2020 Minor League Baseball Season Cancelled Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

This news does not come as a surprise, but the 2020 Minor League Baseball season has been cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. MiLB released a statement addressing the matter earlier Tuesday evening.

 

Per league president and CEO Pat O’Connor, “This announcement removes the uncertainty surrounding the 2020 season and allows our teams to begin planning for an exciting 2021 season of affordable family entertainment.”

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, heavy financial constraints were placed on minor-league clubs across the country due to the fact their primary source of revenue comes from ticket sales.

Unlike their parent major-league clubs, minor-league affiliates do not have lucrative television or other media contracts to rely on in the absence of ticket sales and other gameday revenue, so getting through an entire season with teams playing in empty or nearly empty ballparks would have been virtually impossible.

Back in May, the Red Sox committed to paying their non-40-man-roster minor-leaguers $400 per week through the end of August, or what would have been the end of the minor-league season.

Without a minor-league season, it has been reported by Baseball America that some teams will allow their minor-leaguers to pursue opportunities in independent league baseball.

It is also worth mentioning that the Red Sox’ Triple-A affiliate, the Pawtucket Red Sox, were supposed to play their final season at McCoy Stadium this year before relocating to Worcester.

With Polar Park making progress towards its completion before the start of the 2021 minor-league season, it would seem as though the PawSox have already played their last game at McCoy, which they have called home since 1969.

On another note, the short-season affiliate of the Red Sox, the Lowell Spinners, probably won’t be affiliated with the Red Sox for that much longer, as the entire infrastructure of minor-league baseball appears to be headed towards rapid turnover. That much was made evident by this year’s amateur draft, which consisted of only five rounds to make it the shortest in MLB’s history to this point in time.

Minor-league baseball is an important aspect of the game for developing players and young fans alike. Despite that notion, the landscape of MiLB will probably never be the same beginning in 2021 if those aforementioned changed do take place.

Red Sox’ Seventh-Ranked Prospect Jay Groome Punches out Two in 2019 Gulf Coast League Debut

Red Sox left-handed pitching prospect Jay Groome tossed a scoreless first inning for the Gulf Coast League Red Sox on Wednesday in what was his first professional appearance in nearly two years.

Facing off against the Atlanta Braves’ GCL team in North Port, Fla. earlier Wednesday morning, the soon to be 21-year-old hurler needed only eight pitches, all of which were strikes, to punch out two and yield one hit in a nearly-perfect frame of work.

Selected by Boston with the 12th overall pick in the 2016 amateur draft out of Barnegat High School in New Jersey, Groome had been out since the 2017 campaign, where he injured his throwing elbow late into the year and eventually underwent successful Tommy John surgery in May of 2018.

Before all that went down, Groome posted a 2.70 ERA and .125 batting average against over his first three professional starts and 6 2/3 innings pitched between the GCL Red Sox and short-season Lowell Spinners in 2016.

In 2017, the New Jersey native showed some signs of struggle, pitching to the tune of a 5.69 ERA and .234 batting average against through 14 starts and 55 1/3 total innings of work between Lowell and Class-A Greenville before being sidelined.

Per his MiLB.com page, Groome is on a rehab assignment with the GCL Sox, and given how the minor league season wraps up in under two weeks, it’s hard to imagine the lefty pitching anywhere else this year.

Despite all the time he has missed, Groome is still ranked as the No. 7 prospect in the Red Sox’ farm system, according to MLB Pipeline.

 

 

Blake Swihart Has Been Activated from the 10-Day Disabled List.

Missing the past 10 days with a right hamstring strain, Blake Swihart is officially back after the Red Sox activated him from the 10-day disabled list on Tuesday.

In the last game he played with the big league club against the New York Yankees on August 2nd, the catcher/utility man had to leave in the top of the seventh inning in an eventual 15-7 win for the Red Sox.

Later diagnosed with a strain in his right hamstring, Swihart was placed on the 10-day disabled list that Friday morning, but Alex Cora seemed confident that he was not going to miss that much time and he did not.

As part of the rehab process, Swihart appeared in one game for Low A Lowell this past Sunday where he started at catcher in batted third in the Spinners lineup.

In three at bats against the Brooklyn Cyclones, the 26-year-old failed to reach base while striking out once before being replaced in the seventh inning.

Despite the results, or lack thereof, the Red Sox must have been happy with what they saw out of Swihart and his right hamstring, because he is back with the team today in Philadelphia.

The 2018 season has not been easy on Swihart. Given the lack of playing time early on, the trade rumors, and then the hamstring injury this month, hopefully the final month and a half of the regular season will be better for the Texas native, because it certainly looked like he was hitting his stride prior to the DL stint.

Since the Red Sox placed Christian Vazquez on the 10-day disabled list on July 8th with a right finger fracture, which opened up more opportunities for Swihart to catch, the former first round pick is slashing .324/.378/.529 with one home run and two RBI over his last 10 games.

With a two-game interleague series set to begin today in Philadelphia for the Red Sox, it would not surprise me if Swihart saw some pinch-hitting opportunities in the pitcher’s spot in the lineup this week.

To make room for Swihart on the 25-man roster, Dan Butler, who caught two games for Boston against the Orioles last weekend, has been designated for assignment.

First pitch of tonight’s game against the Phillies is scheduled for 7:05 PM ET.

Michael Chavis and Bobby Dalbec Were at It Again for the Portland Sea Dogs on Sunday.

A few days ago, I wrote about how Michael Chavis and Bobby Dalbec each hit a pair of home runs for the Portland Sea Dogs in Erie, PA this past Thursday.

I talked about how they were two of the more interesting prospects in the Red Sox farm system to watch, and they proved me right once again yesterday afternoon.

Facing off against the Akron RubberDucks, the Eastern League affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, and batting third and fourth in Portland’s lineup, the pair of corner infielders were responsible for all six runs scored by the Sea Dogs on Sunday.

An RBI single from Chavis in the first and two RBI doubles, one of which was good for two runs, from Chavis and Dalbec in the third had Portland up by four runs early.

Fast forward all the way to the top half of the eighth, with two outs and Chavis at first following a HBP, Dalbec put the exclamation point on a fine day for the Sea Dogs by blasting his 31st home run of the season between High A Salem and Double A Portland.

That big fly, Dalbec’s fifth in the past week, put the Sea Dogs up 6-2, which would turn out to be the final score in their third win in the last four days.

Since he was promoted to Portland on August 3rd. the 23-year-old Dalbec, ranked as the sixth best prospect in Boston’s system, is off to a hot start with his new club, as he is slashing .364/.421/.848 over his last nine games with those five homers and 11 RBI as well.

On the other side of the infield, Michael Chavis, 23, has been on a more torrid pace lately, as he was just named Eastern League Player of the Week after hitting .560 in his last six games.

On the season as a whole, Chavis, 23, a Georgia native and ranked as Boston’s top prospect, owns a 1.005 OPS to go along with six home runs in 27 games played between Low A Lowell and Double A Portland.

At 49-68, the Sea Dogs will be opening up the longest homestand of their season starting on Tuesday.