While the Minor League Baseball season typically concludes around the end of August every year, a number of prospects are afforded the luxury of continuing to play as they head to the desert for the annual Arizona Fall League.
Some of the top prospects in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization such as Cody Bellinger and Keibert Ruiz have played in the AFL, further improving their games in effort to make it to the big leagues. Seven Dodgers prospects, including Jeren Kendall and Mitchell White, played for the Glendale Desert Dogs in 2019.
Typically, AFL rosters are comprised of prospects from multiple Major League teams, but it appears change may be coming. According to Josh Norris and J.J. Cooper of Baseball America, MLB is considering expanding the AFL, along with possibly playing in Florida:
That’s because the Arizona Fall League, which typically runs from mid September until late October, could fill the void with a new, expanded format, according to multiple MLB officials who have been apprised of the potential plans. In normal years, the AFL features six teams each with prospects from five organizations.
Under a plan being developed, each of the 30 organizations would send a roster of their own prospects to play at spring training sites in both Arizona and Florida. There has been a discussion of even having a second lower level team for each club as well, although nothing has been finalized.
The Dodgers organization certainly has enough prospects to put together one or two rosters for the AFL, so this would be good news for them and the development of their farm system.
With the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic still an issue and the 2020 season in jeopardy due to financial disagreements, it will be interesting to see how soon MLB implements changes to the AFL. Considering Minor League seasons are likely to be cancelled altogether in 2020, the same can likely be said for the AFL although nothing is official at this time.
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