The KC Royals offseason is starting, and while things may not heat up for a bit still, the minor league players are finally getting a chance to play.
The shortened 2020 season hurt the KC Royals and every team around baseball. Games were cut, players missed good portions of the season, and it’s likely there are some financial implications as well. One big hit that many teams took though, was the hit to their minor league player development.
The minor league season for baseball was cut entirely. Many teams, including the Royals, had some minor league players on the 40 man at their alternate site getting work, but that’s just a handful of minor leaguers.
The rest of the minor leaguers went home to shut down with the rest of the world. Some of them may have found open facilities to work at, but many of them were unable to find a consistent training site. In a recent article, Lynn Worthy with the KC Star reports that some players were even kicked off high school fields during COVID shut downs.
Still, the Royals held their players to a standard, and work went on. Whether it was in back yards, open lots, or an actual open facility, minor league players continued to work so they didn’t fall behind in their development.
Finally, these players will get the chance to work on the field. The Royals have 120 minor league players who have reported for fall camp, one set of 50 in Kansas City, and the other 70 reporting to the Royals complex in Arizona.
These players will have a chance to work into November and play some games to get back into the groove. For many of these players, working with the coaching staff will be vital.
Going months without a set plan and many without training facilities can set players back. During the minor league season, players have a chance to work with the coaching staff on where they need to work and improve. Now, the Royals will have to do this all within a couple of months.
While there was plenty of uncertainty that surrounded minor league baseball and whether or not players would get a chance, GM Dayton Moore was adamant that minor leaguers needed time to train and that it could be done, according to Lynn Worthy.
"Following the August trade deadline, Moore said, “We have to develop our own players. We’re not getting the opportunity to do that. There’s ways to do it that we can do in a healthy manner, in a very structured manner. There’s ways to do it. Kids played summer ball all over this country, all over the world. They did it fine. If you’re a minor-league baseball player who is getting paid, you’re not allowed to play baseball right now.” kansascity.com"
Luckily the minor leaguers will get some work now and can prepare for the 2021 season. For the Royals, continued development is crucial. They are hoping to contend in the near future. Their prospect pitchers will be needed soon and more minor leaguers with promise will be wanted for sustained success instead of a fall that often comes after a few good years.
For the Royals, some of the players in Kanas City are those that could find some time in the majors soon, such as Daniel Lynch, Kyle Isbel, Khalil Lee, Jackson Kowar, Bobby Witt Jr., and Asa Lacy.
While the minor league season may not have happened in 2020, it’s good to see the Royals still looking at player development. It will be important in the future for the Royals to have young players they can count on when needed.
The KC Royals are working with their minor leaguers in fall camp.