While the Minor League Baseball season began on May 4th for the full season teams, the rookie-level teams that play at the complexes have been waiting around to find out when their seasons would begin. In the past the US-based complex leagues would begin around the 3rd week of June. This year those leagues are getting started a week-ish later, with the Arizona Rookie League kicking off on June 28th.
The AZL Reds will being their year by hosting the White Sox on the 28th and the Dodgers on the 29th before an off day on the final day of June. They will play a total of 60 games, with the final day of the year coming on September 18th. That is much later than usual – the league has typically ended in the middle of the 4th week of August. There are four more games this season than usual, but there are just more off days built in that extends the season a bit more.
What will be interesting is that the AZL has always begun after the draft and was filled with plenty of draft picks from that season. This year, and moving forward it would seem, the draft won’t be held until All-Star week. How teams are going to work with an influx of new players from the draft all coming into the fold three weeks after the season begins with only one team for some (there are a few organizations with multiple AZL teams and will have more roster spots to work with as a result – the Reds are not one of those organizations).
The Dominican Summer League is returning
Josh Norris of Baseball America reported on Monday that the Dominican Summer League will start on July 2nd and run through October 2nd. There are things still being worked out and there is no schedule yet. The Braves organization will not be participating in the season in a strange move, but everyone else is and multiple organizations will be fielding two teams (the Reds are not one of them).
The DSL has typically started around the beginning of June and it ends at the end of August. Things in 2021 are just being pushed back a month, basically. The weather shouldn’t be much of a factor running into early October.