Yesterday, Kyle reported that MLB is planning to start on time this season. Though there’s still potential obstacles and negotiation to do before the season starts, there’s optimism that the season will be able to play the full set of 162 games in 2021. However, while preparing to get a full season in at the major league level, some of the lower level teams may see some delays.
J.J. Cooper of Baseball America reports that MLB has told minor-league teams at the Double-A and Class-A levels that their season will be delayed. For the Brewers, this would affect the Biloxi Shuckers (Double-A), Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Class-A Advanced), and Carolina Mudcats (Class-A). According to the report:
MLB told minor league teams that spring training for Double-A and Class A players will not begin until MLB and Triple-A players have departed from spring training. The delay will allow for more social distancing during a time when the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect the world.
This does make sense; the camps can be packed with many players in attendance at the same time, so reducing the number of players in camp at once would help.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that the minor-league seasons will be shortened, though. The minor leagues typically run until around Labor Day, so a delayed start could be accommodated with the season running a little longer. There’s also the possibility of more double-headers in the minors as well, to get some extra games into the schedule. A delay could also mean more fans in attendance at their games, should the cities allow for some people to attend their games. That could be a boon for these teams after losing an entire season.