Braves: Even if there is a season, prospects are going to suffer

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Two months ago, I wrote an article on five prospects that need a 2020 season to happen. Fast forward, and the possibility of there being no baseball at all, especially for minor leaguers, is growing by the day. 

Rob Manfred recently reneged on his recent comments about being 100% positive that there would be baseball in 2020, stating on Monday that he’s no longer confident that there will be a season. Now, this may be a last-minute negotiation tactic; however, the MLBPA and MLB seem to be as far apart as ever from an agreement.

Minor leaguers have suffered from this virus and negotiations the most — with thousands already losing their jobs and even more left without their already minuscule weekly pay. And on top of that, if there is no minor league baseball at all, all of these prospects will miss out on critical development time. 

This was supposed to be the year Cristian Pache and Drew Waters — the Braves’ top two prospects — made their major league debuts. However, even with a shortened season, that appears highly unlikely. The two young stars of Atlanta’s farm system only have a month of experience in AAA, so it would take a scorching hot start for the Braves even to consider calling one of them up in 2020. And if there’s no season at all, it’s possible one or both of them don’t make their debut until 2022. 

The same could be said for a host of other prospects, especially pitchers. Kyle Wright took a step back in 2019, but his 2020 spring training suggested this could be the former #5 overall pick’s breakout campaign. Similarily, highly-touted arms that have not yet had success in the big leagues — like Bryse Wilson and Touki Toussaint — will sorely miss an opportunity to regain their confidence and get back on track towards their dream of becoming major leaguers. And then you have a guy like Patrick Weigel — who has missed so much time due to injury and was finally on the verge of making his major league debut — that now has to sit out even longer due to an untimely pandemic and an even more unfortunate battle between the MLB and MLBPA. 

However, at least those guys are close enough to the majors and still have a fantastic opportunity to create a career for themselves. What about the older prospects in the mid-levels that desperately needed this year to have a chance at working their way up the system. Missing an entire season for players like C.J. Alexander and Greyson Jenista could be devastating, crushing their hopes of achieving their ultimate goal. 

This pandemic has been a disaster not just for baseball, not just the United States, but the entire world. However, countries everywhere have begun to bring sports back, including our very own. Baseball had the opportunity to be at the forefront of that, providing a sense of normality that is desperately needed in society today. They failed to do that, and now they might not play at all. The players already in the majors will survive, but the minor leaguers are the ones really paying the price. 

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