St. Louis Cardinals: The minor leagues may not happen in 2020
With the 2020 St. Louis Cardinals’ season still up in the air, the likelihood that minor league baseball happens is low. How would that affect the team?
The MLB may have a plan in place for the St. Louis Cardinals’ season by the end of May, but that will likely only address the major leagues and will not address another very large issue: the minor leagues.
Again gleaned from insights from ESPN MLB Insider Jeff Passan’s post, the minor leagues may be completely canceled in 2020.
This isn’t particularly surprising, even if it is sad. With most of the MLB plans that have been released, there will likely be games in small geographical areas. There won’t be country-wide travel to play opponents, and most games will take place in warm-weather locations. This allows games to go into the months of October and November without playing in the snow.
By way of necessity, it may just be that there is a plan for the MLB, not the minors.
Nothing is official yet, but in all likelihood, having minor league games is just not feasible with the current pandemic. It really will be a miracle already if the MLB plays. As Passan writes, there will be expanded rosters so more MiLB players will be able to play up in the MLB, but other than that, this will change the look of the minor leagues forever.
The MLB has already chopped the majority of the rounds of the draft off, and this is coming along with the effort to kill nearly 40 minor league teams already. Passan writes that the cutting of minor league teams is “inevitable.”
This is a tragic consequence of the pandemic as the minor league teams that are on the chopping block had a fighting chance before, but now it isn’t looking like that.
The shortening of the draft will cut the legs out from under them, as hundreds of players that would’ve been joining the lower levels won’t be anymore.
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For the Cardinals specifically, there will be many players that don’t get to mature in ways the team needed them to in 2020. For the top prospects like Dylan Carlson, Nolan Gorman, and Matthew Liberatore, the effects of missing an entire year of competitive games could stunt their development.
Less for Carlson than the others (given how close Carlson was to the MLB), but it could change the future in a big way.
It’s not just those prospects though. Every player in the MiLB will have a huge change coming if they don’t play this year.
The only thing that can be looked at as a non-negative aspect of this is that every team will likely be going through this. It won’t just be the Cardinals that are missing out on playing minor league games, it’ll be everyone.
It’s just not good for the health of the game, but it’s best for the health of the players and that’s what is most important right now.
There will be a lot of change coming to the minor leagues in the next 12 months, not all of it we are going to like. With the pandemic hitting while the shrinking of the lower levels was being discussed, it really is a perfect storm for things to change. Clearly, they already have.