Quick Hits: Minors Camp, Guardians, Hall

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Clubs aren’t being allowed any adjustments to their minor league Spring Training camps, as Major League Baseball stated in a recent memo to all 30 teams.  The New York Post’s Joel Sherman has portions of the memo, outlining both how minor league camps are expected to open at their usual time (around March 1), and how veteran players signed to minor league deals can be given the option to either participate in the minor league camp, or not participate in unity with the MLBPA (even though these players are technically not part of the current union membership).

In essence, the memo keeps all 30 teams on an even playing field, as Sherman notes that some teams may have gained a competitive advantage by opening minor league camps early.  Plus, the early opening of a minor league camp “could be seen by the union as an antagonistic act by MLB” in the words of one source familiar with labor talks, as it could paint those minor leaguers as replacement players or scabs.  Since the lack of movement in CBA talks is making it increasingly likely that Major League spring camps won’t open as scheduled on February 16, fans may have to wait until minor league camp in March to get any semblance of a traditional Spring Training experience.

More from around baseball…

  • Players on a 40-man roster are considered locked out even if they haven’t reached the majors yet, thus leaving a young team like the Guardians in a tight spot if Spring Training is delayed or shortened, Paul Hoynes of The Cleveland Plain Dealer writes.  Fourteen players on the Guardians’ 40-man have yet to make their big league debuts, and several others have less than a season of big league playing time under their belts.  As Hoynes puts it, “a four-week flyby” of an abbreviated Spring Training “isn’t going to be much help” for either the players or the Guardians as a whole, since many of these youngsters are expected to fill some key spots on the Cleveland roster.
  • Orioles pitching prospect D.L. Hall is making progress in his recovery from a stress reaction in his left elbow, tweeting last month that he was back on a mound after close to an eight-month layoff.  (Hat tip to MASNSports.com’s Roch Kubatko).  Hall has been a regular on top-100 prospect lists since he was drafted 21st overall in 2017, and even after tossing only 31 2/3 innings in 2021, still clocked in #52 on Baseball America’s recently-released top 100 ranking.  The hard-throwing Hall has posted some big strikeout numbers even if his control (13.35% walk rate) leaves something to be desired, and it isn’t out of the question that he could make his MLB debut this season if he stays healthy and continues to progress.  However, Hall is another 40-man roster player whose spring work is delayed by the lockout, so the Orioles will need to wait before judging whether Hall should return for more Double-A seasoning, or if he is ready for a promotion to Triple-A.

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