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In a normal world, the Arizona Fall League would have begun on Thursday. Instead, citing an abundance of caution in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, the league has been officially canceled for 2020.
Specifically, MLB did not believe the AFL’s traditional facilities—Salt River Fields, Scottsdale Stadium, Surprise Stadium, Peoria Sports Complex, Sloan Park and Camelback Ranch—were well-suited to deal with 40-plus players as well as coaches and other staff members while still maintaining proper physical distancing.
Beyond that, many of the players who would have been considered for the AFL are already at the teams’ alternate sites and either preparing to enter playoff bubbles or head to the fall instructional league. The rejuvenated version of the instructional league in 2020 also covers most of the players who would need to make up for lost development after the minor league season was canceled.
Assuming the situation surrounding the coronavirus has improved by then, the league expects the AFL to return as normal in 2021 with six teams—each carrying prospects from five organizations—of 35 players, 30 of whom will be active each night.