Miami Marlins: Would longer fall leagues help top prospects

Would a plan to extend the fall baseball season in Arizona and another one in Florida help Miami Marlins prospects this offseason?

Top prospects for the Miami Marlins and the 29 other MLB teams could still play significant baseball this summer, according to Baseball America.

While it is almost certain MiLB will not have a season in 2020, the Major League teams will look to the Arizona Fall League and a potentially created league in Florida would give players a chance to not only play but work on their fundamentals in preparation for the 2021 season.

“According to Josh Norris and J.J. Cooper of Baseball America, MLB is not only thinking about adding more teams to the already six-team AFL format but also creating a similar league in Florida for the fall months,” Clint Manry of Call to the Pen writes.

The information obtained is through subscription.

The loss of games by MLB so far, coupled with a lack of decision by the 30 owners and MLBPA has led to a standstill of when games would begin this summer for Major Leaguers. In the process, none of the minor league teams have begun to play ball. All baseball activities have been halted since March 13 due to the threat of COVID-19.

While some players are beginning to enter team facilities and prepare for a possible shortened season, there has been nothing decided for minor league players other than the potential of a 20-man taxi squad added to a 30-man active MLB roster.

Essentially, it would give manager Don Mattingly and the Marlin 50 players to work with for however many games are played in 2020.

With the minor leagues being shut down, as would be the case in Wichita, Jacksonville, Jupiter, and Clinton – all four affiliates for the Marlins – many players would lose time on the diamond. The creation of a longer season in Arizona and Florida would help bridge that gap.

Monte Harrison, one of the Miami Marlins top outfield prospects and pitcher Nick Neidert have benefitted from time in the Arizona Fall League the past two seasons.

“The specifics aren’t exactly concrete yet, but MLB is planning to add to the current AFL pool of teams, allowing all 30 MLB teams to construct its own fall team as opposed to AFL’s original layout of just six teams made up of five players from each big league organization,” Manry adds.

This would also help the Marlins minor league prospects make more money as they are now being paid a stipend of $400 per week. Miami’s front office announced it would pay its players through the end of the minor league season.

“AFL prospects are usually paid quite well (at least compared to regular season wages), earning roughly $2,250 per month, plus $750 for housing,” Manry writes. “It will be interesting to see if teams will still pay those amounts if now they must pay an entire roster of players (we’re talking quite an increase from just $15,000 per month for five prospects to compete in Arizona).”