In a big piece of news in a 2020 year that saw Minor League Baseball get cancelled, player development got big news. MLB will allow teams to have their fall instructional programs, including games against other clubs.
Teams can use either their spring training facility (which is the norm), or can choose to use their alternate training site (if the ATS is not in current use for the team’s player pool or postseason).
The league will have to approve the health and safety protocols from each club, covering plans for COVID-19 testing at least twice a week, how many players will be on site at one team, and other services like housing and food.
In similarly big news, teams will be required to pay players what would have been their salary in the regular season, based on what would have been their most likely level for the regular season, as well as food and housing allowances. Usually, players are not paid for the fall instructional league, other than food and housing allowances.
Any player who is not on the 40-man roster is eligible for the Instructional League, although exceptions may be approved by the League for the 40-man guys.
The news also will allow scouts to be at the Instructional League. That is also a first for 2020, as scouts have not been allowed at the MLB site or alternate training site.
It will be interesting to see how things go with coronavirus at these sites. It’s probable that the instructional leagues will have more people on site than there have been in either the MLB site, or at the alternate training site. In addition to having more players on site, there would likely be more coaches, and of course now there would be scouts. These players would also be younger players, and one could image pretty carefree guys. Not to mention, with most of these likely to be in Spring Training Facilities, the players for many teams will be in the same communities.