin on Oct. 5.
The teams will be divided into two leagues, with the eight teams located on the West side of the Phoenix area playing each other in a schedule that begins Oct. 5 and ends Nov. 14, while the seven teams on the East side of Phoenix will begin on Oct. 6 and end on Nov. 12. To give the East side an even number of teams, the Giants will field two clubs.
The number of games each team plays will vary—some teams won’t begin playing games until as late as Oct. 14 and the Athletics, White Sox, Reds and Indians will all wrap up on Oct. 31.
But everyone will get between 17 games (the Cubs) and 40 games (the ambitious Padres who doubled up for two games on six different days) against outside competition. The games will provide needed innings and at-bats for minor leaguers, especially for those who did not get invitations to the alternate sites during the MLB season.
The decision will also be significant financially for those minor leaguers. Unlike past years, minor leaguers are being paid for instructional league (the amount of pay will be determined by the level the players would have been assigned to if the year had gone according to plan), so for players participating, it means another month (or more) of paychecks.
Baseball America will continue to add information and details about the Florida-based MLB teams’ instructional league plans as we receive them.
|MLB Team||Instructs?||Dates of Games|
|Arizona||Yes||Oct. 6-Nov. 12|
|Boston||Yes||Starting in early Oct., running for six weeks.|
|Chicago (NL)||Yes||Oct. 14-Nov. 7|
|Chicago (AL)||Yes||Oct. 10-Oct. 31|
|Cincinnati||Yes||Oct. 12-Oct. 31|
|Cleveland||Yes||Oct. 8-Oct. 31|
|Colorado||Yes||Oct. 14-Nov. 7|
|Kansas City||Yes||Oct. 5-Nov. 14|
|Los Angeles (AL)||Yes||Oct. 14-Nov. 12|
|Los Angeles (NL)||Yes||Oct. 5-Nov. 6|
|Miami||Yes||First workout Sept. 26; camp runs through 10/31|
|Milwaukee||Yes||Oct. 12-Nov. 11|
|New York (NL)||Yes|
|New York (AL)|
|Oakland||Yes||Oct. 6-Oct. 30|
|San Diego||Yes||Oct. 5-Nov. 14|
|San Francisco||Yes||Oct. 6-Nov. 7|
|Seattle||Yes||Oct. 5-Nov. 14|
|Texas||Yes||Oct. 5-Nov. 14|
|Washington||Yes||Sept. 26-Oct. 28|