I can’t speak for all baseball fans out there, but I think I’m quite accurate in saying that most of them are welcoming the return of minor league baseball with open arms. Minor league play is important on so many different levels. Not only is it an economical venue for some folks who may not otherwise be able to attend an MLB game, but it is also critical for the development of younger players.
Lately, there has been a ton of chatter about how the rigors of a regular 160-game season might affect many clubs across the majors, particularly those without much quality depth. Already, the Dodgers appear to be taking these challenges in stride, as made evident by their slate of more than a half-dozen proven starting pitchers, in addition to multiple layers of pro experience at almost every other spot on the field.
Each year, there are at least one or two young prospects who emerge from the fringes of the minor leagues to make their respective big-league debuts for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Undeniably, of all the aspects of baseball that were absent in 2020, the orchestration of a minor league season—on any level of the farm—was perhaps the most missed of all.
While the concept of a 60-man player pool affords select prospects to participate in some form of baseball activity this year, it still doesn’t replace the level of competition a player would see on the high levels of the farm.
The Dodgers announced on Thursday afternoon that the organization has named infielder Gavin Lux as the Branch Rickey Minor League Player of the Year and right-handed pitcher Josiah Gray as the Branch Rickey Minor League Pitcher of the Year.
While the next few weeks will see a handful of young, worthy prospects added to the Dodgers‘ big league expanded roster, there is still a slew of emerging superstars that remains on the fringe, out of the eye of the mainstream public.
It’s not that often when a blockbuster trade backfires on Los Angeles boss Andrew Friedman and his front office troops. When the Dodgers packaged up and sent Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Alex Wood and Kyle Farmer to the Reds last winter, there was plenty of scrutiny, especially from those who felt the team would be lacking in the power department heading into its 2019 campaign.
While there are many fans of the Dodgers who thought the team’s haul from the seven-player trade with the Reds would quickly be flipped for a high-impact player, both Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray are still preparing themselves for a season on the Los Angeles farm.